Saturday, April 21, 2007

On eating an artichoke

There are some foods that I simply can not eat in public. They are pleasures that are best saved for the privacy of one's home.

I have no problem eating artichoke hearts in a salad or sauteed for some pasta dish. I will gladly savor an appetizer of a well stuffed artichoke bottom. Eating a whole artichoke in public though would be akin to dining out in the nude.

For one, artichokes must be eaten slowly and deliberately. They are not a food through which one can rush. They take time, and I have to abandon any pretense of polish or manners.

You have to brace the artichoke as you pull off each leaf or it will go skittering across your plate. Then you dip the leaf in clarified butter or the sauce you prefer and lift it to your mouth. Until this point, your meal holds the potential for humor with runaway food and dripping sauces, but now that changes.

An artichoke is not a food to be eaten in ladylike nibbles. You bare your teeth, place that tender leaf between them, hold it there and gently pull it between those powerful tools, scraping the tender flesh onto your tongue. It reminds me that I am an animal, and that is proven by the groan of pleasure that follows that first bite. It takes tremendous self restraint not to moan my way through the whole dish. The sauce will run onto my fingers or the stuffing will stick to my fingers tips, and I have to lick it off. If it's a stuffed artichoke, I'm tempted to sometimes lick the traces of stuffing off the back of the leaf against which it was poised. The view for anyone who eats with me while I enjoy artichokes is all lips, fingers, teeth and tongue. At the end, my table and I are both a mess. Any claims I might have formerly made about being a gentlewoman are as shredded as the remains of leaves piled upon my plate.

Yes, an artichoke is definitely trouble. Private trouble. Delicious trouble, and luckily, so darn good for you trouble I can indulge over and over and over without guilt.

food, eating, artichokes


Blogger Lisa :-] said...

After reading this, I feel absolutely deprived...I have never actually eaten an artichoke.

April 22, 2007 12:16 AM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

LOL! You've captured it perfectly! I think tomorrow I'll have to go buy some artichokes and make some Hollandaise...



April 22, 2007 1:29 AM  
Blogger more cows than people said...

yummmmmmmmy... yup you have a knack for creating cravings in others! i LOVE artichokes.

April 22, 2007 7:51 AM  
Blogger Nelle said...

I have never had a fresh artichoke but I love the marinated artichoke hearts in a jar!

April 22, 2007 10:51 AM  
Blogger Jerri said...

I've never eaten a fresh artichoke, but you can bet your butter sauce I'm going to now.

Wonderful piece, C. Beautifully written and fun to read.

April 22, 2007 11:37 AM  
Blogger gigi said...

All the best trouble is 'private' trouble. ;)

Lovely writing!

April 22, 2007 5:36 PM  
Blogger Jimmy said...

I, too, have never indulged. You can bet that I will soon, though!

April 23, 2007 12:05 AM  
Blogger emmapeelDallas said...

p.s. - Kath and I grilled steaks that we ate with artichokes and hollandaise on Sunday night, after reading this...


April 26, 2007 2:25 AM  

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