How Do You Eat an Artichoke in a Restaurant?

Artichokes look inedible, but they are totally delicious.  And like any other food, they are also served in restaurants.  But if you have ordered artichokes in a diner and it’s your first time to try this vegetable, how to go about eating it may come as a bewildering task.

What do you do to a large plate of steamed, heavily-armored flower like artichokes?  Why eat it, of course.  Should you dig in with a knife and a fork?  Or should you look around the restaurant, trying to spot another customer who, by some sheer luck, ordered the same thing?

True.  Eating artichokes isn’t as easy as eating ice cream.  But it isn’t as difficult as you imagine either.

If you have ordered a large, whole artichoke, you can start eating it by pulling out the leaves one at a time.  It’s perfectly okay to do that.  Hold the petal like you would a potato chip and dip the base portion in melted butter, mayonnaise, ranch dressing or whatever sauce the artichoke came with.

Pull away the petal with your teeth, removing the tender flesh at the thick base of the petal.  Once you have eaten the meat of the leaf, throw the remainder or the petal skin away.

Continue doing this until all the petals have been consumed and you have reached the leaves that do not have that much meat in them.  If the artichoke is cooked well, you can lift off these small leaves all at one time for one last dip.  But remember not to eat the sharp tips as they are not edible.

After that, you will almost be at the heart of the artichoke, which is the most delicious part of this pretty and not too little flower.

If you see a fuzzy covering around the heart, that’s the choke.  It’s a very apt name for this very prickly growth as “choke” is what will happen if you happen to eat this nasty thing.

Take the choke out gently with a spoon.  Remember to remove every choke.  Even one prickly choke left will wreak havoc to your digestive system.

And now, the perfect example of the phrase “saving the best for last”—eating the heart of the artichoke.  Cut it in bite-size pieces, dip and savor its delicate taste.