Fall 2017

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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

"A" is For Artichoke

And we are off - a new start to Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday!
At the beginning - this week's letter is "A" - For Artichokes...
Do you like them? Avoid them? Don't know what to do with them?  Animal, vegetable or mineral??


My own experience with artichokes began in 1964 - you ask how can she remember something so mundane? I was 20 years old and led a somewhat sheltered life - the kitchen was a room that was not particularly familiar to me. Mom was in charge of meal preparations and like most Americans during the '60's we ate quite well, never thinking about carbs or calories...everything was very good as Mom enjoyed cooking and trying new recipes. 
The long holiday weekend of Easter (Monday being a holiday in Washington, D.C. - after all it was the day of the traditional Egg Roll on the White House lawn) I met my future husband...aka Mr. Outback. It wasn't long before he introduced me to his own family...his sister, Susan, and their Mom & Dad, Colonel and Mrs. Taylor. Jean, who would become my Mother-in-law was a gourmet cook and her copy of Julia Child's cookbook was her favorite. I have always thought Jean and Julia looked like twins anyway (with maybe a touch of Angela Lansbury.) One of the first dinners I attended at their home featured prepared artichokes - set off to the side of my dinner plate in a separate serving dish. What is that I quietly wondered? Peering discreetly around the table at the others, I carefully watched to see what would happen to this unknown food item. Okay, it looked like you needed to pull a leaf off and dip it in something...oh a little dish of mayonnaise next to the artichoke...I can handle that. Then you must ...hmmm...eat the leaf...and thus began a new journey. There was a little sharp tip on the edge of each leaf which baffled me but down the leaf went. It didn't hurt too much and I sure wanted to make a good impression on everyone by not asking any odd questions. I don't remember what we actually had for dinner that night. The glass of wine helped with the throat. It wasn't until later that I noticed everyone else had a neatly piled set of partially eaten leaves stacked on the edge of their little serving plates. There was nothing to show for all my hard work except for a strange looking bottom part. At that point, I threw caution to the wind and must have asked for assistance...

Fast forward to 2011...Mr. Outback still likes this interesting vegetable. They don't grow well in Northern Wisconsin, to say the least. What we find in the local stores is mostly quite sad looking...very brown and dried out. There must be limited interest in them and the produce buyers are not very knowledgeable as to quality. They often are priced at $2.69 or above for each one. When we do purchase a half-way decent looking artichoke, the young cashiers at the check out line always ask what it is...and bring out their sku code books to find a listing.
What to do?? This being the age of ordering everything you can dream up online...Mr. Outback located an artichoke farm in Moss Landing, California and they ship!!! What size would you like, Sir? JUMBO, of course! We will get them right out to you...FedEX overnight...

Mr. Outback won't reveal what he paid for these babies...

But he is one happy artichoke fan!
The box held 9 of the biggest artichokes I have ever seen...complete with that thorny little edge. You California readers are no doubt shaking your heads in dismay...after all you can grow them in your backyards!
So that's my story, and I am sticking to it! (Gotcha 'ya! bet you thought I would choose "A" for applique! Maybe next time...)

"A" is for artichoke - and be sure to visit all the other brand new "A" postings over at Jenny's.



This tiny bunny is the only size I welcome in my yard...but he sends you an Abundance of Easter Blessings...


Pat in snowy Northern Wisconsin




29 comments:

Terra said...

I LOVE THEM...I have only cooked them a couple times, I mostly order them when out...but I have to say I am super jealous of your box of them! Way to go - Great A post! Made me hungry...

Jackie said...

lol that's funny you ate the whole leaf. I love artichokes and I was only 7 or 8 years old when I tried them . like yours, it was on a separate plate with a little dipping sauce beside it but we all knew what to do with it as we talked about our food then :) butter and vinegar of some sort was the dipping sauce yummm

Carol said...

I have never prepared them myself but I just watched one of the shows on the Cooking Channel show how to prep/cook them so I may give it a whirl!

Personalized Sketches and Sentiments said...

Oh dear! Ouch! I love artichoke dip! Wowzer! Those ones your hubby bought are humongous! Enjoy the artichokes...I surely enjoyed reading your post :o)

Blessings & Aloha!
(would love to read your story of how you and your Mr. met :o)

EG Wow said...

Loved your story and your honesty. I love artichokes but I have no idea how I learned to like them as, like you, I didn't grow up eating them.

Judie said...

I adore artichokes! I finally turned Rod on to them as well. When someone ASKS me to cook a particular vegetable, I LISTEN!
Great post!

Rocky Mountain Woman said...

What a great story.

I was in CA a few years back right before Thanksgiving and bought a bunch of baby artichokes. It was fun to watch my family look kind of strangely at them at first, then tentatively taking a bite or two and then devouring the whole bunch!

Karen said...

Your story was very entertaining. Sounds like you and I grew up in the same house. I didn't have any experience in the kitchen except for making Toll House Choc. Chip cookies. My sister-in-law introduced me to artichokes, but they were marinated in a jar and she liked putting them on her salads. That's the way I like them too. My daughter and son-in-law have them quite often. They invited us over one night for dinner and served them to us. I must say we didn't enjoy them at all.

jfb57 said...

I just love thepixture of you looking around to see what everyone else was doing! Great 'A' post & now I know what to do with them!

BEAR's Mom said...

loved this story...
i've only had them from the jar
i might try them your way (minus eating the leaf) LOL
~victoria~

criticalcrass said...

i'm glad yall found a place that would ship some to you. :]

JDaniel4's Mom said...

They are wonderful dipped in warm butter. They ones you got in the mail are huge. Can your whole family eat from one?

Donnie said...

Cute post. I never knew I was allergic to artichokes til the spinach artichoke dip came out in the 80's. I sure found out though.

Teresa said...

I'm feeling a bit left out, as I've never tried artichoke. At least now I know you don't eat the leaf. I guess.

ellen b said...

Oh dear, I can see how eating these for the first time could be very confusing. Loved your story. I'm always afraid of the choke part. :0)
My family and I love artichokes now but the very first time I saw them growing was on my honeymoon in Central California. We all have our favorite way to dip the leaves. I think I'll pick up a few for appetizers for Easter dinner!! Yum!

Ⓙ @ $ € € ₦$ ₣®0₥... said...

Reminds me of my trip through the 'salad bowl' in California......MILES and MILES of artichokes in every direction.

JCnNC said...

Love artichokes, especially dipped in butter. DWH thinks they are a waste of his time. His lost. Lovely post, Pat. Judy C who is busy sorting and packing. Judy C

5thsister said...

HA! This story reminds me of the 1st time I ever ate "peel and eat" shrimp. As a Kansas girl my only exposure to shrimp was of the fried variety. Anyway, I was about the same age when I did exactly the same thing! For the life of me, I could not figure out the appeal of them!

Lori said...

What a funny story adn to think your hubby oders them from CA! LOL
Persaonlly I think they are more work than they are worth.;)

storybeader said...

wow - those are large! Poor girl, I can't imagine swallowing the leaves! What a good sport you were. I've thought about growing them, since I do live in the south now. My DH has never liked them, but I do! {:-Deb

RNSANE said...

I've been living in the San Francisco for almost 34 years now - but, when I made my first trip to this area at the age of 18, I went down to Monterey, CA, passing through Castroville, "the artichoke capital of the world." I stopped off at a place called the "Giant Artichoke" and had an artichoke feast - artichoke soup, artichoke salad, artichoke bread, fried artichoke hearts, and a wonderful boiled artichoke with mayonaise to dip the leaves in ( and a card that instructed you how to eat them ). The Giant Artichoke is still in existence and I've never been down to the Monterey area that I don't stop and eat the exact same meal.

Of course, I prepare artichokes myself and have eaten them all over the world, too. I LOVE them!!

My Alphabe Thursday is at:

http://rnsane.blogspot.com/2011/04/alphabe-thursday-is-for-awful-april-21.html#links

Su-sieee! Mac said...

I'm one of the fortunate California gals, who live over the hill from the artichoke capital of the world. Your hubs might not like to hear that I can get 12 medium-ish artichokes for $2 at a produce stand in the middle of an artichoke field. Hmmm, me thinks it's time to go there sooner, rather than later.

dlmsliceofpie said...

Love artichokes! Love them fresh ... but my favorite thing to do with them is buy the bottoms, canned, and fill them with yummy ingredients as a side dish. They are wonderful filled with rice and poached salmon bits ... drizzled with a creamy lemon sauce! Thanks for sharing!

Christine said...

I make myself sick on a hot artichoke dip all the time. I have no self control.

Carla said...

We grow artichokes in our garden! Love your story.

Just stopping by to wish you a Happy Easter!
Carla

Pomona said...

Great to discover your blog! Funnily enough we were given artichokes when we went out to supper last night!

Pomona x

Jingle said...

honest one,


I do what you do when I feel stuck on posting mine..
Happy Easter.

lemonverbenalady said...

Love artichokes and hope you had a very happy Easter, Pat and Mr. Outback and those cute doggies! Nancy

Jenny said...

I must say, that I'm not a big fan of artichokes. When my husband lived in Idaho he used to order artichokes from California, too.

We can grow them here in Arizona. Our single plant produced 40, so my husband was eating them like crazy.

I think you better not let your husband read Carmens comment...he'll be heading out the door on a road trip before you can stop him!

Thanks for a fun link.

A+