If you grew up in my family than you realize the artichoke is a nostalgic vegetable. It was a rare treat for us when we sat down to dinner and had artichokes with... mayonnaise. Another reason I love the stuff! My mother would buy them for us whenever she found a good deal. It makes me long for her homemade meals served up with love.
Yesterday I found them on sale in a four-pack at the grocery store and I couldn't pass them up. Z was so excited when she sat down to dinner, "Yummy, artichokes, my favorite!" They are a perennial in the thistle group of the sunflower family. The part that we eat is actually the flower bud. Lots of people may be intimidated by this crazy looking veggie. They have to be cooked in boiling water for 20-45 minutes depending on the size. To eat them you pull off the petals, one at a time, dip the base of the petal in sauce (melted butter, mayonnaise, vinaigrette), and pull between your teeth to remove the soft, pulpy portion. Continue doing this until all the leaves are gone. Then you have the artichoke heart left. Scoop out the fuzzy center, cut into pieces, dip into sauce. Enjoy! So if you have trouble getting your little ones to eat vegetables, serve up some of these. They get to eat it with their hands.