Hey, all. I started this post in November, but forgot to finish. What was I thinking? I wasn’t, actually. I was eating.
Why? Steamed #artichokes are my FAVORITE.
Growing up in San Jose, California, I ate a bumper haul of fruits and veggies. Most came from my own backyard, that third of an acre I miss SO much. (Fig trees, apricots, peaches, plums, zucchini, tomatoes, yellow squash, Swiss chard, green and lima beans and . . . artichokes!)
But what’s an artichoke? A thistle actually. A weed. But the ancients knew the good of it.
“The artichoke is mentioned as a garden plant in the 8th century BC by Homer and Hesiod,” according to Wiki. The prickly thistle quickly morphed into a cultivated must have. “The naturally occurring variant of the artichoke, the cardoon (Cynara cardunculus), which is native to the Mediterranean area, also has records of use as a food among the ancient Greeks and Romans. Pliny the Elder mentioned growing of ‘carduus’ in Carthage and Cordoba.”
But that’s not all.
“”Artichoke tea” is produced as a commercial product in the Da Lat region of Vietnam.”
What? I. MUST. TRY. THIS. Why not? Artichoke tea could supplant my cultivated preference for mint—another wild thing if planted directly in the ground. Maybe it would be good for whatever seems to sap the iron right out of my bones. Forget blood.
Marylyn Monroe gave artichokes a plug when she accepted the newly minted title, Artichoke Queen back in 1948. The blonde icon was not the first pick of Castroville farmers. (Much like artichokes may not be your first pick.) But Marilyn, aged 22, was available and eager to be known. Getting the word out does wonders for a career, and the dinner table. You can’t eat what you don’t know exists. But now Castroville touts itself as the artichoke capital of the world. And Marilyn Monroe is far from forgotten.
(I could make some writing metaphor here, but won’t. If you’re reading this, you’re able to make the connection between trying new things and the writing/reading life.)
Perspective goes a long way in determining the value ofsomething. Two of my three kiddos loathe artichokes so I channel my mom and offer to eat theirs—isn’t that big of me?? Forget that I’m steaming veg I know they’ll prefer to pass off. I’m only making up for past neglect. I missed out as a kid.
Maybe it was the drab gray-green color that made artichoke hearts unappealing. Maybe it was having to work past the prickles guarding it. (Metaphors, people ;^) But I revolted at eating the “best part” as a kid. The heart. What a dummy.
My mother knew. She tried to tell me, but experience is often the better teacher.