Northern California Coastal & Inland Valleys
I'm sure there are plenty of exotic ways to prepare and eat artichokes, but this is my favorite way to cook them. It's plain, simple, and good.
4 artichokes (one per person)
2-3 cloves garlic, optional
Bring a large covered pot of lightly salted water to boil. Cut a lemon and add a few slices to the pot. You can add a few cloves of garlic to the cooking pot if you desire.
Cut the bottom stem off the artichoke flush with the base. Cut off 1/3 of the top leafy portion with a serrated knife. Pull off the small leaves at the base of the artichoke. Use kitchen scissors to remove the thorny tips from the remaining leaves. Rinse well under running water. Rub the cut lemon over the cut edges of the artichokes. Once the water has reached a full rolling boil, immerse the prepared artichokes and the remaining lemon and cover the pot.
After about 20 minutes, remove the lid and gently tug at one of the leaves of an artichoke. If it comes away easily, the artichoke is fully cooked. Remove artichokes from the boiling water with tongs and drain them upside down in a colander. Serve warm or cool with mayonnaise.
History of the Artichoke
If you're a nut for artichokes like I am, check out The History of the Artichoke. This site has all you ever wanted to know about the history of this noble flower bud, including records of it being eaten in Greek and Roman times.