Eating an Artichoke ~1886


Artichokes have a special place in our family.

Until a few years ago, we lived outside of Castroville, CA, the self-proclaimed artichoke capital of the world. Every year, they sponsored the artichoke festival, in which they showcased artichoke art, artichoke recipes, a parade, and tours of the artichoke fields. Artichoke-Pig2And lots of tacos and mariachi music.

Why tacos and mariachi music?

Because it is our Latino immigrant population out in the fields doing the backbreaking labor harvesting those monstrous globes. Touring the artichoke fields was especially insightful. You got to put on one of the harvesting bags and wield the knife, trying to hack off one-two chokes from their fibrous stalks.

It was not easy.

Steinbeck, the local literary figure of some import, penned several novels detailing the lives of the field workers. A few years ago, I went back to read his novels as an adult with renewed interest and fresh perspective.

Bottom line: Every artichoke is worth the $$.

The Castroville Artichoke Festival is also famous for having Marilyn Monroe be crowned it’s Artichoke Queen in 1947, a publicity stunt to draw fans to local theaters.

But I digress. Back to the lovely Victorian artichoke diagram…

Artichokes are intimidating for the initiate. I get it.

This diagram and description have to be how someone from the engineering or math fields would describe eating an artichoke:

“Line C runs into the bottom, or fond; the line B into the choke, which is removed, the line A indicates the leaves themselves, the lower part of which is eaten when they are tender and succulent.”

My, but Miss Corson thought of everything.

Well, maybe not the artichoke pig, but we’ll give this one to her!

More Fun Discoveries

Source: Miss Corson’s Practical American Cookery and Household Management, 1886.

18 thoughts on “Eating an Artichoke ~1886

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  1. Fun read!! Was there any mention of how to eat artichokes? No one told your grandfather, newly settled from Texas as a teenager. He tried to eat it choke and all.

    Liked by 1 person

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