Tonight, I made stuffed artichokes. It’s a simple dish, and if you don’t live in artichoke country, you can still get excellent ones fairly cheap. Preparation is straightforward — cut off the stem, boil until the base is good and soft when you stick a knife in it. Cut it in half and scoop out the furry bits and the tiny leaves that don’t offer much. Finely chop the stem, then add…whatever. What do you like? Onion is good, minced, maybe garlic. I had tiny sweet peppers still, so I put those in. Salt, pepper, thyme, something vaguely Italian. I meant to add feta, but I forgot it. Saute in butter, then add panko bread crumbs until you have a sort of buttery paste. Stick it in the space you scooped out, and bake a few minutes, just to brown the top. Melt some butter. Serve.
It’s delicious, nutritious, and very real.
Why does it matter? Because you can’t eat your artichoke in a hurry. Once you’ve enjoyed the buttery filling, you pull each leaf away with your fingers, and dip it in the melted butter. It just takes time and napkins. This isn’t formal food, probably. But it is easy to prepare, and kind of participatory. I don’t know if you can get your kids into artichokes, but if you can, they’d have fun with this one. And they look funny. I think that helps a lot. So slow down, have an artichoke with a friend, and tell all the old jokes you can think of. Especially the dumb ones.