A Message To The Graduating Class of 2022

A Message To The Graduating Class of 2022

Screenwriter Eric Roth has held a storied career, but he got one thing wrong in the 1994 Academy Award winning Forrest Gump:  Life is not like a box of chocolates.   While this is a lovely visual for anyone not allergic to nuts, the metaphor loses all credibility if you've made it past the age of 16.   Or if you were born before penecillin. 

Life is not like a box of chocolates.  

Life is like an artichoke.

The artichoke is beautiful, delicious, and a bit of a pain in the ass.   There's no one "right" way to cook one, and no linear path from harvest to plate. You will always contend their woody, sharp leaves and an inedible choke. To enjoy an artichoke, you must trim, acidulate, peel, core, smash, or any number of other efforts before you can enjoy the transcendent, buttery heart of this thistle's flower bud. 

Don't be lulled by canned or jarred artichoke hearts.  They are perfectly acceptable in a vegetarian muffuletta or a hot spinach dip, but if you aren't willing to cook an artichoke, you probably aren't living your truth. 

I like to make the eating of an artichoke an activity unto itself, so I prepare them simply.  I peel the stem and cut off the top inch-or-so with a serrated knife, rub the whole thing with lemon, and boil in salted water about 35 minutes, until the outer leaves slide off without resistance. 

As a kid, artichokes were just a vehicle for melted butter.   But as an adult who seemingly "has it all figured out", I've been eating my artichokes with a 1:1:1 formula of Bobbie's Boat Sauce, mayonnaise, and Greek yogurt. But when they're really good, and really fresh, try them in their natural state, sans fards, fearlessly.