Artichoke

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Travel, health, precaution, idiom, dessert, recipe 1

Artichoke’s travels  The wild artichoke, of which we find traces in antique Arab kitchens, gives us two plants: the cardoon and the modern artichoke. The cardoon develops from the trunk of the plant, and the artichoke develops as the fruit. From Mediterranean Sea, where it was cultivated in Carthaginian gardens, the artichoke came first to Italy, and then, it traveled with Catherine de’ Medici who was crazy about it. She introduced it to us and thus increased the pleasure for our palates. It has been used as drug and supposed aphrodisiac, so it was not advised for use by young ladies.

Artichokes and health  We say that it is good for kidneys, intestines, liver, gall-bladder, contains a lot of potassium, phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, iron, different vitamins, so it’s a good remineraliser, good to help cure anemia, tiredness and blood cholesterol.

Precaution  A cooked artichoke gets oxidized quickly so you have to eat it quickly. Artichokes aren’t recommended during breastfeeding.

Artichoke and a French idiom  Do you have “an artichoke heart?” In French, this expression is used to talk about somebody who falls in love often and easily. The middle of the artichoke, from where we take the leaves is like the heart of these people, which gives as much love to other people as there are leaves.

Artichoke for dessert In French, until the Revolution (1789) the word «fruit» was used for all products grown in the soil. Little by little, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the taste for what is now called vegetables increased and so did the taste for sugared and salted foods. In the 16th century, because it has a slightly sweet taste, the artichoke, like olives and truffles was eaten for dessert. The artichoke needed some centuries to begin to be eaten at the beginning of the meal… or maybe, did you prepare an artichoke with Chantilly cream, for example, for lunch?

Recipe 1 Artichoke à la Mireille  (a girl’s name)  For 6 people: 1kg 200grams small artichoke, 12 small onions, 500 grams of tomatoes, 1 dl olive oil, whole pepper grains Use small artichokes, removing the outer leaves and put them to cook in a pot with a glass of broth or water, 1 dl olive oil, salt, pepper seeds and 12 small onions. Add more 3 or 4 peeled, seeded tomatoes, cut in quarters, and cover. Let cook on a strong fire 30 minutes and serve as is, but preferably cold. L’art culinaire moderne. La bonne table française et étrangère
(Modern culinary art. The good French and foreign table), Henri-Paul Pellaprat, 1960