Artichokes are a lesson in patience.

They are a very strange vegetable, requiring quite a bit of preparation. Eating them can be an interesting endeavor (it’s very tough to look elegant when scraping artichoke flesh with your teeth). And really, when everything is said and done, there isn’t much to them.

Or is there?

Is it possible that the humble artichoke transcends its culinary value? Is there something you can learn from cooking and eating them? I think so!

Slow Down

Believed to be native to the Mediterranean, the artichoke helps bring the more relaxed Italian attitude to our frantically busy American kitchens. In other words, artichokes help you (read: force you) to slow down. In today’s fast food culture, food can very easily become another aspect of our addiction to instant gratification. A trip through the drive through, a greasy burger downed while driving, and onto Starbucks for our next fast fix.  

 But you can’t really speed through an artichoke. The very nature of the vegetable resists the modern urge to power through meals and move onto the next thing. In fact, as prickly as artichokes can be without mindful preparation, you might really pay for skipping the little steps like removing the sharp tips before you get on with your cooking.

Play With Your Food

One of the best things about eating an artichoke is that it is a process. You can build a whole meal’s worth of conversation around the journey of cooking and eating one. There is so much interactivity involved in all of that disassembling, dipping and scraping and  making your way to the delicious heart. Because artichokes force us to take a very hands-on approach to our meals, they require you to be present and to participate.  As adults with no kids around anymore, sometimes we forget that food is for more than eating. When eating artichokes, I find myself remembering that food is for fun!

Turn Every Day into Art

If you saw the artichokes pictured here in their raw state, you probably would never imagine that the inside was full of that amazing lavender color. This meal was so beautiful that it would (almost) have been worth the all of the snipping, slicing and sauteing just to watch the artichokes cook, to see the delicate lilac of the raw vegetable deepen into purple. Something very special about that, reminding us about how the smallest moments in life can also be the most exquisite.

Here at Modigliani, our passion is helping to bring out the beauty in the little moments of  life. Connect with us on Twitter and Facebook and let us know how you make the everyday extraordinary to embrace la grande vita!