jennifer rodrigo
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My artichoke encounter in Paris

Jul 19, 2022

You know artichokes are not grown in my country, Malaysia. I mean I have heard of artichoke hearts, eaten from a can but had not seen an actual full artichoke before. So one day, many years ago, I landed at a cafe in Paris and ordered a meal. Poulet - okay got that, chicken right? (no translate help in those days). And the starter was an artichoke. With a sauce by the side. So I looked at this flowery looking rather pretty little bulbous plant with lots of layered leaves. None of those snooty waiters would stop to show me how to eat this - so okay I would just pull a layer, dip it into the sauce and chomp it. And chomp and chew and chew and chomp. All wrong, I knew it. So finally a gentle Thai waiter fell sorry for an Asian compatriot grasping with this edible. He explained how. Just eat the soft ends of the leaves connected to the heart and when done with that, eat the artichoke heart. Yes now that was quite delicious. That encounter made me think of so many culturally diverse food experiences from around the world that one could concoct some rather lugubrious anecdotes. Have you eaten "banana leaf" before? Ah yes, more to come.

Photo by Margaret Jaszowska on UnSplash, thank you.

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