Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Things Change

Change. It can really suck. Summer becomes fall and flowers fade. Ovens break, dishwashers won't wash. Our beloved pets pass leaving us aching to see a furry face in all the expected places.

I don't like change. Out of commission kitchen appliances put me over the edge. Losses hit me hard. I have no desire to cook Asian food or a whole artichoke? Why change?

But, like it or not it sneaks in when we least expect it and sometimes it's not all bad. Fall brings brilliant color, new flowers grow. Dishwashers wash. The realization that fur is a package for an incredible soul comes. Hey, maybe I could make a passable bowl of noodles. How hard can it be to prep an artichoke?

Last weekend Trader Joe's had an enormous box, about the size to keep 5 chicks, full to overflowing, with artichokes. I think artichokes are beautiful. In dip, bruschetta, marinated, straight out of the jar or in a bowl as a centerpiece.

I am slightly embarrassed to admit I've never eaten one whole. That said, I've never understood why one would go to the trouble to prepare one. I decided there in TJ's to make a change that I could choose. I would buy artichokes, prepare them for my family and send my brood out into the world having eaten an artichoke whole - before the age of 40.

I turned to Mark Bittman, because Mark Bittman knows how to cook everything. I reviewed this month's Fine Cooking. I followed the directions - trim the bottoms, maybe cut the leaf tips, lemon juice, tarragon, steam. I can do this.

Pulling open the top of the squeaking leaves to reveal the choke was my favorite part. Opening the leaves reminds me of those steam baskets you put in the bottom of a pot. Change is fun.

The variety I bought, I was told, doesn't have a choke that really needs to be removed. I know my family though and that fuzzy thing would never fly. I blindly dug in with my spoon while the leaves slowly closed.

The removal of the choke was a sucky part of change. My fingers turned black. Not complementary to my Pandamonium Pink polish.

They were okay. Easy enough to eat though rather tedious. Not tremendously well received but everyone tried them. (some under duress)

Some things change.

Some don't. My oven still doesn't work. I will always miss my dog. I'll never prepare artichokes again.

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