Ode to an Artichoke

My once beautiful and productive garden has undergone a resting period ever since schedules got tightened once again around here. In other words, I haven’t planted jack in forever and the only remaining veggies are those that last several years or have reseeded themselves.

When we first moved in I planted artichokes and asparagus. The asparagus has done amazingly well and while the artichoke plants are nice and leafy it had only produced one actual choke in three years. Until last week.

No one had even looked at the artichoke plants in many months. I was playing with my nephew in the yard when I noticed it, round and green and ready for picking, a perfect little artichoke crying out to me from its pedestal of pointed leaves. We promptly went inside to get some scissors, picked the softball-sized crown, and stashed it away in the fridge where no one else would see it.

The next night while preparing dinner I cooked myself up a little appetizer of artichoke and melted butter. No, the artichoke was not shared with anyone because trust me, no one else in this household can appreciate a thing like an artichoke at the peak of freshness.

Sitting outside on the lanai watching the sunset and savoring the choke by candlelight was one of the more powerful religious experiences I’ve had. Each leaf sang hymns in my mouth. And the heart, oh the heart, was my communal bread and wine. “Eat this, in remembrance of me,” said the artichoke. And I did, and it was good.

The artichoke plants have been checked daily since then.

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