The pangolin of the vegetable world, the artichoke repels as much as it attracts. Is it armor or petals that surround its hidden heart? The slow-mo antidote to the seven-bite standup lunch, it ought to be the poster-it for the Slow Food movement.
Years ago I was told artichokes are one the foods one should never eat on a first date… the painstaking biting and sucking, the buttery dribbles, fingers and stain-potential all too risky, too exposing, too unladylike.
Even poet Henry Taylor admits to having “studied in private years ago/the way to eat these things…” Here’s his experience:
“If poetry did not exist, would you have had the wit to invent it?” –Howard Nemerov
He had studied in private years ago
the way to eat these things, and was prepared
when she set the clipped green globe before him.
He only wondered (as he always did
when he plucked from the base the first thick leaf,
dipped it into the sauce and caught her eye
as he deftly set the velvet curve against
the inside edges of his lower teeth
and drew the tender pulp towards his tongue
while she made some predictable remark
about the sensuality of this act
then sheared away the spines and ate the heart)
what mind, what hunger, first saw this as food.
Henry Taylor ‘s collections of poetry include Crooked Run (2006), Understanding Fiction: Poems 1986-1996; The Flying Change (1985), for which he received the Pulitzer Prize; An Afternoon of Pocket Billiards (1975), and The Horse Show at Midnight (1966). Taylor has received the Witter Bynner Foundation Poetry Prize from the American Academy and Institute of Arts and Letters, a grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities, two fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, and is a member of the Fellowship of Southern Writers. He has also translated several works from Bulgarian, French, Hebrew, Italian, and Russian.
- Food Poetry: Onion, by Nan Fry
- Food Poetry: Bread, by Linda Pastan
- Food Poetry: The History of Brussels Sprouts
- Food Poetry: Linguini, by Diane Lockward
- Food Poetry: Walnut, by Kim Roberts
- Food Poetry: Carciofi, by Grace Cavalieri
- Food Poetry: Tomato Pies, 25 cents