+--+ | | /-+ +-\ | \/ \/ | | | | | \ /| |\ / \ \--\/--/ / ------------------ Fig A) Artichoke on Plate
An artichoke is composed of three parts:

The Leaves

     A - This is the "TIP".
  ||
 /  \
|    |  B
\    /
 ----
     C - This is the "BASE".

Fig B) The Leaf of an Artichoke


These are the things on the outside. The "meat" is on the inside of the leaf, but the outside is inedible. Seize one of the leaves by the base ('C' in Fig B) and rend it from the artichoke.

You will notice that there is some green, meaty stuff up by the tip ('A' in Fig B), and that the entire inside of the leaf is composed of a similar meaty substance. Securing your grip firmly on the flat base of the leaf ('C' in Fig B), dip the leaf in the butter sauce you have prepared for your artichoke consumption, and bring the leaf toward your mouth. Make sure the meaty inside is pointing downward, and the smooth outside is pointing upward. The meaty tip should be pointing toward you, while the flat edge you are gripping the leaf by should point away from you. Bite the leaf firmly about halfway down.

Do not let go of the leaf!

Your teeth should have severed through the meaty part of the leaf, but not through the smooth outside. If they have severed cleanly, scream and curse and go get another leaf. If you've done it properly, you can now pull the leaf away from yourself with your hand, while leaving your teeth clenched. This will cause the teeth of your lower jaw to strip away the meat of the leaf.

Chew. Swallow. Grin. Repeat until you approach the center and the leaves become very soft, preventing you from performing this procedure any longer.

The Core

 
/\ / \ /******\ \-+ +-/ | | +--+ Fig C) Artichoke with Leaves Stripped Away


While less time consuming, the next part of the process is much more difficult. First, you must strip away the soft leaves. Grab the entire cone of soft leaves and pull gently. You should reveal a much smaller cone of leaves underneath.

If so, the leaves you have pulled off are perfectly edible. Dip the entire fleshy part in sauce and sever it cleanly. Discard the remainder.

If not, you may have pulled some of the bad inner leaves up along with your cone. Look into the center and remove any small leaves near the base before eating the fleshy part of the removed cone.

Once you're done, remove any remaining leaves on the artichoke. You will uncover a circular patch of fuzzy-looking stuff. It is inedible, and needs to be removed. While there's really no point to not using your hands now that you're this far in, a knife or similar instrument is also suitable for the task. Discard the fuzzy stuff.

The Heart

 
/------\ \-+ +-/ | | +--+ Fig D) The Elusive Heart


The heart! Eating the heart is simple. Provided you have removed all the fuzz, there are no inedible portions. You are free to consume it however you wish.

You have now eaten your artichoke.

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