In all my years of eating artichoke I've cooked and eaten it the same way, the easy way: steamed in a pressure cooker and eaten with mayo. Until tonight. Tonight's Mastering the Art of French Cooking meal:
In English that's Pan-broiled steak, artichoke with lemon butter, and white rice. Old arty was cooked in the new-to-me, old fashioned way: boiled for an hour on the stove. In fact, everything I made tonight was from scratch. That's one of the things I love about MtAoFC. It's kind of like reading Moby Dick. Nobody really likes the story, they just read it for the bragging rights. Or maybe that's just me. (Yes, I've read Moby Dick. No, I did not enjoy it. Yes, I brag about it whenever I get the chance.) Except with cooking this way I do enjoy the final results. All the effort is worth it.
The steak cooked up nice. I would recommend a thinner cut of beef if you like your meat cooked through like my family does. The red wine and butter sauce was all the flavoring it needed.
The artichoke was great. I had fun making the lemon butter sauce. But it was too lemony for my pallet. And it just didn't compare to mayo. Nevertheless, I ate like a purist and made all the kids try at least one taste with the lemon butter sauce. Afterward I ate the heart with mayo. Awe, that was good.
The white rice was made on the stove following directions precisely. It was very sticky. Our family hasn't eaten white rice in at least a year, preferring the wholesomeness of brown rice with a little butter. It was a bit of a treat. I made so much that we will use the leftovers to make rice pudding.
I used just about a cup of butter. Anyone who knows me knows that I love butter. Love. It. This much butter is divine, wasteline be damned.
The verdict: it was good. It wasn't so wonderful that we will add it to the monthly recipe rotation but there was very little left for tomorrow's lunch.
Because I consider this an adventure I feel the need to take something away from my experience. I learned a couple of interesting things. The first is that you shouldn't drink wine when eating artichoke. Julia Child advises against it. The wine interferes with the artichoke's "character". The other is that, though I tend to dislike meat, when cooked skillfully it is not just tolerable but satisfying. OK, so I knew that second one already but it is an idea that always hits me fresh whenever I it proves true.
Food is more than just sustenance. It can be a joy. And French cooking the way Julia does it is an art. If you have the time and inclination(and stamina) you should take that copy of MtAoFC off your shelf or coffee table(I know you bought a copy) and try something new. It's rewarding. And you can brag to all your friends.