Growing up, steamed artichokes were a frequent friend at our family dinner table. My mom would set a bowl of them down, alongside a vinaigrette for dipping the leaves in, and we’d all go to town. Well, the girls would. My mom, sister and I would each eat two apiece while my Dad was all “no thankyouverymuch.” We’d dip leaf after leaf into the tangy vinaigrette, working our way down to the best part of the artichoke, the heart. What a great reward that soft fleshy heart is … total yum.
They’re still a favorite for me and I make them myself, but just for me since no one else here was a fan. But then a few months ago, that all changed when Nick grew interested as he watched me rip leaf after leaf off, dipping it into our old standby vinaigrette.
“Mom, what is that?”
“An artichoke. Do you want to try a bite?”
At first he said no, then a few minutes later he changed his mind and tried one. And then another. And another. He loved them, all except for the artichoke’s heart, silly boy. Now whenever we see nice ones in the grocery store, he automatically grabs a few and puts them into the cart. I love that he loves them.
Last week I was reading an article about artichokes and it had a suggestion of dipping the leaves in melted butter. Hmmm … melted butter. I mentioned it to my mom over the weekend and she asked, “Instead of our usual vinaigrette?” See?! I’m not the only one resistant to change sometimes. ;)
On our next trip to the grocery store, we bought four artichokes (big and gorgeous ones this time) and that night I told Nick that we were going to try the melted butter as a dipping sauce instead of our usual sauce.
“If I don’t like it, can you make the other one?” he asked.
“Yes, absolutely,” I said.
I didn’t think we’d have anything to worry about. I mean, hello? Melted butter. Bourbon, bacon, butter … you can’t go wrong with any of them. We dipped leaf after leaf into the melted butter, the slight saltiness being the perfect foil for the artichokes.
Madeline caught wind of what we were doing, more to the point that we were eating something that we hadn’t shared with her, and squealed until I relented and gave her a leaf to try. It took a few times before she got the hang of it, and ate from the right end, but once she did, she was keeping right up with us, eating leaf after leaf. I love that she loves artichokes as much as Nick and I do.
And so a new tradition begins, with the three of us sharing artichokes now. The only dilemma will be melted butter or vinaigrette?