So the other night, I happened to be at a restaurant with a fairly new acquaintance. I chose the only vegetarian appetizer on the menu- artichoke hearts. It’s only recently, within the last year, that I tried artichoke for the first time outside of a dip. I was at a friend’s dinner party; they were soaking in an oil and herb brine and melted on my tongue. I became an instant fan. Did you guys know that artichoke hearts are freaking delicious?
Anyway, I have since bought a couple of jars like this one and thought that I had the artichoke game on lock.
Fast forward to this dinner. A huge plate of halved, pan-roasted, seared on the edges, pools for butter artichokes is set before me. I have no clue how to eat them. Mine have always come in jars. All I know is jars. I pull out my fork and knife and try cutting them. If you imagine that it’s difficult for me to stab these thin, oily leaves with my fork, you’d be correct.
When I finally get the prongs into some meat, I quickly find that after a handful of chews, the artichoke begins to feel like grass in my mouth. Am I supposed to spit out the mass of saliva and crabgrass? I keep chewing while trying to figure it out and pay attention to the conversation. No amount of chewing is breaking up the fibers of this apparently very sturdy vegetable/flower.
When it finally becomes too much, I wait for the right moment when his eyes are averted and pluck it out of my mouth. Of course, his eyes land on my plate just as the chewed up weeds do. Great. I’m staring at a plate full of more artichoke than I know what to do with and either it’s going to be a long night or I need to come clean. I burst out a confession that I have no idea how to eat this thing.
His response, “First of all, you don’t use a knife and fork.” So basically, I had given myself away from the very start. “You pull off the leaves and suck on them, chewing on the meaty end bits.” Suck and nibble. Got it.
A few more minutes in and he slides a plate over to my side of the table. “This plate is for the husks” (or whatever they’re called. I’m delirious with embarrassment). Call him Houdini because he made that plate appear from out of nowhere. So I guess the empty edge of my plate wasn’t the proper place to be stacking my discards? Let me say this: I think scrap plate and I think ribs and crab legs, not artichoke.
If I weren’t such a know-it-all and so awful at being a spy, I would’ve snuck into the ladies room before the plate came out and watched a YouTube video. It never crossed my mind. It also never crossed my mind to ask the person sitting across from me how to eat it, and even if it did, I wouldn’t have, let’s be honest.
I imagine that this is what Jack Dawson would’ve felt like sitting in the grand dining room of the Titanic surrounded by fancy-shmancies. Jack, you had an angel next to you that night and her name wasn’t Rose.
Share your knowledge people. These types of tragedies don’t have to happen. Whatever you know, there’s someone out there who doesn’t know and wants (needs) to learn. There are YouTube videos out there for everything, so if you ever have trouble with something and you learn a solution, make a video, save the world, save idiots like me.
This hilarious video made me feel a whole lot better.
Have you ever had an embarrassing situation happen in a restaurant? What are the foods you avoid eating when in the company of others? Let’s hear stories!
And speaking of making videos, if you missed last week’s Lit Talks, here it is. For whatever reason (because technology hates me) the connection or download was super glitchy at the beginning (so frustrating) but if you stick with it, it does get better.
If you’re into podcasts, here you go.
Side note: The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock is my favorite.
Catch me every Thursday night at 8pm on Instagram Live. Tonight we’ll be reading a couple of passages from Shakespeare’s Hamlet which exemplify wit and a gift for insulting people in the most wonderful ways. See you there!
My name is Lyz-Stephanie and I want to inspire you to be more connected to yourself and the world, to find beauty in simple pleasures, and to have more adventures. Every day we can do something to make our lives happier and richer, make our minds more active and engaged. I’m on the journey. Will you join me?