Promise me something: The next time you see baby artichokes, whether in a 9- or 12-pack clamshell of indeterminate origin at your local supermarket or loose at your local farmer’s market (jealous, as ours won’t be here for some time), I want you to buy every single one of them. All of them. This is no time to share with the next customer or to be a good locavore citizen. Trust your local artichoke-obsessed food blogger on this one; without fail, they disappear for the season the moment you discover their awesomeness, which I hope we’re all about to do.
As someone who claims that her favorite food on earth is artichokes, it’s strange that this cooking website boasts so few recipes that feature them, that the last one was over 5 years ago, and I came to the conclusion years later that I liked it better without the artichokes. Something is not adding up. But while I like to believe that I cook what I want — it’s all about me, me, me, baby — and not solely that which will please a real or imagined audience, the reality is that it’s not much fun to make food that few people get as excited about as you do. It would be like inviting everyone you knew to a viewing party on the latest Science Channel documentary on, say, how rolling luggage is made only to find that all of your friends were simultaneously, apologetically busy that night. (WTH, you want us to return to the dark ages of lifting luggage by hand?)
People, I’m about at the end of my ordered-in dinner rope. It’s not that — as the front page of this site might suggest — I haven’t cooked anything since the baby arrived, it’s just that I’ve largely cooked things that could be assembled during naptimes, and most of Alex and my conversations about meals go, “What should we do for dinner?” “I made mushroom toasts and a bowl of butterscotch sauce today!” “Right, so what should we order?” And so on with the pho, cracker-thin pizza and hummusiot dinner deliveries. For three months. At 93 days, even shakshuka broiled with haloumi gets tiresome.
My husband and I have different packing personalities. First, I need a clean apartment, you know, before I wreck sections of it at a time. Then I need to go through every single thing we own before any of it gets packed and determine whether it should stay or does it need to go. I cannot stand the thought of moving, well, useless baggage to a new and supposedly clean slate of an apartment. Then each box has to have a separate topic; if desk stuff gets in with book stuff, I get itchy and start pacing the floor. How does Alex pack? Oh, he puts stuff in boxes until everything’s packed. I probably don’t need to tell you who is better at getting the job done.
Given that I can say, without pausing or so much as batting an eyelash, that artichokes are my favorite food on earth, it’s kind of a bummer that they’re so woefully underrepresented here. Sure, there are Artichoke Ravioli, a quick Potato and Artichoke Tortilla, a a scooped heart filled with fresh cranberry beans, a gratin and some crostini in which they play a supporting role, but when you love them as much as I do, this is not enough. Nothing ever is.
Last Valentine’s Day, Alex and I had dinner at Prune. Alex wore my favorite suit of his and brought a giant bouquet of roses and a gift, because he’s spoil-me-rotten like that. We had the most decadent meal, but I couldn’t help but go home with the nagging feeling that I had ordered from the wrong side of the menu. You see, chef Gabrielle Hamilton’s menus are an editorial delight, and on Valentine’s Day she went to town with an especially charmingly bipolar one.
Last month, en route to a cousin’s baby shower in Connecticut, my mother, sister and I realized that we needed a new envelope for the card we’d brought and swung into a strip shopping mall which housed a crafts store. I ran in to buy one, and found myself smack dab in front of something so mind-blowingly awesome, it took me nearly a minute to remember to breathe: as if I couldn’t love her any more, Martha Stewart apparently has a line of crafts products, and people, if there are two things I’m powerless in the face of, it’s a rack that contains not one, not two, but eleven different types of crafts glue and their doyenne. That I walked out of the store that day with not a single MSC product is nothing but a testament to my refuse-to-overstuff-my-tiny-apartment willpower, but it’s been three weeks now, and still, almost every other worth that breathlessly escapes my lips sounds like MonkeyPartyinaBox! or PaperBagPuppetKit! I am nothing if not a sensible, level-headed individual.