Awesome Artichokes

Awesome artichoke cut in half

1. Artichoke war

Ciro Terranova, Corleone born, was America’s awesome ‘artichoke king‘. He founded the dynasty, he never was a prince, nor did he ever had a shade of nobility. He would extort the Californian artichoke farmers and resell the vegetables on the New York market 40% more expensive. Pretty much what today is called business. Mayor Fiorello La Guardia declared war on the artichoke swindle. Rumors went that La Guardia deliberately choose the artichoke business because it was rather small. And yet, during fire fights between thugs destroying fields and policemen, six people died. This was, alas, not the end of mafia interest and involvement in food. The attention drawn from the war made the artichoke somehow popular outside the Italian community in the States.

Mayor La Guardia at the market in New York
Mayor La Guardia at the NY market
group photo of the artichoke gang
Dressed to the nines for dirty business
Though he was awesome...died poor as he came
Ciro 'Artichoke' Terranova

2. Neruda's ode to the artichoke

Oda a la alcachofa

La alcachofa
de tierno corazón
se vistió de guerrero,
erecta, construyó
una pequeña cúpula,
se mantuvo
impermeable
bajo
sus escamas,
a su lado
los vegetales locos
se encresparon,
se hicieron
zarcillos, espadañas,
bulbos conmovedores,
en el subsuelo
durmió la zanahoria
de bigotes rojos,
la viña
resecó los sarmientos
por donde sube el vino,
la col
se dedicó
a probarse faldas,
el orégano
a perfumar el mundo,
y la dulce
alcachofa
allí en el huerto,
vestida de guerrero,
bruñida
como una granada,
orgullosa,
y un día
una con otra
en grandes cestos
de mimbre, caminó
por el mercado
a realizar su sueño:
la milicia.

En hileras
nunca fue tan marcial
como en la feria,
los hombres
entre las legumbres
con sus camisas blancas
eran
mariscales
de las alcachofas,
las filas apretadas,
las voces de comando,
y la detonación
de una caja que cae,
pero
entonces
viene
María
con su cesto,
escoge
una alcachofa,
no le teme,
la examina, la observa
contra la luz como si fuera un huevo,
la compra,
la confunde
en su bolsa
con un par de zapatos,
con un repollo y una
botella
de vinagre
hasta
que entrando a la cocina
la sumerge en la olla.

Así termina
en paz
esta carrera
del vegetal armado
que se llama alcachofa,
luego
escama por escama
desvestimos
la delicia
y comemos
la pacífica pasta
de su corazón verde.

Ode To The Artichoke

The artichoke
With a tender heart
Dressed up like a warrior,
Standing at attention, it built
A small helmet
Under its scales
It remained
Unshakeable,
By its side
The crazy vegetables
Uncurled
Their tendrills and leaf-crowns,
Throbbing bulbs,
In the sub-soil
The carrot
With its red mustaches
Was sleeping,
The grapevine
Hung out to dry its branches
Through which the wine will rise,
The cabbage
Dedicated itself
To trying on skirts,
The oregano
To perfuming the world,
And the sweet
Artichoke
There in the garden,
Dressed like a warrior,
Burnished
Like a proud
Pomegrante.
And one day
Side by side
In big wicker baskets
Walking through the market
To realize their dream
The artichoke army
In formation.
Never was it so military
Like on parade.
The men
In their white shirts
Among the vegetables
Were
The Marshals
Of the artichokes
Lines in close order
Command voices,
And the bang
Of a falling box.

But
Then
Maria
Comes
With her basket
She chooses
An artichoke,
She’s not afraid of it.
She examines it, she observes it
Up against the light like it was an egg,
She buys it,
She mixes it up
In her handbag
With a pair of shoes
With a cabbage head and a
Bottle
Of vinegar
Until
She enters the kitchen
And submerges it in a pot.

Thus ends
In peace
This career
Of the armed vegetable
Which is called an artichoke,
Then
Scale by scale,
We strip off
The delicacy
And eat
The peaceful mush
Of its green heart.

Sampolo 246 - Cultori del Gusto

3. Health: awesome aid

Pliny the Elder praises the artichoke. Well he writes it looks monstrous but tastes well and seems to have aphrodisiac properties. With no scientific evidence so far, personal experimenting is the only way to verify: long lives the empiric research! We do know the artichoke contains cynarin, helping liver and kidneys. Cyranin also influences taste buds: everything seems sweeter after eating artichokes. Try do drink water afterwards, it is truly awesome.

4. Marilyn Monroe

When it comes to artichokes, it seems things always get spiny. Apart from the winners and their family, no one remember the first ‘Miss Strawberry’, ‘Miss Green Apple’ or ‘Miss Brussels Sprout’. At the age of 22, Marilyn Monroe became the first – although honorary – miss Artichoke. And the fame lingers on till today. Some say she did it for the money, some say the studios insisted. Some say she actually liked artichokes and some say she didn’t know what she was doing. All were right.

5. The awesome colours of artichokes

The flower of the artichoke is extraordinary beautiful. The sight is rare, since the plant is no longer useful in the kitchen. When cleaning artichokes one should wear gloves or have lemon at hand. The oxidation leaves rusty stains that are hard to wash off. When boiled the artichokes color water green. A soft green, so fine, so pleasing, draining always hurts a bit.

E per gli Italiani...

Ode al carciofo

Il carciofo dal tenero cuore si vestì da guerriero,
ispida edificò una piccola cupola,
si mantenne all’asciutto sotto le sue squame,
vicino a lui i vegetali impazziti si arricciarono,
divennero viticci,
infiorescenze commoventi rizomi;
sotterranea dormì la carota dai baffi rossi,
la vigna inaridì i suoi rami dai quali sale il vino,
la verza si mise a provar gonne,
l’origano a profumare il mondo,
e il dolce carciofo lì nell’orto vestito da guerriero,
brunito come bomba a mano,
orgoglioso,
e un bel giorno,
a ranghi serrati,
in grandi canestri di vimini,
marciò verso il mercato a realizzare il suo sogno:
la milizia.
Nei filari mai fu così marziale come al mercato,
gli uomini in mezzo ai legumi coi bianchi spolverini erano i generali dei carciofi,
file compatte,
voci di comando e la detonazione di una cassetta che cade,
ma allora arriva Maria col suo paniere,
sceglie un carciofo,
non lo teme,
lo esamina,
l’osserva contro luce come se fosse un uovo,
lo compra,
lo confonde nella sua borsa con un paio di scarpe,
con un cavolo e una bottiglia di aceto finché,
entrando in cucina,
lo tuffa nella pentola.
Così finisce in pace la carriera del vegetale armato che si chiama carciofo,
poi squama per squama spogliamo la delizia e mangiamo la pacifica pasta
del suo cuore verde.

More '5 things' articles

Sampolo 246 - Cultori del Gusto
pasta feudo Mondello

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Vini Cassarà - Kilim
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Feudo Mondello
Vini Cassarà - Sicilian Mastery

Reference.guru

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