You will also see the stall holders peeling all the green outer leaves/petals and popping the creamy hearts into a plastic bag of lemony water. While making the eating of the vegetable much easier it is such a shame to waste these cast-offs. My favourite way to eat an artichoke is to cut off the stalk at the base and boil the globe in salted water until a petal will come out if gently pulled. Drain and allow to cool until you can handle easily. Prise open the centre with your fingers until you come to the translucent petals, then pull these out as one and you will see the inedible choke - using the edge of a teaspoon, gently scrape this away from the heart underneath - it sounds complicated but after a few attempts you will be an expert.
Make your favourite salad dressing - mine is a good olive oil with balsamic vinegar and a dollop of grainy mustard and quite a bit of sea salt - then pour into the centre of the artichoke. The best bit is pulling the base of each leaf through your teeth to get the soft flesh at the base. When all the leaves are finished, take a fork and a slice of crusty bread to the heart. In Spring this is my supper at least once a week.
Full of antioxidants, fibre and vitamin C, you'll be doing your health a favour, and as artichokes contain silymarin and cynarin which are liver cleansers, I don't feel guilty about the glass of red which accompanies this frugal meal.