Do you sit down to have dinner with your family on a regular basis?  It seems that this practice is becoming more and more difficult with demanding schedules for children and parents.  When you do have the opportunity to sit down as a family for dinner it should be enjoyable and engaging for everyone at the table.


That said, sometimes just getting everyone to sit still, enjoy the meal and have a conversation can be a challenge!


Enter the artichoke….


Artichokes are a great vegetable for so many reasons.  Not only are they beautiful (and there is a lot to be said for aesthetics when it comes to food!), but they are loaded with nutrients, may lower cholesterol, may help lower blood sugar and may help the digestive system, among other health benefits [1].


They are also easy to prepare (although a little time consuming!).  Our favorite simple, sustainable & fun preparation is to steam them in some water with minced garlic for approximately 45 minutes (until tender) and serve whole, right at the table!  Dipping sauces for the tender leaves can include butter (we prefer Kerrygold), aiolis or whatever your favorite sauce may be!


artichoke cooked
We like to serve artichokes steamed and dip the leaves in butter or an aioli. What’s your favorite way to eat them?


But the BEST part about serving artichokesthey take a long time to eat and lead to dynamic conversations around the dinner table!  At a time where  life is always moving too quickly and we are easily distracted by beeps, vibrations and dings, eating an artichoke allows time to stand still.  As you pull each leaf from the choke and scrape it’s delicious bits with your teeth, you will have time to share your days, laugh about silly moments and ponder which sauce goes best with the delicious leaves.


And don’t discount the power of the “discard bowl”.  There is something to be said for the fun that comes from chucking the scraped leaves into the discard bowl in the middle of the table.  It’s the fine line between playing with your food and keeping it fun!


After taking the time to consume all the beautiful leaves, the best part comes last.  Finding the artichoke’s hidden treasure…it’s crown (or heart)!  You have to cut around carefully to find this magnificent spot, leading to more conversation and big eyes wanting to eat the fleshy middle.  Once found, cut the crown into shareable pieces and each family member will feel a sense of unity as they eat the final bites.


Not only are you left with a delectable taste in your mouth, you are filled with love for your family after sharing this elegant plant and partaking in memorable conversations while time seemed to stand still.  Tell us…what’s your favorite way to eat an artichoke?