Compote 790 xxx
photos by gluttonforlife

4.5.12 All Choked Up

I grew up in a family obsessed with language. To this day, try as I might, I sometimes cannot stop myself from correcting someone's grammar or droning on about semantics. I still remember the day it dawned on me that the word breakfast was derived from the act of breaking the fast. Another interesting tidbit that has stuck with me is something my father taught me: all the Spanish words that start with "al" are of Arabic derivation. "Alambre" means wire, a material used by the Moors in their ornate filigree; "Alhambra" is, of course, their castle in Andalucía; and "alcachofa" means artichoke, cultivated by the Moors as early as 800 AD in the countryside around Granada. I grew up in California near the epicenter of artichoke production and have been eating these delicious thistles my whole life. I recently shared a plate of them "alla Romana" with G at Boulud Sud, where they were fried to a greaseless crunch and accompanied by a lemony aïoli—perfection! I also adore the big globe artichokes, steamed and doused in lemon. I love to scrape each leaf with my teeth, savoring the green mineral flavor, until I've worked my way to the heart in all its creamy glory.
Tagged — Paula Wolfert