The Globe Artichoke is such a modern-looking plant yet it is in reality one of the oldest inhabitants of the herb garden. Its name is derived from the Arabic "Alkharshuf," and as it is one of the oldest cultivated "herbs" in the world, it should find a place in every herb garden, however tiny. Some herbalists call it the thistle of the garden, and Dethicke tells us that "it grew wild in the fields, and came by diligence to be carefully bestowed in the garden, where through travail brought from his wildness to serve unto the use of the mouth." Some of the old instructions for the growing of artichokes are very delightful. "See that the mice haunt not the roots," says one, "for once allured of the pleasant taste of them, they very often resort in great number from far places to the marvellous spoil of the roots" Moles also, it seems, are deadly enemies, and to keep them away you must either "bring uppe and learne a young Catte, or tame a weesell to hunt daily in those places." According to the Neapolitan Rutilius, if the seeds are sown the wrong way down the artichokes will grow crooked, weak and very small. If you desire to grow the heads without prickles you are instructed either to break the sharp ends of the seeds or else to put each seed in a lettuce root with the rind pared off before planting it. To ensure a pleasant flavour the seeds must be soaked in rose or lily water, or the juice of bay leaves mixed with sweet almonds, or new milk and honey, or aromatised wine, and in whatever pleasant liquor the seeds have been steeped the artichokes when ripe will have the flavour of it. Formerly, even the leaves were considered a delicacy, and they were carefully blanched in the late summer. Our English artichokes were so highly esteemed in Tudor days that the plants were exported to Italy, France, and the Low Countries.


Cut off the Stalkes of your Artichokes within two inches of the Apple; and of all the rest of the Stalkes make a strong decoction, slicing them into thinne and small peeces, and keepe them in this decoction You must lay them first in warme water, and then in colde, to take away the bitternesse of them. This of Mr. Parsons, that honest and painefull Practicer in his profession.
In a mild and warme winter, about a month or three weeks before Christmas, I caused great store of Artichokes to be gathered with their stalkes in their full length as they grew: and, making first a good thick Lay of Artichoke leaves in the bottome of a great and large vessel, I placed my Artichokes one upon another, as close as I could couch them, covering them over, of a pretty thicknesse with Artichoke leaves: those Artichokes were served at my Table all the Lent after, the apples being red and sound, only the tops of the leaves a little faded.
Sir Hugh Platt, Delights for Ladies, 1594.


First let your artichokes be boyled, then take out the core and take off all the leaves, cut the bottome into quarters splitting them in the middle. Provide a flat stewing pan or dish wherein put thin Manchet tostes, and lay the artichoke on them, the Marrows of two Bones, five or six large blades of mace, halfe pound of preserved plums, with their syrup and sugar (if the syrup
doe not make them sweet enough). Let all these stew together. If you stew them in a dish, serve them in it, not stirring them only, lay on some preserves which are fresh,
as Barberries or suchlike. Sippet it and serve it up. Instead of Preserves you may stew ordinary Plummes which will be cheaper if you have no old Preserves.
From The Receipt Book of Joseph Cooper, Cook to Charles I, 1654.


Boyl and sever all from the Bottoms, and slice them in the midst and quarter it, dip them in Batter and fry them in Butter, for the Sauce take Butter and Sugar with the juice of an orange. Dish your Artichokes with this sauce (being fried brown) and lay boyl'd marrow of bones on them. Garnish it with Orange and serve up.


Take your artichokes, boil them and take out the Leaves and the Core, and trim the Bottoms.
Cut some in quarters and some whole. To eight Bottoms take the Marrows of four good bones taken out as whole as you can. Toss these in the Yolks of eggs, and season them with Salt, Sugar, Ginger, Cinnamon and Nutmeg. Raise a Pie. Lay in your Bottoms, put Marrow between and your quarters uppermost, lay marrow with them. Put on them the Yolks of eight hard eggs. Lay over them Citron and Dates. Put over Butter, and close it and Bake.


Take Artichoke bottoms boiled (or potatoes boiled), and beat them in a Mortar with good marrow from bones, seasoned with Salt, Nutmeg, Ginger, Cinnamon and Sugar, Orange-flower water or Rosewater, some grated citron; work up with Naples bisket grated, and the Yolks of Eggs, and put it in sweet paste, and either bake it or fry it. Another way is with the yolks of hard eggs minced, and add to them half as much almonds, finely beaten as eggs, season with the same as before, and work it up with bisket, thick butter, and the yolks of eggs, and put in some plump currants, and either bake them or fry them in butter.


Take young artichokes or suckers, and pare off all the outside as you pare Apples, and boyl them tender, then take them up and slit them thorow the midst, but do not take out the coare, but lay the split side downeward on a dry cloth to draine out the water. Then mix a little Flower, two or three yolks of eggs, beaten Ginger, Nutmeg, Vinegar and Salt, to the thickness of a batter and roule them well in it. Then get a frying-pan with Butter pretty hot, and fry them in it till they be brown; for the Sauce make a Lear with yolks of eggs, white wine, cinnamon, ginger, sugar, with a great piece of butter, keeping it with stirring on the fire till it be thick. Then dish them on white Bread-Tostes with the Caudle on them, and serve them up. Ibid.


The Bottoms of artichokes with Marrow and dates with a handful of herbs and baked in a pie. John Evelyn, Acetaria, 1699.


Broil them and as the scaley leaves open, baste them with sweet and fresh oyl, but with
care extraordinary, for if a drop fall upon the coals all is marr'd : that hazard escaped, eat them with the juice of Orange and Sugar.


The way of preserving them fresh all winter is by separating the Bottoms from the Leaves and after Parboiling, allowing to every Bottom a small earthern glazed Pot; burying it all over in fresh melted Butter as they do Wild Fowl, etc. Or if more than one in a
larger Pot in the same Bed and Covering Layer upon Layer. They are also preserved by stringing them on Pack thread, and clean Paper being put between every Bottom to hinder them from touching one another, and so hung up in a dry place.


Take the middling sort of Artichokes, pare them, and take off the Choke; put them into a Stew-pan, seasoned with Pepper, Salt, Garlic cut small, some Truffles, Mushrooms, green Onions, and Parsley ; put it all to your Artichokes, add a Glass of Water with a Glass of Oil, and let them stew; being done, dish them up with their Liquor and Lemon-juice.
From The Receipt Book of Vincent La Chapelle, Chief Cook to The Prince of Orange, 1744.


Take the middling sort of Artichokes, pare and boil them, till you can easily take off the Chokes, and cut small Parsley with a few green Onions and Mushrooms; put them in a Stew-pan over the Fire, with half a Glass of good Oil, Pepper, Salt, and sweet Herbs; put in a Baking-pan some Slices of Bacon, place over these your Artichokes, put into every Artichoke Mushrooms and green Onions, cover these with Slices of Bacon, and put them into the Oven ; being done, take them out to drain, and dish them up. At another time, serve them up with a White Sauce.

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