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the first time i ever had it in a restaurant i had to be told what to do with it.
He just went right on in there and wolfed down the spikes.
someone i was with told me. the guy just plonked it down. i would have eaten the outside bits.
yet I've never been presented with a whole fresh artichoke before, and I can't say that I would've known that the leaves are not meant to be eaten.
Having said that, if I tried one spine and it was hard/chewy as all fuck, I'd stop there and try to find some part of it that seemed more amenable to being swallowed.
but at uni I had a mate from the valleys who had seriously never been to a "proper" restaurant before. He started seeing this girl and he decided to take her to a restaurant in town, where, apparently, he was so nervous he ordered the rack of lamb ribs and proceeded to eat the entire thing, bones and all, in the mistaken belief that was the done thing. I only heard this story from another friend behind his back, and when I finally asked him about it he denied it, but he was certainly very ill the next day.