Zen and the art of cleaning artichokes

Joined Feb 11, 2002
So, having just cleaned a case of new spring artichokes,
I realize there are certain tasks which give me great pleasure in the kitchen.

Kneeding and forming bread loaves is one of them.

Cleaning artichokes is my favorite. The tactile, methodical process of trimming, peeling and scraping becomes a meditation, allowing my mind to wander to other areas that need work, paring things down to the essence...

I solve a lot of problems cleaning artichokes!

Roasting and peeling peppers is also extremely soothing to me.

What gets you off ?:D
Joined Nov 29, 2001
When I was married the 2nd time, I was known to peel and brunoise an entire bag of carrots. Somehow, making those tiny dice required all the concentration it would have required to brunoise my ex husband.

Now, in happier times, making Christmas cookies brings me great joy. Looking at all those decorative morsels does something for me.

The "kneading of bread" thing is also extremely true. Good for the soul.
Joined Aug 11, 2000
One of my dearest friends used to bake bread when stressed out....there were periods of her life that she was baking bread ALL day long. For me bread makes me slow down.....not that I'm not at a temperate pace all the time.
Picking blueberries or strawberries and making jam.....there is nothing like intensely flavored jam with a hint of citrus and a pinch of cinnamon.
Finding chanterelles is another Zen thing for me.....reason to get up at 5am and hunt through spider webs and stickers.....There are ALWAYS different things to see in the woods..It is like an easter egg hunt for adults where if you find them you'll find a bunch and they are glorious.
Joined May 6, 2001
Bread kneading, shaping, baking, eating.:bounce:

Making little one serving pizzas, Making the dough nice and thin, putting just the right amount of whatever I want on it, successfully getting it off the peel and onto the stone.

Making pasta from scratch-rolling thru the hand crank machine, cutting shapes.

Anything with phylo dough.


Segmenting oranges.
Joined May 26, 2001
Any kind of cooking -- I know I'm in really bad shape when I don't want to make anything, not even tuna salad.

MonkeyMay: thanks for the thread, your post especially. I've always hated turning artichokes, so your view is a welcome revelation!
Joined Jul 24, 2001
Funny monkeyman I was thinking exactly the same thing this morning.

I am with you on that.

i will tell you something funny. It's very common in Greece when you are a physician or a lawyer or a teacher people that are your clients to bring you goodies from their village to thank you.

This happnes because its rare to be paid by your own people, the people that come from the same village, I mean.That's why they bring you things.

In Mani we have artichokes and wild artichokes that they are very yummy :)

One lady was bringing me every spring artichokes but they were peeled and cleaned. What a dissapointment!!!

So last year when she called me to announce me her arrival to Athens I found the courage to ask her to bring them unpealled because I love doing this job :lol:

She couldn't believe me:)

Needless to say that bread making has saved me from other kinds of therapy many times :)
Joined Feb 11, 2002
Thanks for all your wonderful responses - it's nice to know I'm not the only nut out there :D

Athenaeus - How lucky you must be to get wild artichokes! - the closest I get to that is when I drive through the central coast of California and stop at local artichoke farms along the highway. I usually pick up a case along with fresh green garlic and go home and have a feast!
Spring is so close here - I just braised some lamb shanks and served them with a ragout of the artichokes, tiny purple potatoes, baby fennel, new red spring onions (unbelievebly beautiful!) and garlic.
Needless to say I have been a happy girl...

Oh yeah - I also enjoy cleaning and shelling fava beans ( wrong, huh?)
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