Dear Miss Manners:

What is the most efficient way of eating artichokes?

Gentle Reader:

For those who want to eat efficiently, God made the banana, complete with its own color-coordinated carrying case. The artichoke is a miracle of sensuality, and one should try to prolong such treats rather than dispatch them speedily.

An important part of sensuality is contrast. First pull off a leaf with a cruel, quick flick of the wrist, dip it in the sauce and then slowly and lovingly pull the leaf through the teeth, with the chin tilted heavenward and the eyes half closed in ecstasy. If the sauce drips, a long tongue, if you have one, may be sent down to get it. When the leaves are gone, the true subtlety of the artichoke reveals itself: a tender heart, covered with nasty bristles. To contrast with the fingering, there should be a sudden switch to cool formality. The fuzzy choke should be removed with dignified precision and a knife and fork, so that the heart may then be consumed in ceremonial pleasure.

Judith Martin, Miss Manners’ Guide to Excruciatingly Correct Behavior
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