May 25, 2019

"I know a guy — he collects unemployment even though he’s employed — who just had his teeth veneered bright white, with ceramic laminates."

"I ran into him recently, and he dropped to his knees to coo over how my puppy has grown. As he went to kiss her freckled nose, he flashed his crocodile smile. That same week, I heard from another guy — last I knew, he was a real mess, drove his marriage off a cliff, with his kids in the back seat — letting me know he’s now a life coach and focus counselor. He wants to help me live my best life and was offering me a 20 percent discount."

I just think it's funny that those are the first 5 sentences of an article about artichokes — "Don’t Fear the Artichoke. Cook It Whole."

Vegetables have gotten so meaningful lately. There was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez politicizing cauliflower and yearning for "yucca" (presumably yuca).

By the way, for a meaningful dose of artichokes, you might want to see the revival of the Sam Shepard play "Curse of the Starving Class," which is off Broadway until June 2. They throw a lot of artichokes around in that play. I literally got hit by artichokes, sitting in the front row in 1978. I can't remember what the artichokes meant, but they were important. I remember getting hit and I remember the line "So that's what artichokes smell like" but I don't remember what they were supposed to mean, though of course they had to mean something, since everything in a play means something.

The artichoke is the most fearsome vegetable. All those points, and if one sticks you, it might still hurt the next day, as if those stickers are venomous.

I was going to punch up this post with other vegetables in pop culture (other than those artichokes in "Starving Class"), but it was hard to Google. I thought I had something in "Eating Your Cultural Vegetables," a 2011 NYT article, but it's about watching movies and TV shows that are supposed to be good for you (i.e., metaphorical vegetables).
In college, a friend demanded to know what kind of idiot I was that I hadn’t yet watched Tarkovsky’s “Solaris.” “It’s so boring,” he said with evident awe. “You have to watch it, but you won’t get it.”...

A friend messages me: “Oh, you have to see ‘Mildred Pierce,’ ” and she’s right: I do have to.... But that doesn’t mean that, as Kate Winslet bakes yet another pie, I won’t sometimes wonder if those five hours might be more profitably spent aspiring in a different direction: exercising, maybe, or reading a book or just watching 10 episodes of the hilarious (and not at all contemplative) cartoon “Bob’s Burgers.”...
Yes, why watch something long if you prefer reading or exercising, both of which are at least as good for you as some aspirational film or TV series? Lately, the only TV I watch is "Jeopardy!" Do you think James Holzhauer has had his teeth veneered with bright white ceramic laminates?

47 comments:

Scott Gustafson said...

"The artichoke is the most fearsome vegetable."

Makes for an interesting college mascot.
http://www.gochokes.com/

Gahrie said...

The only TV I've watched since the 2018 Superbowl has been Game of Thrones.

gilbar said...

thanx for explaining what AOC meant by yucca!
I didn't realize that she was just (trying to be) telling people to make tapioca !

David Begley said...

The guy nearly lost the other day.

What is “Take the A train.”

Shouting Thomas said...

And then there's The Heart of the Artichoke by Herbert Gold, a standard short story in the Rhetoric 101 textbook in the 60s.

A story about a son struggling to tell his immigrant father that he doesn't want to inherit the small grocery store his father built. The son wants to be a writer!

This story has undoubtedly fallen out of favor because it reveals how close most Americans of European descent are to being poor immigrants themselves.

Fernandistein said...

Vegetables have gotten so meaningful lately. There was Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez politicizing cauliflower and yearning for "yucca" (presumably yuca).

That wasn't meaningful, that was just a silly politician incomprehensibly rambling about nonsense.

Mr. Forward said...

Speak softly in the garden
Because the corn has ears
And every little onion
Is capable of tears

Big Mike said...

After seeing Joan Crawford I don’t know why I’d want to see Kate Winslett.

AndyN said...

Maybe I'm making an unfair assumption here, but when I heard about the clip from AOC I assumed she was referring to community gardens in an area like the one she was walking through, or the one she nominally represents, or the one where she grew up. She's promoting community gardening as part of a counter to AGW, but when I google yuca, this is the first sentence of the first result...

"Growing cassava yuca successfully relies upon tropical climates and at least eight months of warm weather."

People don't think growing yuca in their community garden in NY is hard because they're viewing their garden through the lens of colonialism, they think it's hard because we haven't had enough global warming.

Tank said...

My name is artichoke, I'm just a joke.

Firesign Theatre.

traditionalguy said...

IMO artichokes are #1 for the most work for the least food and they don't even taste good. That said the artichoke capital of the world is Salinas Valley( Monterrey County, Ca.) where the best other vegetables on earth are abundant too. I bet when the Open opens at Pebble Beach on June 10th the crowd will not be eating artichokes.

Bob Boyd said...

Deplorable Self-help Tip Of The Day:
If you don't have the money to get your teeth professionally whitened, you can let a puppy lick them clean. Its not as good, but its better than neglecting them and the savings are significant.

Birches said...

I too was confused about the yucca thing. I kind of figured AOC meant the Nopales cactus, since people actually eat that. But I doubt it could grow in NY.

Howard said...

Get Artichokes **Fire Roasted** marinated, charbroiled and served with Aioli Sauce $9.95 @ Phil's Fish Market in Moss Landing. They are grown next door in Castroville, the artichoke capital of the world.

buwaya said...

Solaris is indeed extremely boring.
And there is no point to it. Tarkovsky was just messing with us all.
A practical joke still collecting victims after almost 50 years.

Lems novel isnt much different. This was at one time being regularly assigned reading to college Science Fiction courses, when that was a thing in the late 70's-90's or so.
I guess the lit departments of the day wanted something in there that seemed like proper literature through its impenetrable qualities and lack of entertainment value.

khematite said...

"if an artichoke appears in Act 1, you may be certain that it will be thrown at someone in Act 3."

Two-eyed Jack said...



Call any vegetable
Call it by name
Call one today
When you get off the train
Call any vegetable
And the chances are good
Ooooh! The vegetable
Will respond to you

--F. X. Zappa

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kUTiZvPYGr8

William said...

With enough butter and garlic, broccoli tastes pretty good. Broccoli gets a bad rap, but it's not such a bad vegatable. Of course, as veggies go, nothing can replace the incomparable French fried potato with its many life enhancing properties. Potato chips are good too, but they don't offer the nutritional boost of ketchup.

rcocean said...

Artichokes are pretty good if you dip them in melted butter. But then what doesn't?

rcocean said...

Victorian vegetable. Soviet Vegetables. Nazi Vegetables. Discuss. Compare and contrast.

BTW, is the Soybean a vegetable? Discuss.

Ann Althouse said...

Can anyone think of any famous vegetables? I mean individual items that for some reason played an important role in history or in a significant work of fiction?

All I can think of is the carrot (radish?) that Scarlett O'Hara eats in "Gone with the Wind" that makes her throw up and then declare "I'll never be hungry again."

hawkeyedjb said...

Broccoli,
Though not exoccoli,
Is within an inach
Of being spinach

-Ogden Nash

Gahrie said...

How about a cucumber?

Eric 'Otter' Stratton: My cucumber. It's bigger. I think vegetables can be very sensuous, don't you?
Marion Wormer: No, vegetables are sensual. People are sensuous.
Eric 'Otter' Stratton: Right. Sensual. That's what I meant. My name's Eric Stratton. People call me Otter.
Marion Wormer: My name's Marion. People call me Mrs. Wormer.
Eric 'Otter' Stratton: Oh, we have a Dean Wormer at Faber.
Marion Wormer: How interesting. I have a husband named Dean Wormer at Faber. Still want to show me your cucumber?

rcocean said...

"Gone with the Wind" that makes her throw up and then declare "I'll never be hungry again."

Its a radish. And not even a radish that's eatable. Or maybe it was a turnip. Why she didn't put some food in the buggy is anyone's guess. Poor Scarlet, a beautiful vixen, but a bad planner.

Isn't this where someone's supposed to say "Sopranos and onion rings".

Leslie Graves said...

I am wondering if this sentence: "I was going to punch up this post..."

is a deliberate allusion to the nearly inevitable sentence in how to feed healthy meals to your kids that goes like this:

"You can punch up the nutritional value of [muffins] by adding [chopped spinach] and they won't even know they are eating [spinach]."

Or the many sentences involving vegetables that say things such as how you can punch up the flavor quotient of [a particular vegetable] by adding [an exotic ingredient].

Michael Fitzgerald said...

Mildred Pierce...Kate Winslet? ... Nope.

khematite said...

Fear the eggplant!

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=b-Lc0Lra9cI
Dr. West's Medicine Show & Junk Band [aka Norman Greenbaum] - The Eggplant That Ate Chicago

And then there's Roald Dahl's 1949 New Yorker story "The Sound Machine," in which it turns out that trees, plants, flowers, and vegetables are all sentient and scream silently whenever they're cut into.

Bob Boyd said...

Can anyone think of any famous vegetables?

Mr. Potato Head

Christy said...

Ever seen VeggieTales? It's a cartoon for teaching kids Christian values. I don't know if they are still popular, but my nephews of AOC age watched them a lot.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

do spices count? lots of wars over spices.

pro tip: a thin slice of garlic between each petal of the artichoke before cooking, and this is no joke re: the garlic/vaj post

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Zazie Beetz !!played Domino in 'Deadpool'

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

Arthur !!

what about legumes? Milagro Beanfield Wars,
G.W. Carver, Jimmah Carter and Charles Schultz did peanuts.

is 'vegetable' a scientific term or do certain plants have privilege?

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Ann Althouse said...

"Its a radish."

I believe it's specifically a radish in the book, but looking at the film clip, I thought it seemed more like a carrot. But then... why not a parsnip?

FullMoon said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yancey Ward said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Yancey Ward said...

so much depends
upon

a red
beet

glazed with
butter

beside the white
asparagus

Tyrone Slothrop said...

Tank said...
My name is artichoke, I'm just a joke.


And technical stimulation.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...


"Fruit" has a precise botanical meaning, being a part that developed from the ovary of a flowering plant. This is considerably different from the word's culinary meaning. While peaches, plums, and oranges are "fruit" in both senses, many items commonly called "vegetables", such as eggplants, bell peppers, and tomatoes, are botanically fruits. The question of whether the tomato is a fruit or a vegetable found its way into the United States Supreme Court in 1893.
'Vegetable' is a culinary term. Its definition has no scientific value and is somewhat arbitrary and subjective. All parts of herbaceous plants eaten as food by humans, whole or in part, are generally considered vegetables.

pacwest said...

One can become too familiar with vegetables you know.

Yancey Ward said...

"Doc, I slipped and fell on that cucumber. Swear to God!"

MadisonMan said...

I had turnips sauteed in butter tonight. Baby turnips are my favorite vegetable of spring.

ndspinelli said...

Jeopardy guy should be in the Asperger's Are Us troupe.

Leora said...

I make a habit of shopping at antique malls and junk stores. I recently noticed a lot of artichoke decor = mostly artichokes on pedestals. I have seen pineapples for year, but this is the first year I saw artichokes. I don't know what it means.

Ingachuck'stoothlessARM said...

@Leora

Pineapples were a symbol of welcome.
Artichokes meant 'Get lost!', especially if your name was 'Artie'

Pianoman said...

We had artichokes when I was growing up. Mom boiled them whole, and we ate them with drawn butter. Lots of work though.

Ty said...

This YouTube video precedes James breaking the 2 million dollar mark on Friday, but it does a good job explaining his strategy and accomplishments.