Not dropping my knickers whilst shopping….


I like to feel that I eat seasonally  but, to be honest, I’m not sure what that means. My knowledge of the arrival and departure dates of fruits and vegetables is, at best, rudimentary and at worst, notional which failing I blame on memory and shops conspiring to confuse a tired old mind by stocking the fruits of all seasons in all seasons; so, on seeing a box of small and perfectly formed purple artichokes in the shop I assumed that the season for such artichokes must be upon us. Sticking to my seasonal ethic, I bought one. I should have bought more but that only became clear later. The one that I bought, destined to be but a photographic model, did not figure on the clearly defined shopping list in my hand,  so to purchase more would have stretched the thin elastic of our budget to the point where my financial knickers would have been around my ankles, which look I have never considered to be a crowd pleaser.


On the other hand, the purple artichoke is very much of a crowd pleaser. Her good looks are self evident, but her beauty extends far deeper than her skin. The more attention you pay to her in preparation, the more she reveals. What I was looking for in this beauty was more than good looks: I was looking for heart.Elizabeth David  speaks of a famous salad of artichoke hearts and foie gras and her trepidation at the thought of such a rich salad being served as a palate cleanser after a mighty dinner at La Mere Brazier.


As luck would have it, or as very fine judgement in the kitchen would have it, this was not the case. The dish that came to the table was the simplest salad of a single, warm artichoke heart, on a bed of green leaves, dressed with some olive oil, lemon juice and sea salt. Very pretty and pretty wonderful as I found out for myself, in humbler surroundings, yesterday.


About Food,Photography & France

Photographer and film maker living in France. After a long career in London, my wife and I have settled in the Vendee, where we run residential digital photography courses with a strong gastronomic flavour.
This entry was posted in 2015, Art photography, artichokes, Cookery Writers, Cooking, Cuisine bourgeoise, Digital photography, Elizabeth David, Excellence, Foie Gras, food, Food and Photography, Food photographer, France, Good luck, Humour, Luck, Memory, Olive oil, Photographic Prints, Photography, photography course, sea salt, Shopping, Uncategorized, Vegetables, Writing and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Not dropping my knickers whilst shopping….

  1. Mad Dog says:

    That can be very embarrassing when cross dressing!
    I wish artichokes were more popular in England – I’ve never seen them in my local farmers’ market. However, it does make them a special treat when I’m in France or Spain. Great pictures 😉

  2. glamorous glutton says:

    Beautiful photographs, I love globe artichokes, each leaf dipped in wonderful vinaigrette befor being rewarded by the creaminess of the heart. GG

  3. suej says:

    I love your one-liners! Gets us to read the post, too!! Anyway, I love the thought of a good artichoke heart, a thing rarely eaten by me, disappointment has been the usual outcome….

  4. Vicki says:

    Makes for a great Photo subject anyway, Roger.

    I’ve bought marinated artichoke hearts from my favourite market deli at Christmas, but never been adventurous enough to try cooking them myself.

    I remember my Mother buying them about 45 years ago, but we didn’t have the slightest clue how to cook or eat them properly. Back in those days many families had lamb chops, mashed potato carrots and peas for dinner. My Mother and I had a love/hate/frustration relationship, but I have to say I’m immensely grateful for the experimentation into more Mediterranean type vegetables (which ordinary folk had never heard of).

    (BTW And I’m even more grateful for the wide variety of restaurants we frequented after my Mother got a job and we become a 2 income family in the late 1960s. All our family love eating good food properly cooked to this day). Even my 88 yr old Father makes a proper lunch and cooks a proper dinner since my Mother passed away 3 years ago.

    • I very much like bottled artichokes as well…delicious antipasto. However, cooked artichoke hearts are a different thing all together…when you get them right, it’s worth the trouble:)

      • Vicki says:

        Can I ask what they taste like when freshly cooked? Can you liken them to any other vegetable?

      • It has a very individual taste…there’s a definite metallic after taste that can spoil the taste of red wine ( it’s quite hard to pair with a wine but I like them Moroccan rose wine, such as Boulouane).There’s a similarity to avocado in texture and the taste brings to mind salsify as well. Don’t use a too powerful dressing as the taste will be lost immediately. Funnily enough the taste also reminds me of good new potatoes. You’re probably not much the wiser after that rambling text:)

      • Vicki says:

        Yes, I am wiser, Roger. Thnx for the description. As a qualified Aromatherapist, I’m used to equating odours with fruit, resin, wood etc so I can equate a food as being metallic. I’ve never tried salsify though.
        …..ok… potatoes. I assume we’re talking about Organic new potatoes which actually have a taste – LOL.

  5. Sometimes simple is best – I dare say I would choose your artichoke hearts over artichokes with foie gras.

  6. Angeline M says:

    There are fields and fields of artichokes in nearby Monterey, California in the Salinas Valley. The abundance is phenomenal and heavenly. Now, I must learn to cook one properly to obtain a heart such as yours.

  7. Yummy. I ate artichokes twice in Paris. Perfection both times. I also have a picture to send you. 🙂

  8. An artichoke has never looked so beautiful. What a pleasant surprise today. Thank you.

  9. Gerlinde says:

    Artichokes are grown on our coast here in California and they are still being sold at the farmer’s markets . I love to eat them with a good reduced balsamic vinegar . Your photos are stunning.

  10. Eha says:

    Love, love, love artichokes: their arrival at the markets means spring has sprung! Actually never mind about the heart – I love cutting the top third off, then trimming the sharp leaf tips of the rest and cooking the gorgeous big ball in acidulated water: hard to wait the 35 minutes or so until I can make a big mess of spent leaves on the table dipping each in a favourite sauce and letting my teeth do some delicious scraping! Always sorry when I get down to the choke and the heart 🙂 !

    • We get these great big green Artichauts Camus from Brittany that have wonderfully succulent leaf base…perfect for that style of artichoke eating. For me there is no question that the heart produces a wonderful salad and should you be in Lyon, try the foie gras with artichoke hearts ( as an entree) at La Mere Brazier.

      • Eha says:

        And now you have me daydreaming about how to get back to France, cause love Lyons and you have mentioned La Mere Brazier once or twice before 🙂 ! Oh, think of you at least once a week when ‘My Little Paris Kitchen’ screens: remember you had good words for Rachel Khoo!!! She makes it so simple . . . and you guys would definitely say sexy!!!

      • I’m a real admirer of Rachel Khoo…:)

  11. Roger, some of your “photographic models” have through your lens such an sensual appearance, even they are only vegetables. I guess it is the natural light source you use from your kitchen window. Artichokes are indeed very popular here in California, usually their season is around the times when strawberries are ripening up, and you can see huge fields filled of artichokes, it has a beautiful blossom as well. Talking about seasonal food, my sense of cooking and desire of nutrition works just fine with what is really in season. But since we get used to see cherries at winter time in super markets it just messes up with our seasonal instinct as I call it.

  12. fransiweinstein says:

    Absolutely nothing wrong with “simple.”

  13. Gorgeous moody shots Roger! Thanks too for the light relief in the midsts of packing hell!

  14. Fantastic photographs as always and of a naturally lovely subject…the beautiful artichoke. Just beautiful.

  15. I loved your mention of the list! But what dire consequences. Ummm…what market is that, again? *evil grin.* But what lovely shots, and I’d rather have one perfect heart than a dozen made with less care.

    I think artichokes taste like sunflower seeds.

  16. Beautiful shots Roger and reading the comments makes me realise how much I take artichokes for granted in Spain. Many of Big Man’s extended family grow them commercially (no nasties used though) and I often get to the point of “please, don’t bring me any more artichokes”. Am ashamed of myself now realising how lucky I am! Loved the way you described the flavour of them – very hard to do.

  17. milktherapy says:

    Great blog and as I see I’m ur 1000 Follower 😉

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