For the record: how to eat an artichoke
November 18th, 2010
09:45 AM ET
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Miami doctor Arturo Carvajal is suing the Houston's Restaurant chain for allowing him to eat an entire grilled artichoke, not warning him that parts of the vegetable aren't safely digestible or offering any instruction as to how to consume it.

According to the suit filed on October 25th, Mr. Carvajal began "experiencing severe abdominal pain and discomfort," and at a local hospital, an exploratory laparotomy revealed that "artichoke leaves were found lodged within Plaintiff's small bowell [sic]."

Here's how to keep that from happening to you.

Whole artichokes are often served with dish of melted butter or lemon juice. Pick off the leaves (they should separate easily from the center stem), dip them into the bowl, and scrape the soft flesh with your incisors. Keep a second bowl handy for the discarded, inedible parts of the leaves.

Once you've gotten down to the center of the artichoke, use a spoon to scrape out the inedible fuzzy part called the "choke" to find the heart. Cut this into pieces, dipping them as you did the leaves, or eat it plain.

The chain's VP and general counsel Glenn Viers told Crain's Business Insurance, "What's next? Are we going to have to post warnings on our menu they shouldn't eat the bones in our barbeque ribs?" and noted that they're going to defend themselves, "vigorously."

Our rule of thumb - if part of a dish seems inedible, for goodness' sakes, don't keep trying to eat it. Really. Truly. Just trust us - and many, many, many centuries of natural selection.

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soundoff (58 Responses)
  1. Jdizzle McHammerpants ♫♫

    Wow. Story resurrected from the archives.

    July 30, 2013 at 4:30 pm |
  2. hermes factory outlet europe

    For the record: how to eat an artichoke – Eatocracy – Blogs iejmnuofgxx varlkntknmz hldorj ugmoxpqv zvphlkarotb vxmxkgkszp hermes factory outlet europe

    July 30, 2013 at 4:21 pm |
  3. rich

    my son has always loved corn. when he first ate whole boiled corn at the age of 3 or 4, nobody had to telll him not to eat the cob. i first ate an artichoke in my teens, and the way to eat it was was intuitive. i know they can't teach "common sense" in any school, even medical school, and how did this idiot get through it? i'll tell you: memorization without understang, for the most part. ihope this greedy quack loses all his patients when they see what a money-grubbing imbecile he is. wonder what he'd do with a pomegranite. i do, though, support the right to sue. if i were served improperly prepaired fugu (puffer fish) sushi or sashimi, i would damn sure want the right to retaliate in full, if i survived.

    January 26, 2011 at 6:40 pm |
  4. Ralph

    Note to the abysmally stupid. If you don't know how to do something, fess up and ask. If you don't, suffer the consequences.

    January 26, 2011 at 4:09 pm |
  5. Olesia

    I hope he peels a banana before eating one.

    December 28, 2010 at 11:44 pm |
  6. Olesia

    I love this article. Made me laugh. I would think that if a DOCTOR was not familiar with a vegetable, 1st he would ask the server about it, 2nd of all what Doctor does not know about an Artichoke? and 3rd of all, if the parts of the Artichoke were not going down smoothly, would you stop eating it, a common sense should tell you "Stop". I love Miami, anything goes. lol

    December 28, 2010 at 11:38 pm |
  7. Steven B. Drobnis, CLU, CPCU, LIA

    In my opinion when you are served a dish you are not familiar with it is the responsibility of the consumer to inquire as to the proper way to consume the dish. (ie) a lobster. You do not eat the brain as it contains a poison according to my mother who trained me as a child. Many restaurants tell you how to crack a lobster, but what parts to or not eat. They do not inform you not to eat the shell, same with clams or any shell fish.

    December 16, 2010 at 12:22 pm |
  8. Scorpionis

    Utterly absurd. I love artichokes and I can't imagine an instance save for outright starvation that would make me eat the entire thing deliberately. Natural selection at work, if you ask me. Chewy leaves with spikes on the ends are Mother Nature's way of saying "don't eat me!" And this man is a doctor?!

    December 1, 2010 at 9:11 am |
  9. kel

    This is amazing...I have noticed that often, when people attach m.d. to their names they stop asking questions and start making agonizingly embarrassing assumptions about the world around them. I notice this at work, where I feed their addictions in a legally sanctioned environment, earning slightly above minimum wage while they twitch and make sad attempts at culturally literate small talk. I hope his practice crumbles – who wants a doctor who can't ask a good question or who persists in a course of action that clearly isn't working? And, if you think I am being harsh, I recommend trying to eat an artichoke leaf yourself... just one... try it...

    November 20, 2010 at 2:33 pm |
  10. Jon

    I find this rediculous.... I know plenty of people that don't know how to eat them, but haven't once heard of someone eating them wrong. I don't even know how you could chew up the leaves to be honest. Once, after moving back to the states from germany, was so excited about having a garbage disposal put the artichoke leaves in there... needless to say I had to fish each and every one back out of the sink because the disposal couldn't even handle them... My plumber buddy would crap if I told him that story.

    November 19, 2010 at 3:40 pm |
  11. Mary Ann

    Shamefully, this is why I've never ordered artichoke as an appetizer – I didn't know how to eat it. Thanks for the tutorial!

    November 19, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  12. Jonathan

    assumption of the risk. plain and simple. It is not an abuse of the legal system as more inane cases have been brought before the court (and ruled on). This is a basis tort case where the defense will have to argue that the plaintiff should have known the inherent risks associated with eating an artichoke.

    November 19, 2010 at 9:34 am |
  13. sherry

    Isn't it funny that a doctor didn't know that? I hope he isn't actively treating any patients.

    November 19, 2010 at 8:28 am |
  14. elizabeth

    I prefer my fresh steamed whole artichiokes with herb infused garlic and lemon olive oil, like my Sicilian ex mother in law made it.

    November 19, 2010 at 12:29 am |
  15. AuroraDawn

    OMG....If that isn't one way to see Darwinism in action...I don't know what is. What a tool

    November 18, 2010 at 10:09 pm |
  16. GrammarGnatsie

    "...laparotomy ... bowell [sic]."

    Surgical procedures? I got that. Grade school anatomy? Crap... Gimme a minute...

    November 18, 2010 at 6:42 pm |
  17. ann

    I can just picture this guy at the restaurant – "Hmm, the soft part is really delicious but the leaves are kinda tough!"

    It's one thing to be so stupid that you continue choking down the inedible parts of your food until you get sick. It's another thing to have the gazoombas to actually admit your stupidity in public by suing about it!

    November 18, 2010 at 5:02 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      He probably worked for Lehman Brothers. Needs the cash.

      November 18, 2010 at 5:05 pm |
  18. Texas Pete

    I did not previously know how to eat an artichoke (I have only eaten the hearts before) but this guy is abusing the system suing like this. People like this need to be laughed out of court, and then heavily fined.

    November 18, 2010 at 4:55 pm |
  19. JenJen

    This reminds me of being an exchange student in Spain. I was presented with a piece of fruit (to this day I have no idea what it was) and I had to explain in my broken Spanish that I'd like to eat it, but I didn't know how. Twenty minutes later the host mom was cutting it up for me because she thought I was a spoiled American princess. Thank goodness a few hours later my host sister who spoke perfect English came home and was able to relay to the family that I just didn't know how to eat this fruit because I had never seen it before in my life. The family had a good laugh at the misunderstanding and the rest of the trip went well!

    November 18, 2010 at 4:18 pm |
  20. Snow

    I have an idea.... just don't eat them! :)

    November 18, 2010 at 4:07 pm |
  21. Erin

    The suit is stupid but I honestly had no idea how to eat an artichoke until I read this article. I've only ever eaten artichoke mixed into other dishes, I don't think I've even ever seen a whole artichoke in person before.

    November 18, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  22. Yepitsme

    The guy is an idiot. Why would anyone order something at a restaurant if they don't know how to consume it? Moron.
    No wonder our legal system is so screwed up . . . any lawyer with integrity should not take a case like this.

    November 18, 2010 at 3:22 pm |
  23. Farhibide

    Well look, I don't exactly live in a cave, but I wouldn't know how to eat a whole artichoke either. They're not readily available in my country bumpkin supermarket unless they're canned. But I wouldn't have ordered it if I didn't know how to eat it, so.....

    November 18, 2010 at 2:55 pm |
  24. ADW

    McHammerpants and richardhead and truth hardly ever let me down every day. keep up the good work you guys!! can't help but think you are all hot.

    November 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm |
    • RichardHead

      Is this Jdizzles Mom? We are taking good care of our brother from another mother.Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

      November 18, 2010 at 1:43 pm |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants

      I'll give you my best Conan O'Brien Dance. In the nude.

      November 18, 2010 at 4:38 pm |
  25. 4U Mister

    Can't stop laughing at the comments...

    November 18, 2010 at 12:38 pm |
  26. VJ

    SEROIUSLY! He want's to sue because he ordered something from a menu, having no idea how to eat it, didn't have enough sense to ask how it should be eaten? He may want to make a "note to self" – Don't order things that you don't know how to eat...and if you want to try something new, admit you don't know what you're doing and ask for help. In my opinion, he's trying to sue the restaurant for his own mistake...P.S. I've got to wonder how is the world did he do this? The leaves are hard to chew, let alone swallow...

    November 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm |
  27. todd

    Talk about natural selection! If you don't know how to eat an artichoke, ask the waitress.

    ALso, don't eat the bones off of a steak, don't eat the pit of a peach, don't eat the styrofoam container the eggs come in, don't eat animal droppings.

    And doctor? DOn't practice medicine anymore.

    November 18, 2010 at 12:08 pm |
  28. for the record

    really? sounds like the good doctor needs to wear a helmet in public and put a cork on his fork.

    November 18, 2010 at 12:01 pm |
    • Tony

      Why is there a cork on the fork?

      November 19, 2010 at 3:45 pm |
  29. Cole

    The guy ordered something he didn't know about and neglected to ask anyone about it when presented with the dish. Not the type that you want for a doctor or any high stakes profession. All he had to do was ASK a simple question that would have taken less than minute to answer. It's obvious that the guy has ego issues, since he didn't ask what it was, how to eat it and couldn't look past what were his errors.

    November 18, 2010 at 11:46 am |
    • VJ

      Sorry! Didn't see your post before I answered. If I had I would have just written "I agree with Cole"...LOL!

      November 18, 2010 at 12:16 pm |
  30. KD

    You wouldn't eat a whole lobster or blue crabs without asking? What if he was served a pineapple with the core, or crawfish, or even a whole piece of fruit or a tamale thing wrapped in corn husks – the list goes on and on...

    Dude, you should have asked!!

    November 18, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  31. Valerie

    Does this guy eat the banana peel too? What the heck? can you just imagine yourself eating the entire artichoke....I mean, seriously...and this guy is a doctor?? Good grief...........

    November 18, 2010 at 11:44 am |
  32. mariettafoodblogger

    idiot – thats like eating tin foil off a baked potato

    November 18, 2010 at 10:10 am |
    • RichardHead

      How am I suppose to get my daily aluminum intake without it?

      November 18, 2010 at 10:16 am |
    • Sir Biddle-Dee-Bobity-Boo

      Amazing! How did you get potatos to grow with tinfoil on them?

      November 18, 2010 at 10:21 am |
    • Jdizzle McHammerpants


      I'm gonna miss Eatocracy today. =( At least I don't have to deal with my micro-managing supervisors for most of today. Win-Lose.

      November 18, 2010 at 10:39 am |
      • RichardHead

        This means that Wonder Dog and I have a 50-50 chance today on 5@5! So enjoy your day today,take the NGF out for an early dinner-say around 3:55 p.m. CST?

        November 18, 2010 at 10:51 am |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        I'll be back in the office around 3:30 CST. Your chance is now 33%. I leave in 20 minutes. A continue education class for my Series 7 and 66 investment licenses. That should be exciting. zzzzzzzzz

        November 18, 2010 at 11:02 am |
      • RichardHead

        Don't forget your Red Big Chief pencil-prop it up under your chin and hope the don't ask you any questions.

        November 18, 2010 at 11:07 am |
      • KDUBS

        McHammerpants is my favorite user on CNN. Always good for a laugh. Cheers!

        November 18, 2010 at 12:29 pm |
    • mainer

      why did he order it he didnt know how to eat it. i tend to stop eating something when it chews tough. does this guy swallow chicken bones.

      November 18, 2010 at 12:24 pm |
  33. Sir Biddle-Dee-Bobity-Boo

    This Dr. Carvajal sounds like a complete Oxygen Thief, glad he's not my doctor.

    November 18, 2010 at 10:08 am |
  34. Jdizzle McHammerpants

    So that's why it's called Arti-CHOKE.


    November 18, 2010 at 10:04 am |
    • Arti

      Arti likes a good chokin'.

      November 18, 2010 at 10:05 am |
    • RichardHead

      He's Headlining here all week folks. Tickets can be purchased in the lobby.

      November 18, 2010 at 10:12 am |
      • Truth@JDizz, RichHead

        Be sure to tip your waitstaff, and try the veal.

        November 18, 2010 at 10:46 am |
  35. RichardHead

    Oh Fearless Leader-Are you both still Alive?

    November 18, 2010 at 9:52 am |
    • Kat Kinsman

      Oh, see – I was just holding the camera. I'm still having back spasms, so pro-level imbibing (especially right before seeing the chiropractor) seemed...inadvisable. Sarah's the trooper.

      November 18, 2010 at 9:58 am |
      • Jdizzle McHammerpants

        You want I should jump stomp on back?

        November 18, 2010 at 10:02 am |
      • Kat Kinsman

        That what my whippet is for.

        November 18, 2010 at 10:07 am |
    • Alien

      I'm going to have a colonoscopy. Should I remove the aluminum foil before I swallow that big pill they gave me?

      November 19, 2010 at 9:31 am |
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