Olives. Fried prawns. Pumpkin seeds. Pink grapefruit in Bandar Abbass, by the Persian Gulf. Eggplant pickle. Onion pickle. Garlic pickle by the Caspian sea. Those special kind of pastries, light as a feather, “window pastry” we call them, dusted with icing.

What do these all have in common? That at one time or another, I have overdosed on them, eating so much that I became sick. I ate so much of the pink grapefruit that my blood pressure fell, I got dizzy and fainted on the bathroom floor, hitting my head on the cold tiles and appearing next morning with an interesting cut on my forehead. I cracked so many pumkin seeds that my tongue became sore and raw with the burn of their salted coats, and I couldn’t eat anything  (not that I wanted to, anyway) for hours afterwards. And so on.

This weekend, my new overdose item was something that I’d only eaten once before, at some restaurant or other, and it hadn’t particuarly grabbed my attention. Marinated artichokes.

Artichokes. We don’t have them in Iran. Kind of like a cross between lettuce hearts, leeks and onions, a whitey-green, multi-layered vegetable. Nothing as flavourful, you would think, as olives or pumkin seeds.

But yesterday, I picked up a huge 2L jar of Spanish marinated artichokes on a whim (you have to do something to make weekly household shopping more interesting, or you might die of boredom while pushing the trolley full of raw chicken and meat through the aisles), and I simply can’t get enough. 

They are soft and slippery, marinated in oil, vinegar, spices and garlic, a delicate symphony of flavours and textures which explode in your brain. They are incredible. Marinated Artichokes. Even the name is like a poem. Oh excuse me, I’m dribbling on the keyboard, I need to run.


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