This section is from the book "Mrs. Rorer's Vegetable Cookery And Meat Substitutes", by Sarah Tyson Rorer. Also available from Amazon: Mrs. Rorer's Vegetable Cookery And Meat Substitutes.......
(Cynara scolymus, Linn.)
To Boil Artichokes. - I shall give general directions for the boiling of artichokes, which will answer for the first preparation for all the artichoke recipes. One artichoke should be allowed to each person. The large French artichokes should be soaked in water over night before boiling. The smaller ones, which come from New Orleans, should be soaked for several hours, and even then they are not nearly so good as the imported French artichokes.
After they have been soaked, put them into boiling water; boil rapidly for five minutes; drain. Square the tops, that is, take a sharp knife and cut the tops perfectly square, two inches from the base; then slightly trim the bottoms. Tie a string around each artichoke to keep it in shape, throw into a kettle of boiling salted water and boil rapidly for a few minutes, then slowly for one hour until the leaves are tender. Please understand that the water must be boiling, but not rapidly. A tablespoonful of powdered charcoal put into the water gives them a brilliant green color. When the leaves are tender, lift each artichoke carefully with the skimmer, turning it upside down to drain.
To serve these plain boiled, arrange them on a napkin on a heated platter. Serve one to each individual. Pass with them sauce Hollandaise. If served from a side table, put two tablespoonfuls of sauce Hollandaise on the same plate.
To eat, strip off the outside leaves one at a time; hold them with the finger and thumb by the top of the leaf; dip the bottom into the sauce, and, with the teeth, strip off the soft portion. Put the leaves on the side of the plate. When all the leaves have been taken off, remove the fuzzy portion of the "choke." Eat the bottom with a fork, dipping each piece into the sauce before putting it in the mouth.