Al Khurshuf

How was called this beautiful woman that Zeus fall in love with and took to Mount Olympus but she later left him?

What was highly appreciated by the ancient Egyptians?

What was prohibited by women around women in 16th century?

What has” has the virtue of … provoking Venus for both men and women”according to the Book of Nature of Baltolomeo Boldo

To what Inspector Clouseau compared a woman?

The answer to all the above is:


The first artichoke was a woman called Cynara that Zeus turned her into an artichoke when she decided to leave him.

Al khurshuf, which means thorny plant, is how Arabs were calling it and were the English word derives from.

Artichoke was believed to have aphrodisiac properties so women weren’t allowed to eat it. That until the Italian Catherine de Medici came to France, married king Henry II and introduced artichoke to her husband and to France claiming that “young women are more forward than pages at the court.”

And according to Inspector Clouseau you must work hard to get to the heart of a woman. As it happens with an artichoke.

So if you are determined to work a bit I don’t know if you will get a woman’s heart but you can have a delicious artichoke plate.


For winter, more than any other artichoke recipe I prefer Artichoke “a la Polita” .The name is referring to Poli -Constaninople (Istanbul today)-as the recipe came originally from the Greeks living there.

Here is a way of preparing the plate.

Don’t forget to squeeze them when you buy them, if they produce funny sounds means they are fresh.

Abstract Sunday

Those winter Sundays that frogs and ducks are happily pitter-pattering,I wear warm pullovers,two pairs of socks,I make several cups of coffee which I accompany with several chocolate cake bites,I look for a new cover picture for Facebook, my little dragon starts checking the caricatures in New Yorker(while my-fearful of thunders-opossum is hiding behind him)and I get dragged into an article without realizing.


But while doing all the above I love have my ears listening to a nice interview or to a storyreading.

Today was the interview that Maurice Sendak gave to Terry Gross. I play it over again and again.It was like listening to two old friends staring out of the window,the rain falling,drinking strong tea,eating cookies and discussing.

Cristoph Niemann a graphic designer and illustrator who seems to like driving and listening to radio on frantic Saturdays he heard Maurice Sendak’s interview and on a Sunday he had the brilliant idea to illustrate a part of the interview.