Here are some tips on how to cook artichokes. Cut off about 1 inch from the top of the artichokes, slicing straight across – you will need a sharp knife. Now cut off stem about 1 inch from base. Pull off small bottom leaves and any loose leaves.
Using kitchen scissors or a sharp knife, snip off thorny tips of leaves. Or, if you are an artistic purist, leave the tips unsullied, ignoring any splits. Brush all cut edges with lemon juice to hold the bright color.
Stand artichokes upright in deep kettle or dutch oven just big enough to hold the vegetables snugly. For each artichoke, toss in about 1 tablespoon olive oil (or other salad oil), 1 clove peeled garlic and 1 slice unpeeled lemon.
Pour in boiling salted water to depth of 1 to 3 inches (or add plain water and 1/4 teaspoon salt per artichoke). Cover pot and simmer 25 to 45 minutes, depending on size of artichoke and on intensity of heat. Peek now and then to check water level, adding water if needed.
When artichokes are done, the stem will pierce easily with a big two-tined fork. Or the leaves will pull out with small resistance. Lift out artichokes with tongs or two big spoons. Turn upside down in colander or on rack over paper towels to drain. Cut off the stubby stems even with the base (unless you did this prior to cooking for easier arrangement in pot). Serve with melted butter or any sauce.