I followed Julia's instructions, except that I didn't boil it long enough so the pulp didn't quite slide off the leaves the way it's supposed to. The outside leaves were tough to tear off and tough to eat. But the closer to the heart we got, the more succulent. Amanda (the new roommate) and I pulled the meaty parts of the leaves off with our teeth after it was dipped in melted butter. It's hard to imagine snobby French people eating such an ugly vegetable and discarding sucked-on leaves right at the table, but that's what we did. I'm so glad my life is largely devoid of pretense.
Artichokes are just so weird (they're hairy!), but in a way, they are kind of beautiful. All those spiky leaves and the hair (some of which is quite pokey) protect the heart. It took a lot of pulling and pealing to get to the center, but I think it was worth it. I would try it again.
Tear off the stem of the artichoke. Cut 1 to 2 inches off the top of the choke, then trim all the leaves using kitchen sheers. Wash. Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Boil artichoke for 40 minutes. Serve with melted butter or hollandaise sauce.