This crazy looking vegetable can be daunting for first time indulgers, but it is well worth the effort. The artichoke is actually the unopened bud of a type of thistle plant. One medium size artichoke contains significant amounts of fiber, vitamin C, and folate. Whole, steamed artichokes are meant to be eaten slowly, lingering over each delectable bite. When the artichoke arrives at your table, peel off a leaf and bite off the tender bottom portion. Work your way down to the choke, which is the white and fuzzy center. The choke is often removed due to its texture (not due to the urban legend that is poisonous), and then you are left with the artichoke heart, the most tender and delicious part of the artichoke. Often the artichoke will be served with a dipping sauce that is mayonnaise based, such as aioli. To keep calories and cholesterol down, opt for lighter vinaigrette for dipping. With only about 65 calories, the artichoke can be a healthy alternative to a deep fried appetizer.