Whole cooked artichokes are one of my fav foods.They were such a special treat for our family of four- that my Dad instituted his 'Fair system' when it came time to divide and share the delectable artichoke heart: my brother or I cut it into quarters; everyone else chooses! (Boy did we ever cut those quarters equally!!) Anyway, this was not in CA but it is thanks to CA. My parents, from VA and New Orl., met in CA just after the War, and they both discovered and loved artichokes while there, and continued to eat them when they moved east, and wherever we moved after that.
I haven't yet researched the history of artichokes in American cuisine, but i've always had a sense that they were introduced to CA agriculture by Italian immigrants, maybe in the early 20th c., and then were just getting known outside of CA -after the war. How about you? Did you grow up , not in CA, eating them? And how did you eat them? We had two camps- Melted Butter and Mustard Mayo.Now i eat the leaves plain and use Mustard Mayo only for the heart. I feel so delightedly decadent when I cook and eat one all by myself!!