I've been doing some research for my main non-eating interest - the Great War - at the university in a nearby city. One of the files was the correspondance of Lt Eric Goodwin, 17th Battalion, Manchester Regiment (my grandfather's unit). He writes home, on 20 August 1916, that he has been seconded to another unit supervising men who are digging a tunnel under the German lines and he is billeted with three other officers. One of these officers has a servant (the term batman wasnt used until after the war) called Webber who is:-
"an excellent cook and general all round handyman (he used to be valet to an American millionaire and has been all over the world). He gets hold of all kinds of deliciousness - last night it was French artichokes. We were rather suspicious when we saw them because they look like dark green cactus placed on your plate but after consulting with Webber as to which part one was supposed to eat, we nibbled a few corners off. But personally, I don't think they're worth the trouble of eating."
I think I pretty much agree with Eric. BTW, he was killed in action on 12 October 1916.