This is why you shouldn't eat a whole artichoke

If you are unfamiliar with artichokes, these spiky green vegetables are actually the bud of a plant that is part of the thistle family (via Ocean Spray). If left unharvested, artichokes will eventually bloom into inedible flowers that range in color from purple to blue. The plant that artichokes come from is roughly 6 feet wide by 4 feet tall when fully grown. Artichokes are made of three parts, the stem, the heart, and the petals.

Make sure you know what you're getting into when you order one, as CafeMom reported that a doctor in Miami sued a restaurant after he was injured by the grilled artichokes he ate there. After consuming the offending food (meaning he ate the entire thing), the customer went to the hospital complaining of intense abdominal pain. The outlet reported that after an exploratory laparotomy, (which, according to VeryWell Health, is a procedure where a surgeon makes a full-sized incision in the abdomen so they can visually look for whatever is causing severe distress, usually after other tests came back inconclusive) the doctors at the hospital found artichoke leaves lodged in the man's bowels. He subsequently sued the restaurant for failing in its "duty to train its table servers to explain the proper method of consuming an artichoke."

How to cook and eat your artichoke without a trip to the hospital

The Spruce gives an easy and foolproof way to eat artichokes, so you don't end up like our friend from Miami. They explain you should begin at the base of the vegetable, pulling off one petal at a time and scraping your teeth across the bottom to separate the soft fleshy part from the tough exterior. Continue to pull off the petals, which will become softer and smaller as you work your way in and have larger edible sections. Eventually, you will reach the choke and will need to remove this fuzzy looking layer to get to the heart. You remove this by taking a spoon and carefully scraping it out, making sure to remove all of the choke, as it is inedible. Once you've gotten rid of the choke, you can cut the heart into pieces to eat whole.

The Los Angeles Times offers a simple, classic way to prepare artichokes. They suggest you cook artichokes in a large pan of salted, boiling water, until you can easily pull off one of the outer petals, which is generally about 20 minutes depending on its size. Once they are fully cooked, place the artichokes upside down in a colander to drain, as water tends to get trapped inside the petals. If you cook extra, artichokes can be kept for four or five days in the refrigerator wrapped in plastic. Popular condiments to dip your artichokes in are melted butter, hollandaise sauce, mayonnaise or aioli, or a vinaigrette.