To prepare an artichoke for cooking, cut off the sharp tips of the leaves and trim the base and the outer green layer of the stalk. Place artichokes in a stainless steel or enamel saucepan in 1 inch of boiling salted water with a little lemon juice or vinegar added.
Cover and steam until the bottoms of the artichokes can be pierced easily with a fork-about 35 to 40 minutes, depending on size. Remove the artichokes and drain them upside down.
Serve the artichokes with lemon juice and melted butter or vinaigrette or hollandaise sauce. To eat, pull off a leaf, dip its fleshy stalk end into the sauce, and pull the stalk through your teeth.
Cut the inedible hairy part (the choke) from the tender bowl-shaped heart and eat the heart and the stalk.