Using a pair of scissors, simply square off the tips of the outside leaves (this is optional). With a heavy knife, cut off the top third of the center leaves. Remove the stem (this should be the only time you do throw away that tasty extension of the heart).
* Rub all cut surfaces with lemon juice.
* Sit the artichokes upright in a steamer basket and place over boiling water. Cover and cook until a small, sharp knife slides easily into the base and the outer leaves pull away. This should take from 15 to 40 minutes, depending on the size and age of the artichoke.
* Using a grapefruit spoon or small knife, remove the bristly choke from the center of the flower.
* Serve with hollandaise or melted butter.
To paraphrase the immortal words of Little Rascal Stymie: "It may have choked Artie, but it won't choke you."