The Truth Uncapped: Vegetable Lovers Weed Out Errors About Artichokes

Like any crusading journalist, I never know where my investigation will lead.

A while back I mentioned the questionable "Real Fact" on the inside of a Snapple bottle cap: "The city of Los Angeles has three times more automobiles than people." And I noted in passing that some other "facts" in the company's series had been in error, such as: "Broccoli is the only vegetable that is a flower." That statement was later amended to include the noble cauliflower.

End of story, or so I thought, until I heard from Sheree Ingram of La Canada Flintridge, Ardis Dahl of Inglewood and others. "What about artichokes?" they demanded.

I queried Snapple, which checked with its vegetable expert, who confirmed that, yes, artichokes were getting a raw deal.

A Snapple spokesman e-mailed me, "We are researching tons of new facts now, so we will discontinue the veggie/flower fact." While this might be only the second most important recall of the year involving California, I'm proud of this column's prickly readers.

Turning over a new leaf? In Castroville ("Artichoke Capital of the World"), Pat Hopper of the California Artichoke Advisory Board cheered the correction of the snub. She also acknowledged that the vegetable might be a bit of a mystery on the far-off East Coast.

"It looks somewhat like a hand grenade," she said. "That can put people off."

A penny for your thoughts: Jackson Sleet of L.A. noticed still another store that has hiked its prices (see photo).

Car City: We had a discussion here about people who are in love with their cars, me among them, until the day I broke up with my '62 Ford Fairlane over the tendency of its driver-side door to come unhinged. I felt like blowing it up by lobbing an artichoke inside. Anyway, Keith Johnson found evidence of another long-term commitment in L.A. (see photo).

El Lay vs. Noo Yawk: Continuing the discussion here about the differences between the two areas, Wayne Terry said: "While Angelenos go to the 'beach,' Northeasterners may be found at the 'shore' on the weekend." Then there's the matter of shorthand. Many Northeasterners, Terry added, "leave out the preposition 'to,' saying, 'We're going down the shore.' After which they might ask, 'Do you want to go with?' "

miscelLAny: I interpreted a recent photo as a warning to people not to pollute the ocean (see photo) but Phil Luke of Palm Desert disagrees. "It is obviously intended for dogs, or dog owners. It IS in front of a fire hydrant."


Steve Harvey can be reached at

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