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Steamed Artichokes

She held it, hot, in her hand and slowly pulled back one of the outer leaves. She grazed her teeth down from the narrow tip and caught the tiny mound of flesh at its base. The flavor surprised her; the globe’s geometry and architecture were gothic, yet the taste earthy and unrefined. It was delicious. She drank from her wine glass and smiled across at him.

“It is really good,” he said, butter glistening on his lips. “So you’re a cook.”

“No, not really. I just try things out and hope they work.” Butter ran down the side of her hand and soaked into her starched white cuff. She did not notice it.

— Jane Hardwidge