French artichokes have a large scaly head, like the cone of a pine tree. The flower buds are used before they open.
The edible portion consists of the thickened portion at the base of the scales and the receptacle to which the leaf like scales are attached. These receptacles are the "bottoms." The parts of the flower in the center of the bud are called the choke and must be removed.
When the artichoke is very young and tender the edible parts may be eaten raw as a salad. When it becomes hard, as it does very quickly, it must be cooked. When boiled it may be eaten as a salad or with a sauce. The scales are pulled, with the fingers from the cooked head, the base of each leaf dipped in the sauce and then eaten.