As a kid, the only green vegetable I willingly let into my mouth without making faces and disgusting noises was the artichoke. Knowing what I know now about the seasonality and regionality of food, I'm pretty impressed that my mother was able to get her hands on artichokes in Minnesota all those years ago. As a born and bred Californian, my mother loved artichokes just as much as we did. That said, I think she was motivated to stop the retchings, gaggings, and death rattles at the dinner table more than anything else.
I grew up scraping my eager teeth across the "strip the leaves and dip them in hot melted butter" globe variety, and it wasn't until I moved out to California that I really had any experience with delectable baby artichokes. These little suckers are now in season, but if you don't know how to strip and cook them, they can end up tough and bitter.
You want the leaves to be tightly closed. The more open the leaves are, the more likely they are to have a choke.
The stems of artichokes are just as delicious as the artichokes themselves, but the tougher outer skin should be stripped down. Using a very sharp paring knife, carefully peel off the layer.