1. Wash artichokes under cold water.
2. Cut off the stem of the artichoke close to the base.
3. Remove any of the lower petals which are withered, discolored, or small.
4. With a sharp knife slice approximately one inch off the top of the artichoke.
5. With kitchen shears, cut thorny tips off the top of each remaining leaf.
6. Dip the cut edges in lemon juice to preserve color. Cook them immediately.
Julia Child in The Way to Cook has the best description of how to eat an artichoke:
"Start with the leaves at the bottom of the artichoke. Remove one and, holding it by the top, dip the large bottom end into the sauce, then scrape off the tender flesh between your teeth. When you come to the tender cone of central leaves, pull off the cone, and eat the bottom portion. Where you removed the cone is a cluster of small leaves under which is a hairy growth, the choke, that covers the deliciously edible bottom of the artichoke."