Remind me to tell you about the time I looked into the heart of an artichoke.
— Margo Channing (Bette Davis), All About Eve
Warning: consumption of artichokes can be hazardous to your health. Especially if you eat the entire thing, leaves and all.
This is a lesson that Arturo Carvajal, a doctor in Miami, learned the hard way. According to Dr. Carvajal, in May 2009 he ate at a Houston’s restaurant in Miami Beach, where he ordered the grilled artichoke special. Having never eaten an artichoke before, he ate the whole thing — including the tough, practically inedible outer portion of the leaves.
After doing so, Dr. Carvajal experienced… tummy trouble. One “exploratory laparotomy” later, he learned that he had artichoke leaves stuck inside his bowel. Oy.
Now, Dr. Caravajal is suing….
He’s suing the restaurant for unspecified damages, alleging negligence. The Miami New Times explains his theory of liability and claimed injuries:
The server “fail[ed] to explain the proper method of consuming an artichoke”, namely that the “outside portion of the leaf should not be eaten; rather, only the inside portion of the leaf was safely digestible.”
…. Among the alleged consequences of Carvajal eating an entire damn artichoke: “disability, disfigurement, mental anguish,” and “loss of capacity for the enjoyment of life”.
And enjoyment of artichokes, too.
Glenn Viers, vice-president and general counsel for defendant Hillstone Restaurant Group, gave the following comment on the lawsuit to Business Insurance: “What’s next? Are we going to have to post warnings on our menu they shouldn’t eat the bones in our barbeque ribs?”
Perhaps we’ll someday live in a world where restaurants bring you waiver / release forms along with — or maybe even before — the bread basket. Words to the wise: Caveat eater.
P.S. Kidding aside, I’m not unsympathetic to the good doctor. I didn’t learn how to eat an artichoke until I was in college, when I spent one spring break hanging out with my roommate and his family in northern California (where artichokes are more popular than in the northeast, where I grew up).
Getting to the heart of restaurant safety [Business Insurance]
Arturo Carvajal, Miami Doctor, Sues Houston’s Restaurant For Not Teaching Him How To Properly Eat Artichoke [Miami New Times via Newser]
“In San Rafael, ‘exploding’ escargot ignite saucy lawsuit” [Overlawyered]
Lawsuit of the Day: Exploding Escargot [Legal Blog Watch]