back to article Italian woman stunned by exploding artichoke

An Italian woman was left shaken but otherwise unhurt by an exploding artichoke, La Repubblica reports. The unnamed victim bought some fresh artichokes from her local supermarket in Olginate, some 40km northeast of Milan. When she laid into one with a knife, it went bang. Initially struck dumb by the shock, the poor woman …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    " When she laid into one with a knife, it went bang. Initially struck dumb by the shock, the poor appealed to her husband and daughter for assistance, and when they saw the leaves were "damaged and burnt", they called in the cops."

    We have lots of poor here too; can they also appeal to her husband and daughter for assistance? Or should we just immediately call the police?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Appeal.

      Police help the poor ? Don't know where 'here' is, but it's clearly not in western society.

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I'd be more worried

      I'd be more worried about the explosions associated with eating beans.

      1. Gunnar Wolf

        Re: I'd be more worried

        Hey now, are you a racist pig? Eating beans is *in no way* related to drugdealing-induced violence here in Mexico!

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: I'd be more worried

          Reliable sources are quoted as stating that it is "refried sick" and "like sick with cheese on it" that you eat in Mexico?

    3. Kubla Cant Silver badge

      Re: Appeal.

      "the poor appealed to her husband"

      I assumed this was a symptom of machine translation. In Italian "la povera" means "the poor woman", but it translates literally as "the poor".

  2. Mark 85 Silver badge


    It's very surprising that the NSA or CIA haven't been blamed for this yet.

    1. Destroy All Monsters Silver badge

      Re: Surprise

      They are not into "signature strikes". Cyberfa**otcommand is responsible for that.

    2. SuccessCase

      Re: Surprise

      This is Italy we're talking about:

      "That's a nice wife you have there. It looks to me like you need insurance in case she has an accident."

      "I don't need insurance."

      "Everyone needs Mr Corleone's insurance. You never know when she might come across one of life's surprises, you know, like an exploding vegetable."

      "An exploding vegetable? Get outa here."

      "Your choice tough guy."

    3. dssf

      Re: Surprise

      With that surprise, you probably have them reeling in stun.. All teary eyed and choked up....

  3. jake Silver badge


    I grow artichokes. I use fertilizer. I know how to make fertilizer go "boom" (not that I do, mind).

    I also know how flowers use fertilizer ... which precludes the "boom" option, because the roots break down the nitrates into useful plant food long before it gets to the flower.

    Something fishy here ...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      @ jake

      You know what stuffed artichokes are, right? Well, try stuffing them with C4 or Semtex. As for a suitable detonator, I leave that as an exercise for your imagination.

      1. jake Silver badge

        Re: @ jake

        C4 and Semtex can be cut to shape with a standard 9" chef's knife or poultry shears, without harm to the humanidiot fiddling about with explosives.

        Never mind that, according to the article they were "fresh" artichokes. Not stuffed.

        Learn to read for comprehension, AC.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: @ jake

          @ Jake,

          Pretty sure you can light C4 with a flame and have it burn in a controlled manner like a candle. I think it requires another explosive as a detonator.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @AC10:55 (was: Re: @ jake)

            Yes. I have burned nearly out of date dynamite in my burn-pile.

            There is a big difference between "explosive" and "fast burning".

            1. Bloakey1

              Re: @AC10:55 (was: @ jake)

              "Yes. I have burned nearly out of date dynamite in my burn-pile.

              There is a big difference between "explosive" and "fast burning"."

              Yep and by their very nature they are very very hard to initiate and that is why they need either LA, PA or MF as a detonator.

              When i worked with explosives we kept our back packs full of them but the man carrying the detonators carried just that and no explosives. He carried them in a box placed in the pocket above his heart for obvious reasons.

    2. Valeyard

      Re: Eh?

      jake grows everything and owns his own mine where he smelts the metal which he uses to build his own PCs

      don't you know

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: Eh?

        The snark is unnecessary. Like Jake, I have grown artichokes (until the side effects became apparent), know how to make a variety of explosives from common household and agricultural substances (though I don't) and how to make detonators (ditto). My guess is that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of respectable UK and US citizens who can do as much or worse.

        Are you sure you're qualified to read The Register?

        1. Bronek Kozicki

          Re: Eh?

          @AC 10:40 jake, is that you?

          1. jake Silver badge

            @Bronek Kozicki (was: Re: Eh?)

            No, not me. I never post AC. I'm not a coward.

            1. Anonymous Coward
              Anonymous Coward

              Re: @Bronek Kozicki (was: Eh?)

              > I'm not a coward.

              Oh well, nobody is perfect, I guess.

        2. Oninoshiko

          Re: Eh?

          You must be new here.

          The snark is because Jake is, apparently, qualified to do (indeed has done!) absolutely everything. I imagine once you have done everything, life gets boring.

          1. jake Silver badge

            @Oninoshiko (was: Re: Eh?)

            I've been around the block a few times, and have learned a thing or two in the forty years I've been making a living for myself.

            No, I don't know everything. But I'll continue learning until I'm done.

            Life isn't boring. Unless you make it boring. Think about it.

        3. Bloakey1

          Re: Eh?


          " My guess is that there are hundreds of thousands, if not millions, of respectable UK and US citizens who can do as much or worse."

          Me too although I would be inclined to use some C4 or plastique to cook the artichokes.

          The husband is lucky that she was unharmed, I can see it now:


          Why deed you blow up your wife?

          Glaswegian husband;

          Because she was hard tae choke

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    There are a number of compounds that could spontaneously combust, such as methane.

    In fact if suffient phosphate based fertiliser was used, and bacteria broke it down in the centre then phosphine could be produced, which is explosive.

    Just a thought.

    1. jake Silver badge

      Re: Theory

      Unfortunately for your theory, the phosphine wouldn't make it into the flower.

      1. SuccessCase

        Re: Theory

        Not probably not from ground water by osmosis, but washed into the flower from rain or dew after fertiliser has gotten onto the artichoke head is a possibility as the artichoke leaves make a good water trap. Normally before flowering they would be quite well sealed, but since this is a rare event, we can suppose some abnormality is at play. So, for example, perhaps a insect chomped it's way in, making a neat channel for capturing phosphene rich water in the centre of the artichoke (which due to it's shape would make a very good water trap). A few days of sun warming the artichoke head and the water evaporates off leaving a more concentrated phosphene residue. Additionally since it will be flowering at some stage, sugars in the form of nectar will be migrating to the inner surface of the leaves. I'm making this up, but it doesn't seem wholly far fetched.

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Theory

          Too late - you should have submitted that one to the writers of the Sherlock series.

          I think it's phosphine, though. Phosphene is a false visual sensation.

        2. dssf

          Re: Theory

          hahaha... That just read a bit too sinsual and sensual. Not that I'm making passes. I just saw pistils, petals, stems, and pods-a-bursting in the rain, Nature and bees in unison...

          Maybe The Onion could run a spread, too. Bursting, Oniony Artichoke: the kind that leave you teary and all choked up -- naturally... Or unnaturally...

        3. jake Silver badge

          @SuccessCase (was:Re: Theory)

          Do you know how far off the ground artichoke flowers develop? Your theory is worse than far-fetched, it's totally ignorant conjecture.

          1. SuccessCase

            Re: @SuccessCase (was:Theory)

            @jake, Yep it's ignorant conjecture. I alluded to as much in my comment but I guess some people never tire of the opportunities the Internet serves up to find ways to be rude about what others have said. However given now multiple artichokes have exploded - apparently without an explosive device being placed within them, it's kind of fun and would almost be rude *not* to conjecture. There is a mystery to be answered. As for your reasoning I'm not sure farming equipment is so accurate as that there is a guarantee that for all the millions of artichokes grown, fertiliser never gets on the head of the plant. This is after all an exceptional event, so we can expect it is brought about by exceptional, but nevertheless feasible, conditions. How about that at the end of the greenhouse row, the fertiliser feed pipe comes down a vertical and every now and then an end of row artichokes head gets leaked over with fertiliser when it grows against the pipe ? But one piece of conjecture as to how there could be a high level exposure. And while I now remember precious little of my O'Level chemistry, I do know fertiliser + sugar can in the right combination equal explosion. A chemist might be able to easily show my amateur thinking to be way off base, and I don't necessarily believe it myself anyway, but I'm not sure your rebuttal is any less ignorant conjecture than my own so in ignorance we are united.

          2. Anonymous Coward
            Anonymous Coward

            Re: @SuccessCase (was:Theory)

            Dear Jacques,

            > Your theory is worse than far-fetched, it's totally ignorant conjecture.


            What do you expect? Shakesfuckingpeare doing literary criticism of his sonnets? An annotated version of La Commedia¹?

            At least it idles the time away and those of us with a sense of humour have a chuckle. Besides, it's not bad as far as conjectures go.

            ¹ I do, actually.

      2. Uffish

        Re: Theory

        Round here the farmers use solid granules of fertiliser scattered by a spinning disk. The disk is a few feet off the ground and spins fast so that the granules fly several tens of yards, they could easily lodge on flower heads, even artichoke flower heads.

  5. John Tserkezis

    Yeah, we're having a slow news day here too.

    But with us, it's the tried and true UFO nearly rammed a plane story.

    I should have stayed in bed today.

  6. We're all in it together

    I will therefore

    Buy tinned artichokes, hire a butler and cook, and get them to take the risk.

    1. Thorne

      Re: I will therefore

      "Buy tinned artichokes, hire a butler and cook, and get them to take the risk"

      Easier to just eat bacon....

  7. Yet Another Commentard


    Missed opportunity - Arty Chokes Woman

    Or something (it's early, first day back at work and all that)

  8. Jan 0

    Wrong kind of Artichoke?

    When I saw the headline, my thoughts went to Jerusalem Artichokes - eat too many and the result is internally and painfully explosive.

    However the article mentions "leaves", implying that these were Globe Artichokes. This begs the question - how were fresh artichokes available in winter* (I know that in the USA and UK, they'd be flown in from the Southern Hemisphere, but Italy respects its food.)

    *or have El Reg hacks pulled a very old story off the spike?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Wrong kind of Artichoke?

      Yes, I really like roast Jerusalem artichokes, but I can't cope with the after effects.

      I guess that with a globe artichoke it is just about possible for a small lump of ammonium nitrate fertiliser to get caught in one of the leaf roots, and get a bit sensitive - but that's a very boring explanation.

    2. jake Silver badge

      @Jan 0 (was:Re: Wrong kind of Artichoke?)

      "how were fresh artichokes available in winter"

      I harvested a couple dozen on Saturday, in Sonoma, CA.

      HTH, HAND.

      1. Lamont Cranston

        Have you made any explode yet, jake?

        No? You're slipping.

  9. Fink-Nottle

    For reasons too complicated to explain here, the phenomenon of exploding artichokes is the only true signature of time travel.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Oh dear. You just reminded my of how much of a failure the MIB 3 film became when I saw the scene "chocolate milk migraines are a sign of time travel". :/

    2. dssf

      UPSCORE for that! That was so appropos juxtaposition of the earlier article!


  10. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    "a chemical reaction provoked by fertilisers "

    Sounds more like food poisoning to me.

  11. Arachnoid

    No one said

    Shes holding it wrong!........

    1. Crazy Operations Guy

      Re: No one said

      No one said it because they were afraid of breaking such an ancient relic.

  12. Aristotles slow and dimwitted horse Silver badge

    I thought an Artichoke was...

    Death by suffocation in a pretentious, long winded and high brow manner.

  13. David 45


    Curries can also be quite I've heard. Best keep the loo paper in the fridge.

  14. Charlie van Becelaere

    Au contraire:

    "However, it appears a chemical reaction provoked by fertilisers may be the explanation, rather than a chilling suicide-bombing Day of the Triffids scenario."

    Rather it becomes clear why we use SALTED water to cook artichokes.

  15. Ilsa Loving

    Diversified product portfolio

    I didn't realize that Sony made artichokes too!

  16. cortland

    Next food attack:

    Day of the Trifles! Aarrgh!

    1. dssf

      Re: Next food attack:

      Did you men Triffids?

      Wow, I haven't watched that since maybe 1979, hahaha...


      1. Jess--

        Re: Next food attack:

        I prefer the option of Trifles

        I can just picture them shuffling (and wobbling) their way across the landscape

        1. Thecowking

          Re: Next food attack:

          Monty Python had a similar scenario with blancmanges.

          In the final at Wimbledon no less.

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