Some day, they’ll be able to do this out of water, and we’ll have to answer for all that calamari and tako.
Two things I have learned recently:
“Lewd and Abandoned”. Caricature of notorious New Orleans prostitute Emma Johnson, from “The Mascot”, 21 May 1892. Johnson is depicted in a window with a fan, with tentacles reaching out to the sidewalk entrapping passers by, including men, an old man, an adolsecent boy, and a young woman.
2. If you do a Google search for public domain pictures of octopi, you might stumble upon a Wikipedia talk page for tentacle erotica, which, fortunately for my taste, only has pictures from 19th-century America.
Photo credit: By Staff of “The Mascot”, New Orleans [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons.
A report from the November 24, 1957 edition of the Toledo Blade details a gathering of 200 people to watch an octopus wrestling event in the Puget Sound near Tacoma, Washington.
Teams of three unarmed skin divers competed to garner points based on the use of snorkels versus breathing tanks and the final weight of octopi wrestled to the surface. A team from Portland, Oregon, won the contest, hauling in an eighty-pound octopus in the process. Let it be noted that Giant Pacific Octopi (Octopus dofleini) are rather timid and not at all aggressive unless provoked, with most cases of provocation ending with the octopus fleeing.
I’m not sure what stones we’ve left unturned in our quest to dominate nature whilst being entertained. I can’t find any instances of people making whales race one another, but then again, I don’t want to give anyone any ideas.
“Imagine trying to move by vomiting out of a giant straw, and flapping your skirt around very, very fast.” The cuttlefish is a mysterious and majestic creature, with eyes “in the shape of Charlie Brown’s mouth when he misses a football.”
Another excellent video from zefrank1:
“Playing hide-and-seek with a cuttlefish sucks. They don’t move, they just change color.”
Some day, he’ll be terrifying, I’m sure…
I could list all the reasons why I think squid, octopi, and cuttlefish are fascinating and awesome (almost forgot nautili!), but that would deprive you of the joy of discovering the information on your own. Also, I’m lazy. Instead, I want to address the three principle reasons why I eschew any and all culinary adaptations of our cephalopod brothers and sisters:
A 63-year-old Korean woman who was dining on boiled squid was horrified to discover that sperm from the squid had painfully stuck to her tongue and cheeks.
The Squid A Day site reports that the woman experienced severe pain in her mouth after biting into the squid. The National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) explains what happened in further detail:
“She did not swallow the portion, but spat it out immediately. She complained of a pricking and foreign-body sensation in the oral cavity. Twelve small, white spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms stuck in the mucous membrane of the tongue, cheek, and gingiva were completely removed, along with the affected mucosa,” the article abstract states.
“On the basis of their morphology and the presence of the sperm bag, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores.”
Squid A Day notes that the squid’s internal organs are normally removed when the squid is prepared for a dish, so this is not something the average consumer should have to worry about. When diners orders squid in a restaurant, they are typically served only edible parts, such as the cleaned tentacles and body sac.
And while the incident with this woman is creepy, painful and weird, it’s not entirely without precedent. A report from NCBI in 2011 gave a similar case of squid spermatophores stinging a person’s mouth, but that occurred after the person was eating raw squid. Again, it would seem as if the squid had not been properly prepared for consumption.
Interestingly, the site also says that squid spermatophores are perfectly safe to handle, as they are not powerful enough to stick to the outside of the human body.
Ponder that the next time you think about ordering some calamari.