Stop Staring, You Little Squid

July 13, 2011 § 2 Comments

Yesterday I headed to my neighborhood QFC for groceries.  As a approached the store swarms of police cars descended!  Cops pulled a man out of a nearby car at gunpoint!  So, I kept driving to the next store, which was Uwajimaya in the International District.  That’s when the real trouble began.  

I hadn’t been shopping at Uwaji in a while, and it felt great.  Inspiration struck at every turn.  Oooo… bananas the size of my index finger!  My kids will love those.  Ahhhh…. frozen ramen!  I’ll stock my freezer.  Whole, uncleaned squid!  Only $1.99 a pound!  GREAT!  In that hour between my kids coming home and dinnertime I’ll clean, slice, and fry pounds of squid!  A perfect evening, who could ask for more!  I’m such a moron.  I recalled a fantastic sounding recipe by Melissa Clark in the New York Times – Fried Calamari & Lemon Salad over Arugula, and I was excited to try it.  Ever optimistic.

The project started on the right foot.  My children where appropriately fascinated and disgusted with the squid-cleaning process.  I found instructions in a cookbook while my daughter was patiently waiting for a squid-cleaning  video to download from the internet.  Cleaning the squid was simple but tedious and disgusting.  After 30 minutes of yanking squid guts and peeling away squid skin, I sensed that this undertaking was probably a mistake.  But they did look pretty (relatively).  By the time I got to this stage my children had long since drifted away to PBS Kids.

Phase Two of Operation Over Ambition was frying the dissected squid.  A dusting of cornstarch, a vat of hot oil, what could be simpler?  Well, picture me, white up to the elbows in cornstarch.  Picture my tiny kitchen, stove and counters splattered with oil.  “Hi Honey, welcome home!  Quick, take those burning Calamari out of the boiling oil!  No, I can’t touch anything because I’m coated up to my elbows in cornstarch I’M NOT YELLING!!!!”  The low point for me was when hot oil splattered onto my five-year old.  She was so entertained by the whole spectacle, she barely felt a thing. In fact, she asked for calamari for breakfast this morning.  I don’t think the withering look I gave her registered.  “No,” I told her, “Never ever ever again.”  Outright denial, forever.  She said, “Well, maybe someday.” Ever optimistic.

The upshot is, paying $8 in a restaurant for $0.50 worth of calamari is totally worth it.  Do not hesitate.  Now I’ll go light a few more scented candles so my living room doesn’t smell like a Fry Daddy.

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