Okay, maybe there weren’t sixty squid, but it certainly felt like there were at least that many as I was pulling their little corpses apart.
But let me back up a bit.
As I stated back in this grinchy post, I do the Feast of Seven Fish thing for my family on Christmas Eve because it makes perfect sense for an Irish/German/Lenape chick who doesn’t cook all year to follow an Italian custom which involves cooking seven courses in one night.
Last year was the first time that I had attempted this feat and while it went really well, I did note things that I would do differently to make it easier on myself next year. Armed with those notes, I figured that this year would be a breeze, but then I should know better by now.
The first wrench in the monkey works this year came from my infamous “part-time” job and the fact that everyone except myself had quickly written on the schedule that they couldn’t work on Christmas Eve once we found out that the doctor planned to have hours that day. I was pretty pissed off given that, unlike my coworkers who just didn’t want to work that day, I had actual shit to do on Christmas Eve, so I wrote on the schedule that I would work but I didn’t give a fuck if there was an office full of patients that I was leaving at 12:30. (I didn’t write that exactly, but they got the drift.)
Having to work on Christmas Eve was bad enough, but the true fuckery came from the very ill-timed bout of food poisoning that I chronicled in my last entry. It made it so that not only was the cleaning that I had planned on doing during the week before Christmas not done, but in fact my apartment was even messier than usual since I was too weak to do much more than let my empty bottles of Gatorade and half-eaten bowls of soup accumulate around me for five days.
I ran home after work on Saturday, did my hair in pin curls (based on learning last year that cooking for hours over a hot stove in a tiny apartment leaves you hair looking like hell. It’s also annoying), and cleaned up my apartment.
Once the worst of my messiness had been cleaned, I scrambled to the kitchen to start on the fish. I opened the first package of fish and then jumped back and screamed like a fucking girl as a box of intact squid stared up at me with their black accusing eyes.
“What the fuck is this?!” I howled.
I had bought all of the seafood fresh, but in much the way that the salmon had been cut into a filet and was not a whole fish, I had expected the squid to be dissected into tubes. However I didn’t have a choice but to get over my squeamishness though because there had to be seven fish and at 4:30 pm on Christmas Eve, there were hardly going to be any places open to get a replacement fish. Instead I raced to my computer and googled “how the fuck do I clean a squid”.
((I don’t know how many of you know how to clean a squid, and I don’t know how many of you really want to know how to clean a squid, but today’s your lucky day because you’re going to get a brief breakdown. Consider it a late Christmas present.))
To start, you have to grasp the squid just above the eyes where the body is coming out of the tube. Ideally you want to rip the majority of the body out of the tube, but since these squid were a little icy, the body tore a bit more than it usually would. You are then supposed to reach in the tube and “eviscerate” the squid, but since my squid bodies weren’t separating themselves as cleanly as they should have, I had more to “eviscerate” than normal. It didn’t help matters that I had been unable to even try touching the squid again until after I had donned a pair of rubber gloves and they made it so that I couldn’t feel inside the tube all that brilliantly. When I finally had the first tube sufficiently rid of its contents, I grabbed my cooking scissors and cut it into rings. When something pink dropped into the bowl along with the pieces of squid, and I realized that I had cut my glove and was being a pussy, I ditched the gloves and continued dissecting my squid.
The act of having to rip apart squid was bad enough, but what was also stressing me was that the squid-cleaning was throwing me way behind schedule. I decided to pull all of the squid bodies out of their tubes, since that was the most disgusting part, and then let my BFF who was coming early, finish the cleaning and cutting of the tubes. I’m sure that BFF appreciated being yanked immediately upon arrival into the kitchen to look at a sink of half-dissected squid. (Thank you, BFF.)
Overall the Second Annual Feast of Seven Fishes went well–no one threw up and I didn’t set the broiler on fire this year–but I’ve added to the list of things to change for next year and number one is to get CLEANED SQUID.
A final note: My family of course said a number of brain breaking things throughout the night, so an entry of familial what-the-fuckery a la A Very Kat Sidhe Christmas Part Deux will be forthcoming.
A final final note: I’m adding this entry to my List of Shameless Shit because I did number 6: “Act girly or manly in a way you’d normally avoid” by getting so worked up like a priss over some dead squid.