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 chick who is not Italian and 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 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 we all know I have issues with denial as discussed here and here for starters.
This year the first wrench in the monkey works 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 as soon as 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, but I wrote on the schedule that I didn’t give a fuck if there was an office full of patients that I needed to leave 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. Since I had been 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, my apartment was a disheveled mess and I needed to clean before I could start cooking. As soon as I got home I did my hair in pin curls (based on learning last year that cooking for hours over a hot stove in a tiny apartment leaves your hair looking like hell. It’s also annoying), and frantically cleaned up the place.
That done I scrambled to the kitchen to start on the fish. I opened the first package of fish, and then jumped back and shrieked like a girl as a box of intact squid stared up at me with their black accusing eyes.
“What the fuck is this?!” I screamed at them.
I had bought all of the seafood fresh, but I had expected that it was already dressed and the squid dissected into tubes. There was no way I could get a replacement seventh fish at 4:30 pm on Christmas Eve though so I didn’t have any choice but to get over my squeamishness. 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 and yank it out. 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 well. When I finally had the first tube sufficiently rid of its guts, I grabbed my cooking scissors and cut it into rings. Something pink dropped into the bowl along with the pieces of squid, and after panicking I realized that I had cut my glove and was being a pussy, so 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 best friend, who was coming early, finish the cleaning and cutting of the tubes. I’m sure that he appreciated being yanked immediately upon arrival into the kitchen to look at a sink of half-dissected squid, but if I’m honest it’s not the worst thing I’ve done to him in twenty years of friendship.
Thankfully that was the only disaster (other than my family saying the usual number of brain breaking things throughout the night which will get its own entry a la A Very Kat Sidhe Christmas Part Deux) for the Second Annual Feast of Seven Fishes and I’d call it a success. No one threw up and I didn’t set the broiler on fire this year, but I did learn that I will never cook squid again.
A 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 raw squid.