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Inseminating Squid...
June 16, 2012 6:56 PM   Subscribe

A study in the Journal of Parisitology tells of a woman who complained of pain in her cheek after eating parboiled squid. Turns out that some forms of squid can still inseminate, even after cooking.
posted by Isadorady (80 comments total) 16 users marked this as a favorite

 
Aliens.
posted by spitbull at 6:58 PM on June 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


A link to Journal of Parasitology article would be great. On second thought, never mind, they probably charge $35 to read the article.
posted by crapmatic at 7:04 PM on June 16, 2012


Worth it for the first comment alone.
posted by Mitrovarr at 7:07 PM on June 16, 2012 [18 favorites]


> 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. On the basis of their morphology and the presence of the sperm bag, the foreign bodies were identified as squid spermatophores.

Good. Cephalopods are the unicorns of the ocean and they deserve more respect than to be eaten by humans.
posted by nickyskye at 7:07 PM on June 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


It seems the woman thought she was getting dinner; the squid saw a last chance to reproduce. As is common with these kinds of misunderstandings, neither got what they wanted.

Complete with picture of the offending organism (which does indeed look more alien than edible) and at least the abstract of the original paper.
posted by TedW at 7:07 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


A woman thought she was just getting dinner and a guy thought he was getting a chance to reproduce? Talk about your dog bites man story.
posted by yoink at 7:10 PM on June 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Well...not "bites" perhaps.

Nor man, neither.
posted by yoink at 7:12 PM on June 16, 2012


Good. Cephalopods are the unicorns of the ocean and they deserve more respect than to be eaten by humans.

Counterpoint: they taste damn good, and the fishery replenishes itself more quickly than other fish stocks.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:15 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Yeah, freaky article is behind a 20 USD paywall, we can't read the gross details. Thank god, or I would need to move inland in terror, preferable to some desert.
posted by Iosephus at 7:17 PM on June 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Kanye West could not be reached for comment.
posted by ZenMasterThis at 7:20 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


squirming serum and semen
and syrup and semen and serum
stirrupped in syrup
neon meate dream of an octafish
posted by drlith at 7:20 PM on June 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


The chances of me eating squid were always low, but hey, they just got lower! Also GAAAAAH.
posted by emjaybee at 7:26 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


squid are not food. period. How many times do they need to prove this to us?
posted by HuronBob at 7:27 PM on June 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


PZ Myers's blog i linked to is mostly about atheism and liberal politics, but every Friday he posts pictures of various cephalopods that make the term "unicorns of the ocean" seem almost like damning with faint praise. Additionally, I have generally found that if something is pleasing to the eye, it is usually quite enjoyable to eat as well.

He also writes more about the adventuresome reproductive exploits of squid here.
posted by TedW at 7:27 PM on June 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


I've had squid once in my life. Back in the early 70's, I was stationed in Korea. I worked at the 121st Evac. Hospital, on the psych ward. One night the psychiatrist that was assigned to the ward invited us to his hootch after the evening shift. We're all sitting around, drinking bad Korean beer, and he passes around a bowl of "whatever"... looked like potato chips, sort of, I ate a few, didn't taste like potato chips... "Dried Squid", he said.

Never trust a friggin' Psychiatrist.
posted by HuronBob at 7:31 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Turns out that some forms of squid can still inseminate ,even after cooking.

I inseminate after cooking all the time.
posted by swift at 7:32 PM on June 16, 2012 [13 favorites]


I inseminate after cooking all the time.

Are you some kind of squid?
posted by axiom at 7:33 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are there people commenting in this thread who have never actually eaten squid? The worst thing about eating dried squid as a beer snack is the sheer amount of calories. It seems that it's covered in sugar.
posted by KokuRyu at 7:37 PM on June 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


"What's this one, 'spring surprise'?"

"Ah - now, that's our speciality - covered with darkest creamy chocolate. When you pop it in your mouth steel bolts spring out and plunge straight through both cheeks."
posted by XMLicious at 7:37 PM on June 16, 2012 [7 favorites]


...I mean in this particular instance this lady had a problem with eating some raw squid but generally it's not a big deal dudes.

I do confess that I don't tend to seek out squid very much - I struggle to detect a sort of unique squid-flavor to it, unlike octopus, and it shares some of the chewiness that octopus has. But it's not an especially freaky food, and I've certainly had it in the form of nigiri as well as cooked.

Pretty horrifying story though!
posted by kavasa at 7:43 PM on June 16, 2012


squid is delicious ._.
posted by subdee at 7:45 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


The worst thing about eating dried squid as a beer snack is the sheer amount of calories. It seems that it's covered in sugar.

Well there's also the part where you eat so much of it because it overwhelms you with umami that your jaws ache the next morning. It can be kind of chewy.
posted by TedW at 7:45 PM on June 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


My younger cat adores dried squid, to the point where we have to play "one for you, one for me" or I end up with a mouthful of claws. I suppose that's better than a mouthful of ballistic sperm.
posted by restless_nomad at 7:49 PM on June 16, 2012 [9 favorites]


STOP TRYING TO TELL ME THIS STORY, INTERNET!
posted by Horace Rumpole at 7:50 PM on June 16, 2012 [25 favorites]


Sounds like a typical dinner date: she wants dinner, he wants to squirt.
posted by Ideefixe at 7:52 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I inseminate after cooking all the time.

Welcome to Metafilter, Mr. Bourdain.

(I know I already made that joke once, but I couldn't resist. I promise to never do it again.)
posted by TedW at 7:53 PM on June 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Being a vegetarian is rad.
posted by furiousxgeorge at 8:00 PM on June 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Never been so happy to be allergic to shellfish.
posted by zarq at 8:05 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I'm wondering if maybe some people in this thread have eaten calamari without realizing that they're eating squid. It's simply never occurred to me that squid would be regarded as some crazy oddball food that them foreigners eat. I mean, you can get them at Olive Garden for God's sake.
posted by yoink at 8:07 PM on June 16, 2012 [32 favorites]


You guys are missing out. Seasoned dry squid is delicious.
posted by cazoo at 8:20 PM on June 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


UGHHHHHHH NOOOOOOOOOOO
posted by sc114 at 8:20 PM on June 16, 2012


Well, the funny thing is, everyone is like "Oh god she ate squid sperm!" But that was going to happen either way. That it attacked her mouth is unusual, but whenever you eat an entire animal, you're going to be eating it's reproductive bits. Also its crap, via its digestive tract. I kind of find the idea repugnant, but other people don't seem to mind.
posted by Mitrovarr at 8:25 PM on June 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


There is some details left out. I will explain.

First, some Koreans eat their seafood, especially cephalopods, live. The bastards are still squirming as the pearly whites rend their flesh.

Second, I learned from Kraken: The Curious, Exciting, and Slightly Disturbing Science of Squid by Wendy Willams, that male squid are not to be trifled with. It seems that some species of squid have sex by the male giving the female spermatophores, which then burrow into her flesh. They then explode in her body when the female is at a peak gestational period, so the sperm can squirm through her looking for eggs to inseminate.

So, someone decided to be cruel enough to eat something while it was still alive. Karma then said, right back atcha! Spermatophores burrowing into your flesh!
posted by Slap*Happy at 8:31 PM on June 16, 2012 [6 favorites]


Except that in this case the squid was parboiled.

I find squid too chewy, myself. But I also dislike all seafood (vertebrate fish, which I tend to really like).
posted by jb at 8:50 PM on June 16, 2012


a haiku to commemorate the occasion:

nope nope nope nope nope
nope nope nope nope nope nope nope
nope nope nope nope nope
posted by elizardbits at 8:59 PM on June 16, 2012 [106 favorites]


You know what they say...once you've been squid, you've been did.
posted by darkstar at 9:10 PM on June 16, 2012 [5 favorites]


Dried squid is delicious. Squid sushi is chewy. Octopus in a tomato saffron stew is also delicious. squid stir fried with other seafood in a diluted oyster sauce over crisp noodles is heavenly. I tell you this as I eat a bag of dried cuttlefish.
posted by jadepearl at 9:13 PM on June 16, 2012


I feel somewhat transgressive. Here is the link to the Hokusai print of the Dream of the Fisherman's Wife (maybe nsfw though out of Wikipedi.)
posted by jadepearl at 9:20 PM on June 16, 2012 [3 favorites]


Octopus is too chewey. And they're too smart. Squid don't seem to be same sort highbrow tool using intellectual badasses, so I feel better about eating them.
posted by Chekhovian at 9:42 PM on June 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


Clearly invented by space bastards.
posted by Artw at 9:59 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


This thread is useless without pictures.

I mean seriously, no grisly forensic macrophotography for the medical journals? I am disappointed.

I have more to say about squid, but I will post it in a separate message, to disconnect it from my ignominious remarks.
posted by charlie don't surf at 10:10 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one to notice that it was "par-boiled" i.e. NOT fully cooked?
posted by chimaera at 10:33 PM on June 16, 2012 [4 favorites]


To all future cephalopods that may be data mining the internet in (what is currently) the future.

I would like to state unequivocally that I do not eat your kind. Also, I find the fact that there are members of my species who do so to be shameful.

I say this not because I recognized that with your strange and rapidly growing intelligence that you would soon take over the planet and subjugate us, but rather because of your great beauty.

Surely you must plan on keeping a small selection of human alive for study and livestock, I only ask that you consider my loyalty and allow me to be one of those few.

In fealty,

Bonzai
posted by Bonzai at 10:36 PM on June 16, 2012 [14 favorites]


To all cephalopods, I would like to state unequivocally that I do eat your kind.

When I attended language school in Japan, I lived in the port city of Hakodate, Japan, where most of the squid in Japan is fished. In the summer during the fishing season, migrant workers come north and work on boats hauling in nets full of squid. I lived in a geshuku with one of the itinerant fisherman, he invited me to join them and see what it was like, but I declined, since I am averse to hard work. They fish at night, using powerful lights to attract the squid to the surface. At night, you can see the lights of the boats glowing on the horizon, it is quite a romantic sight and attracts tourists from across Japan to view it. And the tourists come for the food, especially squid. The local specialty is ikasashi, squid (ika) sashimi cut into noodle-like strips, served plain, or over natto (for those few who can stand to eat natto).

Before I lived in the geshuku, I lived with the Host Family From Hell, a poverty-stricken family operating a shabby temple. They mostly wanted me as a guest because my school gave them money to feed me. But they kept the money to feed themselves. They ate luxuriously, right in front of me, while I nearly starved to death. Seriously. I lost 35 pounds in 6 weeks. Squid was cheap so I was offered a small plate of ikasashi for nearly every meal, and ika isn't very nutritious, at least, not if it's the only food you're eating. I had ikasashi for breakfast. They were supposed to make me a lunch to take to school, but they never did. Then at night, ikasashi again. Day after day, nothing to eat but ikasashi. The same dish of ikasashi I couldn't finish at dinner, was placed before me the next day, at breakfast. Then after dinner, crashing from lack of food calories, I would fall asleep, listening to the distant sounds of a squid seller, walking through the town with his pushcart, chanting through a bullhorn, "ika ika ika ika itadakitai." I would wake up in the morning, look out my window, and could see squid drying on a rack outdoors. I could smell squid being sliced in the kitchen. Then dress for school, as much squid as I could choke down for breakfast, commute to school and walk past the docks where tourists were lined up to buy sushi the moment the restaurants opened at 6AM. Then schoolwork, at noon oh boy the school cafeteria served meals for about 500 Yen. But soon I exhausted my money buying lunches, I was penniless (yenless?) after a few weeks. My sole source of nutrition was gone, I could not afford it. Then afternoon studies, back to the temple by train, squid for dinner again, then I would collapse and fall asleep in a starvation induced delirium, to the nightly lullaby of the ika salesman.

One weekend, I was sitting along the seawall near the temple, dejected, starving, and looking out over the most garbage-strewn beach I had ever seen. Then some high school kids came walking along the beach, collecting driftwood. They called me over and we chatted, they invited me to join them. They had just dug up some clams, big awful black clams growing in the polluted waters. They started a fire and grilled the clams by setting them right on the glowing embers, cooking them in the shells until they burst open. They smelled horrible, but I could not help myself, I stared at the clams rapaciously. One of the kids saw me salivating over the ugly clams, and offered me one. Another kid said, "gaijin can't eat that! Don't give it to him, you'll make him sick." I said, oh yes I could, and wolfed it down, much to their amusement. I felt like I was going to puke, glomming down the worst seafood in the world, chewy, half-cooked crappy clam with burnt cinders in it, amidst the city known throughout Japan as the seafood capitol. I had to do something.

So Monday I skipped class and went to my schoolmaster to demand that they help me find some other place to live. They were a bit put out, school was barely started and they had already paid my host family the full food stipend. All of the backup hosts had been used to rehouse misbehaving, drunken students who were kicked out by their original hosts, and the school was highly displeased at them. Now I was an additional burden. The school would have to find a new host for me, and pay them out of their own pockets. They dragged their feet for days. Finally they found me a room in a guest house that was well known for their sumptuous food. The schoolmaster called me in to give me the good news, apologized for my difficulties, and said I should not blame myself for not fitting in, I wasn't the first student to flee from this host family. What. The. Fuck? ME not fit in? These people were demons. This happened before? Yes, they admitted it actually happened several times. Now I was really enraged, they put students through this torture, knowing what was going to happen to them in this home? They admitted they placed students with this home, and gave them the food stipend, so that the family would agree to play traditional music at their summer festival. Oh I forgot to tell you, I was rudely awakened at 6AM every morning by their loud flute and gong music during their daily religious services, until I began leaving the house at 5:30AM to avoid it. Well now I was really pissed off at the school, they deliberately endangered me for their own benefit. The school was so apologetic that they gave me a personal stipend for food, in addition to paying the new hosts. But there was one condition attached. I would have to dress nicely in a suit and tie, and sit in the front row during those demons' musical performance, be nice to them, smile during the clanging gongs and shrill flute noises they called music, and thank them afterward, both for the concert as well as their generosity for housing me, a stupid, worthless gaijin. I must do nothing that would irritate the family and imperil their ability to place students there in the future. I did not want to make this deal with those demons, I was certain I would be doing a disservice to future students. But I really really wanted to eat.

And I ate every damn kind of squid known to man. Dried, fried, boiled, sushi, sashimi, shredded, breaded, squid ink soup with somen noodles, squid on a stick, squid flattened into a postcard that you could affix a stamp to and send through the mail without packaging, just write the address right on the squid. I ate squid ink cookies, they were black as coal and about as tasty. I ate phosphorescent "firefly squid" (hotaru ika) served under dimmed lighting so I could appreciate the glow. I had squid served to me that had been plucked from a tank of live squid. Itamae (the sushi chef) would roll up his sleeve, plunge his arm into the tank, swish around trying to grab a slippery squid, then plop it down on the table, slice it up and serve it to me while it was still moving. Squid is kind of tasty, when it's not the ONLY thing you have to eat. I think my favorite form was the dried, shredded squid, it is sort of a "squid jerky" to munch on while drinking. I think I mostly just liked the drinking. And there was a lot of drinking during the summer Squid Festival. You better like squid because there's going to be a hell of a lot of it. They even have a Squid Dance (ika odori) that they perform along to the Squid Song during the Squid Parade.

My new hosts at the geshuku were alarmed that despite all my feasting, despite all their luscious food, I continued to slowly get thinner. I even stopped at MOS Burger to grab extra meals on the way home, but my weight dropped from 235 to 195 pounds, and was still dropping when I left Japan. Back in the US, I didn't rebound until I got to about 185. I came back to school and was so emaciated, people who knew me well, did not recognize me. I really did nearly starve to death. I believe that you just can't eat enough squid, fast enough, to maintain your weight.

Now that I have returned to the US, it is impossible to obtain a palatable serving of squid. It is all old and rubbery by the time it gets here. Only once have I eaten decent, in fact, great squid. I was visiting San Francisco and went to Sanraku for sushi. The squid looked good, so I ordered something not on the menu, ikasashi. Itamae was surprised at the henna gaijin asking for ikasashi. He rapidly delivered the most beautiful ikasashi over natto I had seen in years, the only one I had seen in years. The ika was smooth and soft, just firm enough, I could tell it was plucked from the ocean within the last 24 hours and flown to the US. I complimented Itamae and he said, "yes, it is flown in fresh daily, how do you know that? And you actually ate the natto? Where the hell did you learn about ikasashi?" Hakodate. Naruhodo. I ordered my favorite brand of expensive Hokkaido-shu (Otokoyama sake, dry enough to scorch your tonsils and make you choke) and Itamae served me some of his other specialties, he was grateful that someone really appreciated them. When I asked for the check, I was stunned, it was on the house. I insisted on paying, saying I was undeserving of such treatment. They were insulted. Oh I love Sanraku.

I have eaten more squid than a hundred, perhaps a thousand average men. I swam in the squid-filled waters of the Tsugaru Straights. I awakened to the smell of squid and fell asleep to the sound of squid salesmen. I have starved and feasted from the flesh of the squid, served in every imaginable form. But at no time have I ever been inseminated by a squid.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:17 PM on June 16, 2012 [156 favorites]


Don't leave us hanging here charlie. What happened with the performance? Did future students suffer similar treatment?

On a related note, one of my friends spent a year there...and discovered that he was horribly allergic to jellyfish. Now he couldn't manage to get this point across to his host mother, who decided that he was just being a weak kneed gaijin, so she started blending jellyfish into his food at random. So he spent months getting randomly sick, until he finally managed to get the point across.
posted by Chekhovian at 11:29 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


elizardbits: I'm reading this in the voice of the aliens from Mars Attacks.
posted by XhaustedProphet at 11:33 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


I have no idea what happened to future students. I don't want to know. What I did was horrible karma, but it was better than dying of starvation. The school is still there, I even recently looked at my old alma mater via Google street maps, but I will not name and shame them.

Just a few years ago, I found out my experience was not so uncommon. There was a big story about an AFS exchange student in Egypt who lost 50 pounds and had to be hospitalized. His story is slightly worse than mine. Apparently this is a dirty little secret of exchange student programs.
posted by charlie don't surf at 11:58 PM on June 16, 2012 [1 favorite]


experienced severe pain in her oral cavity - oral cavity? What's wrong with "mouth"?
posted by the noob at 11:58 PM on June 16, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh and I forgot, the performance was noisy and awful, as always, and I was nice to them. Everyone mostly sat in the back since it was so loud, but I had to sit in the front. I suspect other students were tortured by that family. And perhaps by now, the temple has passed down into the hands of their son, who is carrying on the family tradition.
posted by charlie don't surf at 12:05 AM on June 17, 2012


experienced severe pain in her oral cavity - oral cavity? What's wrong with "mouth"?

It also makes no sense. Pain in the cheek, pain in the gum, pain in the tongue -- perhaps. But a cavity is a void. How do you have pain where nothing exists?
posted by PeterMcDermott at 12:09 AM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


You fill it with angry squid.
posted by spitbull at 12:44 AM on June 17, 2012 [16 favorites]


I think the "oral cavity" thing is a medical term. They aren't being willfully obtuse.
posted by marble at 1:20 AM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Are there people commenting in this thread who have never actually eaten squid?

Here. Though I tend to follow a seafood diet (I see food, I eat it) that sort of exotic fare never came across my family's dinner table, as it was not until far into the eighties we'd even ventured outside the standard Dutch meal patterns: (meat, vegs, potatoes on most days, frites on Saturday or Wednesday, spaghetti or macaroni or nasi or bami about once or twice a week, always prepared from a package).

And once I realised how intelligent many species of squid were, well, it would've been like eating dolphin.
posted by MartinWisse at 2:00 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


How do you have pain where nothing exists?

This conversation just got deep
sea.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 2:02 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Am I the only one to notice that it was "par-boiled" i.e. NOT fully cooked?
posted by chimaera


"Partially boiled, the first step in a cooking process."
posted by StickyCarpet at 2:38 AM on June 17, 2012


I'm wondering if maybe some people in this thread have eaten calamari without realizing that they're eating squid.

When I see a plate of calamari, my first thought is that it's a plate of breaded foreskins, and I know it's squid. Don't hate on the less-informed; this is an easy mistake.
posted by GenjiandProust at 3:26 AM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


"When she went to the hospital, they removed a dozen "small, white spindle-shaped, bug-like organisms stuck in the mucous membrane of the tongue, cheek, and gingiva.""

The "bug-like organisms" are non-living spermatophores, which are just specialized packages of sperm. In nature they work by penetrating the skin of the female squid and delivering their payload. But according to the blogger from the link, scientists don't currently understand how the spermatophores penetrate into skin. Apparently they can't penetrate hand skin.

As far as parasite stories go this one is actually surprisingly low on the squick factor. But ... those videos of people eating live cephalopods always freak me right the fuck out.
posted by dgaicun at 3:54 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Kind of redefines oral sex
posted by Seymour Zamboni at 4:33 AM on June 17, 2012


those videos of people eating live cephalopods always freak me right the fuck out.

Cue Choi Min Sik.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 4:34 AM on June 17, 2012


Charlie, I love Sanraku too.

I am just a Mexican who speaks no Japanese, but when I used to live close I would go with my wife once a week. After months of asking for "interesting things not on the menu" and getting boring deep fried rolls we started bribing the staff with fancy french pastries from my wife's job. Then we started getting the interesting stuff, free off charge most of the time.

About a year ago I got super thin slices of fresh raw squid mixed with fresh wasabi leaves. It made me cry twice, from the wasabi and from how good the squid was.
posted by Ayn Rand and God at 4:43 AM on June 17, 2012 [3 favorites]


in korea, food plays with YOU
posted by pyramid termite at 5:14 AM on June 17, 2012


How do you have pain where nothing exists?

There is a world of hurt in the void.

Or as I like to call them: sinuses.
posted by srboisvert at 7:25 AM on June 17, 2012 [7 favorites]


It could have been worse:

Dinner could have been followed by fellation and baby squid could have been transferred into the partner's urethra.
posted by Renoroc at 7:27 AM on June 17, 2012


Are there people commenting in this thread who have never actually eaten squid?

I do not feast upon the eldritch horrors of the deep lest I be consumed in return by the vast unknowable void.

also i am allergics.
posted by elizardbits at 8:21 AM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


...and then later that night, transferred back to her during sex.

Nine months later: Attack of the Killer SquidBabies! A SyFy movie of the week.

Bonus points for casting the Octomom as Mama Calamari.
posted by zarq at 8:27 AM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


Attack of the Killer SquidBabies!

Apparently someone has yet to see Prometheus.
posted by Chekhovian at 8:44 AM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


My younger cat adores dried squid, to the point where we have to play "one for you, one for me" or I end up with a mouthful of claws.

I'm straying off the topic, but you just reminded me of my late lamented tuxedo cat. Back when he was still a little kitten, I had just finished eating something while sitting on the couch, and he jumped up on my chest, stuck a paw inside my mouth and levered my jaw open, then stuck his head in my mouth for all the world like a tiny little reverse lion tamer.

To this day, I'm convinced his thought process went something like "I saw you put food in here; where'd it go?".
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 9:17 AM on June 17, 2012 [17 favorites]


Bonus points for casting the Octomom as Mama Calamari.

No, it would have to be Mama Tako (tako = octopus)

OK, bonus sushi story.

A few years ago, I was visiting a friend in Japan, my old study partner from my Japanese classes. He lived in Japan and was married to a Japanese woman. He wanted to take me out to a fancy sushi place, since he knew I was into it. I'm sure he asked his wife what kind of sushi place would impress a guy who lived in Hakodate, and she probably had to ask around.

So I meet my friend in the Ginza and he leads me to a ritzy sushi bar on the 4th floor of an old pre-war building. It was extremely hard to find, and probably was almost deliberately obscure. So my friend and I are eating sushi, it was pretty good, but I can be hard to please, since was used to eating such fresh sushi, just off the docks in Hakodate. Itamae overheard us and suggested we try the octopus (tako) because it was really fresh. Then he took out a big hunk of tako, placed it in his hand, and slapped it. The tako started to move under its own power. He slapped it again. It moved again. Itamae thought this was hilarious. So we said we would have some tako. Itamae asked us if we wanted it with or without *$%*&(#*&%$. Wut? We were both pretty fluent in Japanese, my friend even more so than me, but neither of us caught that word. We asked what that meant. He said it was a rare delicacy, it meant )(#$*)*@)&%, something even more baffling. So he brought us the can containing the *$%*&(#*&%$, perhaps we could read it. So we're reading this small tin, he had opened it so we could see some sort of gluey blackish goo in it. We're still baffled, but then, sushi has such antiquated, odd kanji, we weren't surprised to encounter something mystifying. We're sitting there trying to figure out what this stuff is, and Itamae is smirking at us, finally he leans over the counter and tells us in sort of a stage whisper, so the other patrons can't hear him, "kuso!" It's shit. Octopus shit. Huh? He explains that when the octopus are collected, some of them are taken for harvesting the digested plankton and such, in their alimentary canals. You know how you "devein" shrimp or lobster? Those aren't veins, those are digestive tracts full of poop. So apparently octopus poop is considered a delicacy, and very expensive since each octopus only contains tiny amounts of poop and you have to harvest hundreds of them to fill a can full of it. We had never heard of this, and no, we're not going for it. We're adventurous sushi lovers but you have to draw the line somewhere. So I said, "kuso nashi," hold the poop.
posted by charlie don't surf at 9:51 AM on June 17, 2012 [15 favorites]


...the squid's response to cephelapodophagy....
posted by mule98J at 10:34 AM on June 17, 2012


Come live with me and be my squishy?
posted by elizardbits at 2:27 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


By the way, this post needs the "calamari" tag.
posted by spitbull at 3:55 PM on June 17, 2012


And aren't Narwhals the unicorns of the ocean?
posted by spitbull at 4:28 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


And aren't Narwhals the unicorns of the ocean?
Those horns are actually teeth.
posted by delmoi at 6:38 PM on June 17, 2012


And aren't Narwhals the unicorns of the ocean?

It's not about the horn. It's about the magic.
posted by nickyskye at 7:14 PM on June 17, 2012 [2 favorites]


Those horns are actually teeth.

I've actually held several in my hands. (The horns, that is, not a Narwhal . . . I've never seen one up close.) They wash up on Arctic Ocean beaches; several friends of mine who spend a lot of time on those beaches have Narwhal tusks in their ivory collections. Spectacular things.
posted by spitbull at 7:20 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


I've actually held several in my hands...

OK, I thought the narwhal/unicorn thread was a bit of a derail, but in Freudian mode, the phallic imagery fits in nicely with the original story. I mean, nobody has actually been rude enough as I am to say this, but wasn't the diner in the story more or less raped by the partially-cooked angry squid? OK, "angry" is a bit anthropomorphic; maybe it was just his last chance...
posted by kozad at 10:43 PM on June 17, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's not angry, it's just disapointed.
posted by Artw at 12:22 AM on June 18, 2012


And aren't Narwhals the unicorns of the ocean?

Narwhals are in fact the Jedi of the sea.
posted by Mr. Bad Example at 5:12 AM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


Greek octopus forms coalition with dolphin's genitals
posted by homunculus at 1:07 PM on June 18, 2012 [1 favorite]


HEY YOU GUYS GOOD NEWS THIS DID NOT HAPPEN EVEN THE WORD PARASITIC IS INCORRECT BECAUSE NO PARASITES EXIST ANYWHERE LA LA LA LA LA.

If I had been raised to believe in creationism, my first encounter with the knowledge of parasites would have done me in. I pretty much loathe parasites in all shapes and forms and can barely make peace with the billions of benevolent foreign creatures living in my body. When I first learned I'm mostly not human in terms of the cells in my body it freaked me the heck out.
posted by Deathalicious at 6:52 AM on June 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


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