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Squid #530
(published March 17, 2011)
Ask the Giant Squid: To Prepare Squid for Cooking
Who is Poor Mojo's Giant Squid?
How to prepare giant squid for cooking?

Dear Question Person,

Hi. I'm Trael. My big brother, Jarwaun, do the typing for Mr. Squid, on account even though Mr. Squid got a keyboard he can type on in his fish tank, he mostly would rather shout and swing his arms and tentacles 'round than do the typing himself. Also, his keyboard is in the water, kinda sealed up in like a big clear trash bag, but they can't make computer screens that can go in the water like that, on account of the pressure, so his screen gotta be out here with us, and he says that the parrot-lax from the refractions of the air, and the laminations in the thick glass for his tank, and the water in the tank make his optically perfect eyes itchy-twitchy. Also, a lot of times Rob turn that screen around our way, 'cause it's big and much cooler for Warcraft than his little computer screen, and then we don't always remember to turn it around because it's late when he and Jarwaun is done getting beat by Chinese kids, or whatever.

But, so, my brother Jarwaun does a lot of the typing, but I'm typing today, because Rob couldn't come in and Jarwaun gotta help Mr. Squid run the paper shredders and incinerator before the Taxman comes, which sounds like a superhero, but is actually just a bunch of men and ladies in suits who also are not going to be happy about me working here, or Jarwaun, or Mr. Squid's daycare without the day-care license, or his dog school. There's also a lot of fire harzards, but since there's only maybe one fire inspector around, that's not such a big thing, 'cause he probably mostly spends his time at bars and fish-fry places.

So I get to write this column now, and I also got to pick the question, and I picked yours, even though it's hard to answer, because most of the other questions were lots worse to answer, 'cause they was all about love and people having rashes on their Personal Areas, and also knitting. Lotta lot knitting questions. Just so you know, I ain't never seen Mr. Squid knit a thing, and I've spent lots of time here. Lots.

But your question is a hard question too, on how to prepare a giant squid for cooking, because he don't really cook much. There's reasons for this. One, he says he likes the thrill of the hunt. I don't know how thrilling that is, because the dogs are real crazy scared when they got shooted into Mr, Squid's tank, and then the water pressure makes their eyes bulge and sometimes they lungs come out they mouths, but I guess they kick and twist a lot, like fish dumped out on a dock—Rob says that's ironic, 'cause it's the opposite of fish on a dock, but I think it's symmetrical, like folding a paper in half to cut into hearts or snowflakes or three-leaf-clovers: It's like the two halves of the thing are just the same, even though their opposite.

So, that's one, is that Mr. Squid likes for the dogs to kick and twist and for the blood to spurt. Mr. Squid likes to tear. Mr. Squid likes a long meal, he says.

And two is that to cook you gotta either run the stove, or the microwave, or the toaster oven. Microwaves and toaster ovens are electric, and wouldn't work in Mr. Squid's fish tank—kinda because they are like the computer screen: The pressure pops 'em. One time when Mr. Squid was off in his steel suit walking around doing things out in the city me and Jarwaun and Rob tried launching a microwave into the tank—we launched a whole buncha things, on account Rob was drinking cheap beer and had bought Jarwaun a super-size Starbucks drink and the Chinese man with the food was super late—and it popped like a lightbulb. Poppped like a lightbulb when you drop it on the floor, not like the lightbulbs we shot into the tank; they smooshed real quick, like stepping on a reeses pieces that's been in your pocket for the whole movie and you only find afterword when you's waiting in the long-long line to go pee.

And you can't run a stove in the tank, because that needs fire, and the tank is full of water. We didn't try putting fire in the tank, but it's pretty obvious it won't work.

The third thing is that Mr. Squid doesn't cook because he says it messes up all the best proteins, and is just a cheap way of getting food rotten. If you want good nutrients and proteins, you either gotta eat it "still fighting to wrest a final momentary glimpse of life's variance," or let it kinda go rotten. That gives the umami, which is also why ketchup is good on everything, 'cause it's kinda rotten. That's what Mr. Squid says, anyway.

But for my birthday last fall we had a barbecue at Shady Pines where me and Jarwaun and Pops live, and where we met Mr. Squid back in the day. Pops was on a double shift, second and third, so he wasn't there for the BBQ, but Rob came and Mr. Squid did too, and he cooked us a whole mess of lil pigs, and they were gooooooood! and this is how he prepared:

  1. Here at Mr. Squid's lab, Mr. Squid scrunches down on top of his bottom-hatch, and Rob throws this big lever down and then up real quick, and the hatch, which is shaped kinda like the iris in your eye that gets big and small when you shine a light on it, opens and closes real quick and dumps Mr. Squid into like this big funnel that's on top of his steel walking suit on the next floor down (I didn't see this part, but Rob explained it before, and I've seen the suit waiting for him. It's a scary suit.)
  2. Mr. Squid and Rob go down the big elevator in back, and then Mr. Squid climbs into the back of a Uhaul, and then Rob drives him wherever (although I guess these two parts are what they'd do any time Mr. Squid needed to go out in the suite in the day when the Action 7 News 'copter might see. These aren't just preparing him for cooking).
  3. On the way over they stopped at a bunch of places to get groceries, and Rob spent a lot of time explaining what is and ain't food, or good for people, or good at all, and what gonna traunmatize folks to see or think or eat. (I didn't think about this part, but Rob said that if you preparing Mr. Squid for cooking, this is THE MOST IMPORTANT STEP—he also said I had to put that part in big letters.) And also a lot of talk about which animals are the right ones to eat, and also poison, and poison control, and that "posion control" don't mean ways of controlling people with poison and offering antidotes and then holding the antitodes up in the air just a little highter than people can reach and making them jump for the antidotes. Rob says that lots of times, when Mr. Squid helps, it would maybe be lots easier if he didn't help, on account of how much time you gotta spend preparing for his help, and trying to be sure that his help will be helpful, and then filling out forms and giving testimony and stuff after the helping is done. Also worrying aout witnesses and Action 7 News 'copters. I don't know if anyone says it, but Rob isn't really that old, but his hair is white in patches. Jarwaun says that's from drugs, but I think it's from worrying, and that the drugs is from worrying too. Though he don't do the drugs anymore, really, on account he and his dad got square, which is the way it supposed to be. Except he does drink the cheap beer, and he takes those red bottles of whatever from the gas station when he needs "to be sharp" or he gotta drive late at night. And I don't know if it a drug, or what, but ever since he stopped smoking regular tobacco, he been building some crazy stuff our of Legos. Like, working clocks and whatever. Takes a picture of everything, and he take lots a notes, when they just Legos.
  4. Anther thing you gotta do when you prepare Mr. Squid for cooking is to explain Fire Code Laws, and also how bad the lab's insurance is, and how "we basically can't afford things going off the rails too bad." (Rob wanted me to make sure to put that part in too, cause of the liability.)
  5. In order to cook good, Mr. Squid needs a big Swedish Chef hat, like on the old Muppets, and also a big apron. He's really big in his steel suit, so you gonna have to make that yourself, unless you can maybe buy one that was made for a real fat man, like a Book of Records fat man, or Pops's cousin J'Shawn, who is maybe almost 400 pounds and eats two buckets of Popeyes all hisself at Foruth of July on Belle Isle! The apron gotta say something like "Kiss the Chef" or "Hail to the Chef" or "Where my Kitchens At?!?" At my birthday the apron said "Realty One," but that was because it was made from part of a banner Rob stole off this empty strip mall. But he also attached some shiny raimbow-colored letters that said HAPPY BIRTHDAY, and they caught fire pretty quick, but he was thinking, and that's what counts. He also made me this lego thing look like a little frog, but when you crank a gear, it turn into a bird, but it was "fragile" an' he took it back to "work on it".
  6. The last thing you gotta do to prepare Mr. Squid to cook is to get the grill as far from things that's gonna burn as you can, and to set it up in a kiddie pool, and to fill that kiddie pool with water, and also to warn anyone around about what's gonna happen, and to soak everyone's places down as good as you can with the garden house from the spigot by the office where the old lady that owns Shady Pines sits and listens to her Mexican TV all day.
  7. And you gotta tell him Thanks! and how good the food is and be real happy and excited, even if the food isn't that good, because he real, real sensative about doing things the good and best way all the time. But this one isn't hard, because they lil pigs he roasted were goooooood, and so was his cornbread and beans. He also brought a whole bunch of different kinds of cut-up melons, but that doens't seem much like cooking, so I didn't think it belonged in how to prepare Mr. Squid for cooking.
So that's pretty much everything you gotta do to prepare Mr. Squid for cooking. I don't know why it matter to you, unless you got a friend like Mr. Squid, but now you know, and that's pretty good.

Jarwaun's Little Brother
and Mr. Squid's Friend
Booker T. Washington Academy

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