Wednesday, December 16, 2009
I'm not sure what happened, but I am scarred for life
A while ago my Majah had given me some baby octopus she thought I'd enjoy cooking. I love octopus, and baby octopus is even better. I've cooked with octopus before and it was not a traumatic or icky experience. The bag of octopus she gave me though was HUGE, and FROZEN. Cooking seafood fresh, and cooking seafood frozen is as different as driving a VW Bettle - not the cute new one, the one all the East Germans had and the Mexicans still use - and driving a BMW.
I took the octopus out the night before and put it in a bowl in the sink to defrost. The next morning I got up and the entire thing was still one solid block. The very outer layer had defrosted and when you touched it it had a jelly like consistency that gave me the heebee-jeebees. It very closely resembled the alien in the movie Independence Day, starring Will Smith and Jeff Goldblum - a fun and exciting film that's still good entertainment after all these years. The frozen blob of octopus was horrific. This was subtle indicator #1 that I should not proceed with the operation. But I was too stupid to heed it, I barrelled on like a crazy Don Quixote against a windmill, completely disregarding the possibly catastrophic repercussions of my actions, or the "Mene mene tekel upharsin" writing on the wall.
I placed it in a pot to boil and left the kitchen. After about 20 minutes a very strong, extremely intense fish smell came wafting from the kitchen to my room. I went running to see what was happening, but nothing could prepare me for what I saw. My entire stovetop was covered in stinky, fishy red liquid. When I looked in the pot there was dark red scum floating and boiling away and random tentacles appearing and disappearing out of the water. Like a horror film! I was nowhere near done. No. We may have been outnumbered 10 to 2, but we were alive and they weren't.
I must have taken 3 mini vomit breaks. I had to call Angie to come help me clean the little abominations. To think that they once were God's creatures, with their repugnant little suckers and revolting gelatinous texture. Go figure. The smell was so strong it permeated my skin, hair, the kitchen walls, the floor, everywhere!
After everything was said and done I created a dish that would have had me kicked out at Top Chef's judge's table. I couldn't eat it - or anything else for that matter - and survived on a diet of cold water and lemon until I could finally stomach some white cheese and tomato. The entire episode was a fiasco and I WILL NEVER DO IT AGAIN. I was under the misguided notion that I was stronger. Angie is stronger than me. She may say, "Ew, gross" at everything, but when it comes down to it she was just fine, while I was holding back vomit and chocking on bile.
Tata for now, and may your day be octopus free!