Today my host family prepared a very special birthday dinner for me — seppie in nero alla veneziana, or squid in black ink. I have had squid ink pasta in the US, but this is a whole different story. Preparation requires dismembering squid, including, among other things, removing their single bone, cutting out their eyes, and cleaning out the inside of their heads, all while keeping their ink sacks intact. Sounds enticing right? I do not think this is something I could make and unfortunately (or fortunately?) I missed the prep time so do not have step by step photos. In its original form, the squid looks like this:
Once the squid is dismembered, it is sautéed for a long time with garlic and onion.
The seppie turns very black from its ink and served with polenta.
I kind of liked it but but had a little trouble eating it when I thought too much about it, or looked too closely at it. It tastes more fishy than any other form of squid I’ve had and it turns your teeth and lips black if you aren’t careful. Never eat it on a date.
Finally, the birthday dinner was capped off with an Italian sweet called cotognata, which is a very nice, light confection made of quince and sugar.
I now begin the final year of my twenties, a thought that makes me queasy. While there is probably no better way to spend it than how I am, I can’t help but feel underwhelmed. I guess there is one upside, as Doron was was kind enough to remind me: