To the Editor:
Come on, legislators! Pass the Calamari bill. It will take two minutes of your busy schedule. And then get on with the business of the people.
On the surface it does look a bit frivolous, like the major battle over Del’s Lemonade and coffee milk. But like Del’s and coffee milk, calamari is a big part of our culture. And there is an economic impact with the fishing, tourism and restaurant businesses.
Calamari: What a pleasant sounding word. It trips off your tongue like an exquisite Italian aria. Much better than squid, which sounds ugly and sinister.
My father used to bait his hook with the squishy-feeling fish, using it to catch more exotic-sounding creatures of the sea. He tried to get me to bait my own hook, but I couldn’t even look at the monstrosity.
And then I discovered that people actually cooked it and ate it, tentacles and all.
Many years passed. My wife and I traveled to Spain, a country known for its fine dining. We visited the local tapas, where we enjoyed fine wine and small dishes offering up delicacies from the sea.
One of the signature offerings was called Calamari, a tasty, tender morsel served with a variety of sauces, herbs and spices. I loved it…and then found out that it was that same disgusting creature my father used for bait.
We moved to Rhode Island in the ’60s and discovered that just about every restaurant in the state served calamari. The most popular was served with hot peppers, black olives and a bit of olive oil. Equally tasty was the Italian version with the sauce or gravy. Along came the Asian version, served with peanuts and Asian spices. Calamari had risen to new heights in the land of the quahog and the stuffie.
As a restaurant reviewer, I have two tests that an establishment must pass: a good martini and a good plate of calamari.
So let’s hear it for Warwick’s Calamari Kid!
Rep. Joe McNamara is to be praised for recognizing this most popular of Rhode Island’s many favorite delicacies.
May the word ”squid” never be uttered again in polite society.
Don Flower is a long-time reviewer for Beacon Communications. His columns appear weekly in the Warwick Beacon, Cranston Herald and Johnston Sun Rise.