Simple is Best
Notes from the Field

It's 10 P.M. Do You Know Where Your Squid Is?

Cookingsquid On Sunday, I went with my family to see my ailing father, who has late-stage prostate cancer. Very late stage. He lives in northern Westchester, and though his home is not all that far away, it always takes a long time to get there. This time, the trip involved multiple forms of transportation—a car service, a MetroNorth train, and a borrowed automobile. The kids never nap well at my parents’ house and they were exhausted by the time we left to return home, after dinner. I was exhausted too, from traveling with the kids and from the draining nature of my father’s last days. I never know when I go to see him lately if it will be the last time I see him.

Traffic was light on the drive home and I managed to keep my eyes open long enough to steer us safely through the Bronx, across the Triborough Bridge, and into our home borough. I am borrowing my father’s car for the week, so after dropping the wife and kids off and helping get them settled, I had to find a parking space. It took me more than a half an hour. All of which is to say that it was approaching 10 p.m. when I got home to confront the fresh squid that was lingering on the bottom shelf of my refrigerator.

I had bought the squid the day before at the Greenmarket. We had been walking in the park and trying to decide what to eat for lunch when my three-year old, Nina, started clamoring for mussels. Mussels are easy to cook, so I headed over to buy some. As sometimes happens to me when I stand before the fishmonger’s offerings, I lost my head. I bought mussels, flounder, and squid. For no real reason other than it seemed like a good idea at the time. The flounder I ate for lunch. The kids had the mussels for dinner, and I planned on cooking the squid for an easy lunch on our trip to visit my father. But I never got around to it. The fishmonger told me that the squid could go one day, and that was it.

I wasn’t really hungry, having eaten some pea soup before leaving my fathers’ (as well as a pile of Thin Mint Girl Scout Cookies on the way home courtesy of my wife, Santa Maria, who poached them from my mother’s freezer). Still I needed to cook up the squid.

I sliced it into rings and heated two cast-iron frying pans on the stove until they were smoking. I poured olive oil in and wondered about the flash point of olive oil (what would I do if it burst into flames?) and then tossed in the squid. I scorched it and salted it. It was great. Done in a matter of minutes. I nibbled some before going to bed and then put the leftovers in the refrigerator, not certain what to do with the rest. I’ll address that tonight, hopefully before ten.

comments powered by Disqus