Is your calamari really calamari? That was the question on public radio show This American Life recently, when they investigated whether meat producers were packaging pork bung as “imitation calamari.”
The highlight of the story was a side-by-side taste test of real fried squid with pork bung prepared in the same manner. The conclusion? People couldn’t tell if they were eating delicious crispy calamari or delicious crispy pig ass.
Naturally, this got me hungry for some calamari.
There are a million calamari recipes on the internet, so you don’t need another one from me — especially if all I’m going to do what so many food bloggers do, copy a recipe and call it my own. Just use this procedure from Emeril Lagasse — and you can skip the “Emeril’s Essence,” which to me sounds as creepy as the phrase pork bung. BAM!
This is easy to do this at home if you don’t mind dealing with a big vat of hot oil. A cast iron pot will work better for deep frying because it holds the heat. Also, if you like your calamari with marinara sauce that’s fine, but you can really get creative with dipping sauces like homemade mayo with garlic, Thai peanut sauce, or even just some sriracha.
Buy extra. I’ve never had any left over.
Anyway, back to the original point: pork bung. Are hog entrails really that much grosser than eating a squid. You ever look at a squid?
There were several mildly disturbing food stories in recent weeks. In Ireland, they discovered hamburgers that contained 30 percent horse meat, and in China — in a story that reinforced every terrible stereotype — the liberation of a truck full of cats headed for the meat market.
Our feelings about food, especially protein, are ruled by our culture and emotions. One man’s delicacy is another’s revolting nightmare. But dipped in a little garlic mayo, is anything really that bad?