Whilst working in the kitchen where I'm currently employed I've noticed the curious phenomena of everyone having their own technique for cleaning calamari prior to the chef getting his hands on them. This isn't so unusual in itself, it's just that they're all convinced that they know best, and the only way to do a bucket of calamari in under an hour is to rigidly adhere to their style.

This is obviously a load of crap.

So here we go, a simple guide to removing the bits you really don't want to eat.

Regardless of size, the method is the same (unless we're talking giant ship-chomping squid). Take the 'head' (the bit with eyes) in one hand, and the 'body' (the other bit) in the other hand, and pull apart.

You should now have a separate head (complete with tentacles and mess) which you can put to one side for now. Turn your attention to the body bit, it's full of shit (literally) and is covered in skin. Peel the skin off (it should come away quite easily) taking care not to rip off the two little fin things near the top (or bottom, depending on your perspective) - they're perfectly edible.

You should now be holding something resembling a sock with two little fins on it. This sock is full of gunk which you don't want, so pinch the closed end (it's arse I believe) and squeeze all that crap up to the open end, and out into the bin. Poke your finger(s) around inside and make sure you've got all that shit out. Also make sure you remove the spine, which runs the length of the 'sock' and feels like it's made of plastic (bizarrely). You want to end up with a completely smooth interior. Your empty sock is now done, so turn your attention back to the head bit.

Take a pair of scissors (or a knife), and whilst holding the bunch of tentacles make a cut just above the eyes. The aim here is to separate the tentacles (which are edible) from the rest of the head (which isn't, or shouldn't be at any rate). And you're pretty much done. Just check that the mouth / beak bit (in the middle of the tentacles) is removed (it's the small round hard thing that comes out pretty easily).

What you do with it from here is up to you. But you can rest easy knowing you haven't thrown away any bits of perfectly good calamari. Or of course you could just buy it ready prepared from a supermarket. But it's not nearly as much fun. If you're ever stuck on a deserted island with only calamari for sustenance .. you'll be glad you read this node.

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