How to Get Your Kids to Eat Calamari (Sort of)

I think it was my friend Grace who told me about this.  My reaction, and the reaction of everyone I told was, “That is so cool! And really weird.

It really is.  So of course I had to try it.

Realistically, there’s a better chance of my kids flapping their arms and flying to school with completed, nag-free homework and teeth voluntarily brushed  than of them eating octopus and/or squid.

But they do love hot dogs.  And they love spaghetti.  And, as it turns out, they love them made up into pseudocalamari:

Cooked Octopus and Squid

Weird as snake shoes—but tastier.

All it takes is a couple of hotdogs, some thin spaghetti, a pot of boiling, lightly-salted water, and the magic words, “I can’t believe I’m actually doing this.”

I know you’re dying to try it, so here’s how:

Cut hot dogs, sausage, brats, whatever you’ve got, into pieces—but it’s best not to use the cheese-filled ones because we’re not making soup.  I used regular hot dogs and made two octopuses and two squid out of each.

Take four sticks of thin spaghetti and shove them all the way through the octopus pieces and just to the end of the squid pieces.  It’s easier if you do this one at a time and hold the pasta close to the end.  And don’t worry—the results look even stranger:

Raw Octopus and Squid2

“I can’t believe I’m actually doing this!”

Bring the lightly salted water to a boil and drop  those puppies suckers thingies in about eight at a time, and boil ’em for about seven minutes or until the pasta is done.

Octopus Killer

I felt like such a lobster octopus killer.

Next time, we’re thinking about using a shallow steamer basket in the pot so they don’t agitate as much, though the squid did look surreal swimming around in there.

Once they’re done, fish ’em out—I used a pasta server, but a bamboo skimmer would have been much better—and let them rest in a bowl or on a plate.  You might want to keep their little bodies warm under a towel or a pot lid.

Repeat until everything is cooked.

The kids loved them—we all did.  My husband used his fork and wrapped the tentacles around in a neat bundle, but the rest of us used our fingers.  As Sunny said, “Look!  A handle for your spaghetti!”   And Watson had a hankering for Taco Maki:

Taco Maki for Kids

Octopus Roll–Get it?

I only made enough for one hot dog per person, but my kids insisted that next time, I needed to enough so they could take a few to school, too.

And Watson and I were wondering if we could use different pasta for different effects—like maybe sticking Cavatappi along the sides of a brat to make a centipede.

I’m thinking it’s probably a good thing that my MIL is out of town . . .

17 thoughts on “How to Get Your Kids to Eat Calamari (Sort of)

  1. Nice. There’s something Halloweeny about them. They could become Medusa heads!

    Calamari is my son’s favorite thing on the planet. Your girls might not eat the tentacles, but deep-fried rings of chewy goodness, with dipping sauce? Kid heaven.

    • They could be spiders, too!

      Sunny only eats ‘square fish’ rendered inert by breading, though Jane loves salmon and tuna casserole. Neither are big on sauces that aren’t maple syrup . . .

  2. I’ve seen this before! This is exactly one of the recipes I had in mind when I commented on Lyra’s post the other day about creative outlets!

    The only thing that would make this more fun for the kids would be serving it as a picnic–in the bathtub.

  3. I think the sale of hot dogs has risen in Cincy.We have spent hours trying to think of blue sauces without using food coloring–ugh. Finally one person said she would serve hers in the Red Sea.

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