Cuttle Bone: Cuttlefish, A Tasting Menu + The Cuttlefish Mating Ritual
If you've ever tried the Insalatina Tiepida Di Polipo e Seppia Arrostita Con Carciofi, Asparagi e Fave at Vincenti Ristorante in Brentwood, and we sincerely urge that you make a reservation today, then you are familiar with the exquisite tenderness of cuttlefish, the way its flesh softens, relaxes, and pickes up the subtle smokiness of the wood-burning oven in which it is roasted. Mmmm - warm cuttlefish. We once spent a long, wine-soaked afternoon with an all-cuttlefish tasting menu at a dockside restaurant near the Viareggio, and when we finally left the table, our lips were stained black with ink.
But have you ever contemplated the cuttlefish mating ritual? We confess that we hadn't, at least until we ran across the Oprah-narrated nature show Life on Discovery the other night - New York Magazine called it Hard-core Oprah-Sanctioned Nature Porn.
Some males advertise their general foxiness by causing op-art stripes to ripple across their bodies, making them simultaneously the cephalopod equivalent of John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever and the flashing dance floor on which he struts. Cuttlefish sex itself is the ultimate in invertebrate efficiency: using one of his arms, Daddy Cuttlefish places a packet of his sperm directly into the mouth of his mate. Romantic! And that's how baby cuttlefish are made. Should you come across baby cuttlefish, we recommend boiling them briefly in seawater and serving them with lemon and a few drops of fruity olive oil.