Thursday, July 3, 2008

Cephalopods...What's the Difference?

So. I see the term 'squid' and 'calamari' on menus a lot. And I see the term 'cuttlefish' in Asian markets. Dried Cuttlefish. I've always thought of it as just 'dried squid', and kind of wondered what the difference between squid and cuttlefish and calamari was.

Well, tonight, I was looking over a tasting menu with some friends from work. We saw cuttlefish on the menu, and it made me think of my unanswered question! Tonight I was motivated enough to look it up in my trusty Food Lover's Companion food dictionary. (Is it embarrassing to tell you that I have that book next to my bed??) Here's what my bible told me.

Squid: As a ten-armed member of the cephalopod class in the mollusk family, squid is related to both the octopus and cuttlefish. Squid meat has a firm, chewy texture and mild, somewhat sweet flavor. Also called calamari, squid can range in size from 1 inch to the seldom seen 80-foot behemoth...

Cuttlefish: Sometimes referred to as the 'chameleon of the sea' because it can quickly change its skin color and pattern, the cuttlefish, which resembles a rather large squid, has 10 appendages and can reach up to 16 inches in length. It can be prepared like its less tender relatives, the squid and octopus, but must still be tenderized before cooking in order not to be exceedingly chewy. Cuttlefish are most popular in Japan, India and many Mediterranean countries...

(For those of you that are curious, under 'calamari', it says "See Squid")

SO. Does that help? I mean, clears things up a little bit, they're similar, and in the same family...ok. But...what else is different? It just wasn't enough for me! I didn't feel satisfied with the answer. So I went online. Seems like the blog world has also tackled this topic before...check it out on Chowhound. Anyone else care to chime in about the difference?


  1. hey jamie, I am still reading (of course) but mostly through a reader so I just popped over to check out the layout :) I am behind in my reading overall as I haven't been on the computer as much this week at home.

  2. You should have asked your Prince William for the points of differentiation...he's very good with the sea creatures!