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How to Hunt, Kill, and Cook Octopus: An Illustrated Guide

Jack Whitten

If there can be such a thing as an artisan octopus killer, Jack Whitten is it. In an essay for the quarterly Art Lies, he starts with a lesson in evolution: 

“Millions of years ago the octopus had a shell, but they lost it. Since then, the octopus is always looking for a home. They occupy the abandoned shells of other sea creatures, cans and car tires or make their own houses, which I call ‘octopus architecture.’”

From there it’s an experts guide to hunting the “Houdini of the sea” where it hides: “They are addicted to the color white, like a bull is to red,” explains Whitten. “They can’t control themselves. Thus, I always keep a white handkerchief tucked into my wetsuit, which I use to seduce them from their lair.”

Once he’s done that, well, you really ought to just read Whitten’s essay. Here are the crib notes: stab or bite the nerve between the eyes; don’t lose your cool in the cloud of squid ink; and beat your catch at least 100 times against a rock to tenderize the flesh.

Whitten is ruthless. He closes out his piece with this chest-beater of a boast: “I remember once finding two octopuses locked in mortal combat. They were literally eating each other. I caught and ate them both.”

Source: Art Lies

Image by Stuart Horodner.