I Ate Live Octopus

D.J., watch this video of live chickens being slaughtered. It’ll make you become a vegetarian.

No, that’s okay. Not interested.

Don’t you care about chickens being tortured and killed?

(minute long pause to soul-search for an answer) No. I guess I don’t care.

You have no soul.

I’ve been eating animals my whole life and it’s never occurred to me to change. Vegetarianism seems like a real hassle, and I’m one of those guys who would end up with anemia because I’d be too lazy to eat anything other than spinach.

When Chrissy asked me to watch the torture clip on YouTube, I declined. Not because I’m oblivious to inhumane conditions at certain factory farms. They’re bad, obviously. But, did I really care? No.

Now, before you dub me a monster, here’s my  rationale. Yes, I would prefer chickens never be killed at all, much less treated unfairly before slaughter. I’m with you on that. I’m a huge animal person and to see one suffer in any capacity is heartbreaking. I can’t even watch that Sarah McLaughlin commercial, and not because of that depressing song in the background.

But, if I really cared about chickens and their conditional deaths, I’d do something about it. Just saying, “I care!” is lip service.

It’s easy to say you are passionate  about something. Harder to put action where your words are.

I decided to take a socially unpopular stand in that moment with my friend. I was willing to be honest and admit that despite not wanting chickens to be unfairly treated, I must not really care all that much as I’m not doing anything to correct it.

She, however, does care and is taking action. Something called Meatless Mondays. Check it out.

I was in NY a few months back visiting my sister. Dana and boyfriend took Beth and I out to Sik Gaek, a Korean seafood BBQ in Flushing. Sik is  known for their huge pots of boiling broth filled with shellfish.

They’re also known for live octopus.

We were seated next to a group of five Koreans. They ordered before us and got a giant plate of live octopus for an appetizer. They laughed as they videoed each other eating the squirming tentacles.

I announced to my group that I, too, would eat some live octopi.

How much worse could it be from the grocery store sushi that I sometimes  nosh  at 9am on Sundays?

I made a video demonstrating the act, so I won’t describe it much. The tentacles don’t have flavor, so it’s really not that satisfying. They do suction cup themselves to your teeth and gums when you put them in your mouth. That’s kind of a hassle.

The tentacles are all chopped off and presented on a platter. I guess that technically counts as “alive” since they’re moving around like worms. But I think that’s just nerve cells freaking out, so it wasn’t like I was munching down on an octopus’ functioning brain.

When I posted the video on Instagram, I thought people would find it funny and gross. I had no intention of offending anyone.

I had many Twitter replies from people that thought it was cruel and sick. This was surprising because that never occurred to me before I chomped down. I mean, I eat chicken legs, frog legs, turkey legs, etc. These legs just happened to be twitching.

In the video it’s clear I’m showing off. I felt like I had to document  how “cool” I am by eating this Korean delicacy. An ego move, for sure. But hey, I can own it.

Oh, and I finished the whole plate. You can see a few dozen other legs flopping around. I have to eat everything or else  I feel like I’m wasting food. So, even though the novelty wore off after three tentacles, I ate the other thirty.

Ironically, all those nasty Twitter replies got me thinking. I am now starting to explore the idea of eating less meat if that would improve conditions at meat farms. But – I’m not saying I care yet, because I haven’t actually done anything about it. Hopefully I will.

(If you’re viewing with my mobile app, you won’t see the video above. Click over to the YouTube section)

5 thoughts on “I Ate Live Octopus”

  1. Michelle says:

    I am the same way. A friend recently noticed the Kraft Mac n Cheese in my pantry, and proceeded to tell me all about how yellow#5 is evil and homemade mac n cheese is so much healthier and less likely to kill me. I don’t care. Quite frankly, I’m a little addicted to yellow#5. It’s in my Mt. Dew, it’s in my shampoo, it’s in my mac n cheese. Love me some yellow#5. I quit smoking, but I can’t quit my yellow#5. She was shocked. She had also tried telling me what shrimp farmers feed the shrimp. I don’t care. Isn’t it bad enough that I realized that poorly deveined shrimp taste better than really clean shrimp? That’s right, shrimp poop tastes good. It’s so wrong, until you serve it with fettuccine in a nice Alfredo sauce, then it’s so right.

    Oh, and I grew up around cows. Can’t convince me to stop eating beef. Cows are cranky, ornery animals that deserve to be turned into hamburgers. I can’t stomach venison, but I’ll eat reindeer until the cows come home, and then I’ll eat hamburgers until Red Lobster opens up.

  2. Chianne says:

    I really have tried going vegan or just eating less meat before, it lasted for about a day and a half before someone brought up eating at Rax for dinner. Good luck but will power is hard! lol Im rooting for you!

    thoughtsfromparis= genius btw.. your lucky your last name is cool, mine not so much.

    twitter- @_iamchianne_

  3. M. Elizabeth Evans says:

    I was vegan for over ten years. I stopped, not because I didn’t care anymore, but rather because I have a sugar condition AND because I couldn’t see what difference it made. When I stepped back and thought about the fact that meat is a business, I realized that the masses boycotting it does help, a little, in the sense that it curbs demand, but it doesn’t actually change the conditions for the others who are still in-demand and forced to live in horrific conditions (and the conditions are horrific, absolutely inhumane, and if there is a God I am pretty sure he’s sending everyone to hell because we are a vile species). In the end I came to the conclusion that not enough people will stop eating animals to fix things, but I know that absolutely nobody with the exception of psychos agrees with factory farming conditions. Nobody. Not even my hillbilly ass uncles who are all yee-haw and wear wife-beaters. HOWEVER, I do believe that we can make a difference by spending our money wisely, and making it known why we are putting our money in one place instead of another. With the internet it only gets easier to email one company and say, “My friends and family will no longer purchase our meat from you, instead we’ll be going to so, and so, because of your cruel practices. If you decide to go back to humane, free-range, organic, practices, let me know and I’ll gladly become a customer again.”

    My husband and I only buy local, free range, organic, meats from farms that I could seriously drive by and see the animals (you’d be surprised by how many small farms there are that people just don’t know about). I spent part of my early childhood on a farm, and yeah, they killed some of the animals for food every year, but they loved those animals. Ideally, yes, I’d love to live in a universe where we stop killing EVERYTHING (I read a statistic last night that said that by 2030 all African elephants will be extinct due to the huge rise in poaching) for monetary gain. That would be badass and fucking sign me up for that planet! However, until then, humans are dumb and selfish and I doubt the world will suddenly grow empathy and change their eating habits. BUT we can choose where we spend our money, and we can email the shit out of everyone who we disagree with. If the emails come in thralls, you’d be surprised how much corporations will start to listen. One or two? No. But in the thousands, their ears perk up as they see dollar signs fleeing to another company.

    It’s the same with dog cruelty. In the past five years with the internet, dog cruelty cases are getting so much attention that laws are being formed. It’s not like there is more cruelty now than there was 20 years ago, it’s just that now with FB we know about it. When thousands of people call a mayor and state rep demanding that domestic animal abuse become a felony, they listen. I think that taking a moral stand for the helpless is huge, but more importantly is making sure that everyone knows about it.

    And now I’ll stop rambling in your comments to find some Baileys for my coffee. The world is depressing.

  4. Somer Nelson says:

    I’m with ya on this one. I’ve seen those videos of the torture but I still eat chicken. I’m a meat eater and I’ll die a meat eater. I’ve eaten octopus before but I never heard of anyone eating it live. So weird. I would try it. Where were you?

  5. Ronnie Peace says:

    We, as society, can learn a lot from vegetarians. Try adding meat to any of their meals, and you’re mouth will be partying like it’s 1999 (I’m not sure if this has been updated since we ventured into the future, but you get my gist).
    Do you think there is such a thing as Octopi Pie? Presumedly it would be called Octopied or Octopi Squared (a little maths humo(u)r which, i think we can all agree, you cannot count on for a laugh).
    Imagine how full the sea would be and, due to Archimedes Theory, as a result how high the sea levels would be if we didn’t eat octopi, fish, shark, whale fin soup and other tasty meats from the sea kitchen.

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