The Absolute Worst Mistake You're Making When Ordering Calamari

Until the 1990s, many Americans thought of squid as fishing bait, not food. It wasn't until someone came up with the idea of calling this many-tentacled rubbery-fleshed mollusk by its Italian name, calamari, that it caught on in foodie circles. Most calamari in the U.S. today is served fried, but it's far from the only way — you'll also find it grilled with gorgeous hashmarks, parboiled and served atop salad, and simmered in fra diavolo sauce, among others. In fact, there is no wrong way to enjoy calamari, with one exception: The worst mistake you can make when ordering calamari is ordering it in. 

Raw squid has a rubbery texture, but it becomes pleasantly chewy when it's cooked either rapidly by grilling or frying or very slowly. However, it can go rubbery again if, after being cooked to just the right doneness, it sits around awhile inside a takeout box. That's why the right way to order calamari is in a restaurant, where there's a better chance it will be served just right.

What to do if you really really want that calamari at home?

If eating in-restaurant isn't in the cards, your best bet is takeout. When you order takeout, you have more control over how long your food sits around compared to delivery. You can make sure to be at the restaurant when the calamari comes out of the kitchen, and you can do everything in your power to get it home to enjoy it as quickly as possible, maybe even sneak a few in the car. The variable will be how long it takes to get home.

Delivery is the least optimal choice when it comes to calamari because that variable could be quite wide. Though presumably, whomever the restaurant has engaged to carry out its deliveries is invested in the food quality, we've all had an order that took ages. And not knowing what's in the box, this could be more likely the case with a third-party delivery service.