Tools of the trade: Squid ink

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Chtenopteryx_sicula2_-_from_Commons

I’ve had — and adored — squid ink in pasta and rice, but it wasn’t until I read a review of Matthew Gavin Frank’s Preparing the Ghost, about amateur naturalist Rev. Moses Harvey’s quest to understand the mysterious giant squid (which wasn’t even photographed in the wild until 2012), that it occurred to me one might write with the substance, as well. Per reviewer Jon Mooallem:

Because squid ink is “invulnerable to decay,” people in 19th-century England were able to use the ink of a 150-million-year-old squid to make drawings of its carcass.

Sure enough, here’s an article in Make magazine that explains how to harvest and use squid ink, and a video in which someone writes his name with freshly extracted ink. The Boston Globe also has a nice piece that gives a little more context about the composition and historical uses of various cephalopod inks.

Cool, huh?

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