Restaurant blames calamari for athletes’ illness

Restaurant blames calamari for athletes' illness

HOUSTON — On the heels of the NCAA men’s basketball tournament in Connecticut, don’t think about the humble cuttlefish, the sea creature whose slippery reputation suffered some collateral damage in the Huskies’ rampage for the trophy.

The cephalopod slur started at the weekend, when Jordan Hawkins, the UConn star who suffered an hours-long gastrointestinal episode on his bathroom floor early Friday, heroically appeared in Saturday’s semifinals, helping his team to victory over Mostly empty stomach.

After that match, Hawkins revealed the ingredients for his last meal before starting to eat: steak, macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, and calamari.

“I think it was calamari,” Hawkins said at his locker late Saturday, shaking his head. “It had to. I love calamari too. I don’t think I’ll ever eat it again.”

And so calamari became the last humble food to be scapegoated by a star athlete.

Back in 1959, when members of the Oklahoma Sooners football team publicly speculated that a tainted bowl of fruit salad at a Chicago restaurant was to blame. Wide range of uncontrollable vomiting before losing to Northwestern.

Or remember Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers spent the night before Game 2 of the 2002 NBA Finals—a loss to the Sacramento Kings— Room service rumination of bacon cheeseburger. (Bryant, with his typical bravado, told reporters he planned to eat a burger before game three.)

And who in Britain can forget his name in style.”Laznajt,” when 11 Tottenham Hotspur players – all of whom indulged in classic Italian comfort food from the hotel buffet – fell seriously ill in their rooms before losing their final game of 2006 that cost them a Champions League place.

Michael Carrick, one of the players, vividly wrote in his autobiography: “It felt like a fire was being lit in my gut as petrol was poured over it over and over again.”

In this regard, Hawkins and O’Conn fared somewhat better. The Rise was eventually contained to one player, life went on, and the Huskies won the championship. Hawkins, an NBA player, contributed 16 points in Monday night’s Final.

Instead, it was the Houston restaurant scene and squid lovers around the world who were left dealing with some minor fallout from the episode.

Hawkins, who spent the day isolated from his teammates, did not say which restaurant he had eaten the calamari in question. Nor the team. But a journalist for a pitch exit reported on Twitter That the Huskies dined as a group Thursday night at Mastro’s Steakhouse, a trendy Houston restaurant. By Sunday afternoon, that information had been picked up by several outlets and circulated on social media, with the original tweet having been viewed more than 700,000 times.

And so the restaurant broke its silence on Monday to defend itself.

“Over the Final Four weekend, we sold out nearly 100 orders of calamari with no sickness calls,” a representative for the restaurant told The New York Times. “The basketball team dined with us Thursday night and received 13 orders of calamari.”

“How did one person get food poisoning if 13 orders were checked?” The delegate added copies of receipts as evidence.

He said that food poisoning, in general, is really a bit of a problematic concept Cedric Dark, an emergency physician and assistant professor at Baylor College of Medicine. The problem is that the phrase has become a catch-all term thrown around for all sorts of stomach issues, from bacterial and viral infections to bad indigestion.

What we consider before using anonymous sources. Do you know the information sources? What is their motive for telling us? Has it proven reliable in the past? Can we confirm the information? Even as it satisfies these questions, The Times uses anonymous sources as a last resort. The reporter and at least one editor know the identity of the source.

According to an old chestnut that recurs in both gastroenterology and food service, pinpointing the source of digestive distress is more difficult than laypeople realize, given that symptoms can begin several hours after eating something legally casual, or even several days later.

“It must be calamari?” dark said. “How do we know it wasn’t steak?”

The world of sports in general can be an unpleasant place, and food items from around the world are constantly blamed for athletes’ personal struggles.

For example, the long-running narrative about Michael Jordan’s “flu game” — Game Five of the 1998 NBA Finals — underwent a culinary revision in 2020, when the former Chicago Bulls star claimed a bout of digestive misery. Suspicious pizza It was delivered to his room the night before the match.

In 2021, American runner Shelby Houlihan tested positive for nandrolone, a banned steroid, and blamed it on an unusual pork burrito that she said she ordered from a Mexican food truck.

A different (and equally delicious) pork dish was dedicated in 2010, when Chinese judo champion Tong Wen tested positive for clenbuterol, another unauthorized substance, and was stripped of her world title.

“She trained in Europe for a while and was tired of European food, so we gave her a lot of pork chops when she came home,” Tong’s trainer Wu Weifeng said at the time.

This way food is always an easy target. And restaurants in particular are used to jumping to medical conclusions about the things they eat.

“They always blame the oysters,” he said, “never the crown.” Jim Goosen, president of Gulf Seafood Corporation (and “the dean of seafood in town,” according to the Houston Chronicle), who has opened several restaurants in his career. “Isn’t that the truth?”

But the Calamari had no shortage of defenders this week.

John Borderie, Executive Chef Iggy Pass In Warwick, Rhode Island, he said squid is one of the easier proteins to work with because it’s easy to tell when it’s gone rancid—and quickly goes rancid—and because it’s easy to cook.

Bordieri, who became famous on the Internet in 2020 for Seriously elevate the fried calamari On camera during the Democratic National Convention, a quirky but fail-proof way to fry squid to perfection.

“I dropped the calamari into the fryer, the audience seems to be applauding,” said Borderie. “And once the crowd stops applauding, that’s when you pull the calamari up. It sounds funny, but it works.”

Fried calamari first took off as a gastronomic trend in the United States in the 1970s. Today squid retains a deft role on many restaurant menus—as a vehicle for an assertive dipping sauce, perhaps, or as a supporting character in some sort of seafood variety.

But imagine a life without calamari. No more salt and pepper squid from your favorite Cantonese restaurant. Many ceviches will lose their textural heft. and say sayonara for ika sushi.

So Hawkins’ claim that he might never eat calamari again was particularly painful for viewers in Rhode Island, where in 2014 fried calamari was considered the state’s “official appetizer.”

said Brianna Hughes, vice president of operations for the company Town docka leading squid wholesaler based in Narragansett.

Mastro’s fried calamari, $21, is served with a zigzag of peppers, pink aioli and a tangy dipping sauce that’s pleasantly reminiscent of the bottled duck sauce from a Chinese-American fast food restaurant. Chunks of green onion permeate the Asian vibe.

On Sunday, a Mastro employee politely questioned the idea that the restaurant may have caused the illness, citing extensive safety protocols. The employee, who spoke on condition of anonymity because he is not authorized to speak officially for Mastro’s, said restaurants in general have been more likely to arouse suspicion when they have some interest rooted against an athletic clientele.

The employee said the Boston Red Sox dined at the restaurant a few years ago when they were playing the Houston Astros in the playoffs. They left, of course, as happy, healthy customers—even if the waiters and kitchen staff were fans of the home team.

Now, if they wanted to drink, we certainly didn’t stop them, said the employee.

Understandably, there was no booze on the Huskies’ delivery, though there were 21 lemonades and seven Shirley Temples.

If Connecticut held an enduring grudge against the restaurant, they didn’t express it. Instead they let their stomachs do the talking. And according to Maestro’s rep, they spoke volumes.

Sunday night, the night before the championship game, the Huskies recalled a shipment that included eight more orders of fried calamari.

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