Publisher’s Note: Squid Splendor

RIM's publisher, John Palumbo, introduces the April issue.
Publisher John Palumbo
John Palumbo, President and Publisher. Photography by Meaghan Susi.

Did you know the official state dirt of Illinois is the Drummer? How about that Wisconsin’s official state microbe is the Lactococcus lactis? If you really want to impress at your next virtual cocktail party, just drop the fact that Maryland’s official state sport is jousting or that North Carolina’s official state dance is the Shag, a derivative of Gaelic frivolity from the Appalachians.

A few years ago, the national magazine The Week published a list of some of the more bizarre state symbols and guess what clocked in as number one? You betcha’, Rhode Island’s official state appetizer, calamari.

Many of us grinned this summer during the Democratic National Convention with “only in Rhode Island pride” when state Democratic Party Chair and Representative Joe McNamara dubbed Rhode Island “the calamari comeback state.” Within an hour there were more than 100,000 Internet hits on Rhode Island-style calamari.

Senior editor Jamie Coelho has pulled together a comprehensive look in “Calamari Comeback State,” from recipes to a surprisingly logical explanation of why we have claimed this cousin of the octopus as our own. We provide you with a list of some of the state’s best dining spots for calamari, and also squid dishes all over Rhode Island.

The impact on our fishing industry and processing plants is as impressive as well, as Galilee is the number one port for longfin squid landings on the East Coast with an average of twenty-two million pounds of squid landed each year.

I’d also like to take a minute to recognize some folks who over the years have diligently made Rhode Island Monthly the preeminent source for living in the Ocean State. Jamie and her colleague Casey Nilsson have been promoted to senior editors. Both have written countless award-winning stories about our bountiful food scene and candid looks at civic journalism. One-time intern Kaitlyn Murray has been named special editions editor and Meag Susi, art director. I am proud to call them colleagues.

And while Kansas’s official canine, the cairn terrier (there’s no place like home, Toto), may have the cuteness factor cornered, remember that squids have three hearts, making them all the more lovable.

To the Rhode ahead. –J.J.P.

P.S.: If you have a favorite place to get your calamari, log on to and vote in our 28th Annual Best of Rhode Island readers’ poll. It goes live April 1st!