This section is from the book "The Steward's Handbook And Guide To Party Catering", by Jessup Whitehead. Also available from Amazon: Larousse Gastronomique.
The octopus, or devil-fish. " Next to whales, probably the most bulky animals in the sea are the gigantic cuttle-fishes, with which we have recently become acquainted. Of the largest of these the body would be quite equal to an elephant. They are not seen often enough to enter a list even of extraordinary foods; but smaller cuttlefishes are beloved of many men, especially by Italians; and in the sea-shore markets near Naples yon may find tubs full of writhing octopods exposed for sale. When a purchaser arrives and makes a selection the vender adroitly seizes the fish by the back of the neck, the arms twisting and extending in all directions. It is dropped into the scales, and if approved of the salesman gives it a twist, almost turn -ing it inside out, killing or disabling it in a moment. To see a mess of chopped full-grown octopus served with tomato saner is really trying. When very small the octopus is used as A garnish for fish, and when fried crisp it might be mistaken for macaroni. Neapolitans come properly by their taste for the cuttle, since the Latins ate it, and have handed down a recipe for a cephalopod sausage. Pickled, you may find cuttle-fish arms, suckers and all, among our fancy groceries; and in San Francisco you may buy tons of preserved cuttles.
These are a Chinese preparation of the squid. It is split open, cleaned, spread out flat, and dried and then resembles a Cape Ann codfish slitted into shreds at the broad end. Boiled and mixed with seasoned herbs, a popular soup or porridge results, the taste of which is mildly that of lobster broth".