Giant Squids and Baby Carrots

Did you ever see a giant squid? They are amazing, frightening, real life Monsters of the Deep! There’s a giant squid on display at the Smithsonian Natural History Museum in Washington, DC. It’s been a few years since I’ve been to that museum. I have to remember not to go during the school year when kids and their chaperons swarm like schools of fish all over the museum. Even if the kids are relatively quiet and well behaved as individuals, the sound level of their multitudes undermines the quiet that I need when I check out a monster.

Still, I do plan to see that giant again. She (yes, this squid is a female) is 36 feet long with 22-foot long tentacles. She weighs in at an impressive 330 lbs. That would be an astoundingly large basket of breaded and fried calamari rings! And I don’t want to think about that lake full of hot oil for frying…

This makes me all the more glad that the giant squid was not chopped up for food and her outsized presence is there on display for all of us to see. If you manage to find your way to her exhibit when the kids are not in school, be sure to take a minute and let yourself imagine coming across her when you are snorkeling or scuba diving. You’d be face-to-face with a true-to-life Monster of the Deep.

I used to love the American Museum of Natural History here in New York. It was dark and spooky and filled with the most fantastic, and seemingly fantastical, creatures. When I was a child it was poorly lit and you could look up and discover the skeletal remains of a huge, open jaw hovering above your head.

For a while in the 80s, you could go there on a Friday night and wander the almost empty halls of dinosaurs. It was romantic, in the 19th century use of the word, full of imagination and subjective emotions.

Then came the long overdue renovations and updating of the museum. It came interactive and educational, and out went the creepy feeling that you were in the opening reel of a 1930s horror movie. Everybody seems to love it, but…. It’s lost its monster side.

What do baby carrots have to do with the giant squid?

You know those baby carrots in the plastic bags that they sell pre-washed and ready-to-eat in the supermarkets? They aren’t really baby carrots. They are machine cut big carrots for when you want to eat healthy without the hassle. They are often tasteless and dry. They are not like the real baby carrots that you can sometimes get at the farmer’s market or on the menu of high-end restaurants. Those are super sweet, crooked and surprising. That’s what I liked about the old exhibits at the Museum of Natural History. They were crooked, surprising and often filled with super sweet monsters.


  1. I normally don’t follow links to websites anymore because of the number of times I have been disappointed with the website. Your blog on Giant Squids and Baby Carrots is a good read. The ending is insightful, even though I do buy those bags of ready to eat carrots. I will spend some time reading your other blogs. Thank You!

    Dennis P. McGeehan

    • Candy

      Thanks Denis. I, too, have had mixed responses to various writer blogs and sites. Glad to hear I made the grade!
      And enjoy your carrots — baby or otherwise.

  2. Thanks for an analogy that invites me to see anew what I’ve seen before. By the way, those bagged and round-on-the-end baby carrots are often soaked in sugars to simulate the naturally sweet and young ones found at local markets. The mass-produced ones are not as good for us, especially our kids.

    • Candy

      Second looks at the familiar are always enlightening. Second looks at all assumptions, too.

      Sugar on those carrots! All the more reason to peel and chop your own.

  3. Iris McCallister

    This was a gentle and good read even if it was on monsters. I did not know that about carrots, but in retrospect it is not surprising.

    • Candy

      My definition of ‘monster terrain’ is expansive, but my definition of baby carrots, isn’t. LOL. Thanks for responding to my blog post.

  4. Grrrrr…..Apologies Candy. I thought you’d gone on holiday or something because I wasn’t being notified of new posts. Instead wordpress has been flooding my inbox with millions of notifications about comments on /other/ blogs, wordpress blogs. I wonder if the fact that your site isn’t part of wordpress had anything to do with it.
    Anyway, I’m back!

    • Candy

      Not to worry. But just FYI… this is a wordpress blog, so I should be on your wordpress list.
      Strange but true. Not as strange as the ‘baby carrots’ but strange all the same.

  5. As soon as I read your post I was reminded of the Kraken. Found this :

    I /think/ that’s a diver in the water near the squid’s huge eye.
    The thing that astounds me is that I always thought the Kraken was just a myth, a kind of fishy fairytale, however if these creatures have now been shown to exist then what else from antiquity may be find one day? The bones of a Minotaur? Giants? [or perhaps they were just neanderthals and we’ve found them already]. Big Foot? Perhaps there is a little bit of truth in all those old myths and monsters?

    • Candy

      I think that if anyone needs ‘evidence’ that some monsters are ‘real’ the giant squid is the argument ender.

  6. Metan

    I love an almost empty museum. Curse the crowds, they take all the fun and mystery out of them! Old museums are the best too, interactive displays etc are great but take some of the magic away. I prefer my carrots weird and freaky, not uniform and boring!

    • Candy

      Glad to hear I’m not alone on the island of old museums! The interactive displays really do steal the mystery out of the old curio cabinet model of displays. Carrots, museums, people — all better when they are a little crooked and unpredictable. That’s where the magic is…

  7. I facinated by ocean creatures. It’s good to know more. Thanks! I do wish baby carrots were good for you. They are so easy to pop in your mouth.

    • Candy

      Anything gigantic is considered a ‘monster’ so it’s part of my literary turf. I wish I knew more about giant squids and will make a point of adding them to my growing list of things to learn about.

      You can never have too many monsters.


  1. […] Giant Squids and Baby Carrots ( […]