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Squid state: Calamari named Rhode Island’s official appetizer

A Calamari dish. Dominic Perry/Photographer

NARRAGANSETT, R.I. (AP) — Calamari is now the official state appetizer of Rhode Island.

Gov. Lincoln Chafee signed legislation that gives the squid dish an official status in a ceremony Friday at the town dock in Narragansett.

Rep. Joseph McNamara and Sen. Susan Sosnowski both sponsored bills to honor the squid this year, to recognize the importance of the squid fishing industry and promote the state’s food and tourism industries. An effort to do so last year stalled in the Senate.

Friday’s ceremony naturally ended with calamari being served.

Rhode Island chefs saute squid with thin slices of pickled hot peppers and sometimes serve it with marinara sauce on the side. It is a lighter dish than the calamari found elsewhere, which often is deep-fried. Many other states also have state foods.