September 19, 2011

The More You Know Monday: Licorice, nasty nasty licorice

Hey, real quick, thanks so much for everyone who linked up to Storytellers this weekend. Another great turn out. I love seeing who all joins in for hop. I have lots of veteran readers (sounded better than 'old readers', ha) that are always great, and I usually have a few new reads that even I am unfamiliar with! Love it, so diverse.

A big welcome to the new readers, hop you enjoyed the hop, and thanks to all of you old timers that are always great about participating.

It's Monday and I haven't done one of these in a few weeks. So get out your thinking caps and get ready to be learned.

It's The More You Know Monday! Yippeee!

Don't roll your eyes at me. You get excited to learn about something so random that will most likely never come in handy unless you are on Jeopardy one day and and ask Alex "I'll take 'random things no one has interest in' for $1000, please". So there.

For all that I am loving Finland for, there is one itsy, bitsy little bone I must pick with their taste. No, not taste in clothes. I'm all for the skater punk, semi 80s look, complete with the comeback of the mullet. Yes, posting soon about that. Not in music, I've already told you my love of Finnish Reggae.

But their taste in candy. Oh the Finns LOVE their sweets. But, unfortunately, they have some crazy love affair with black licorice. Nasty, nasty, nasty, licorice. IMHO.

No, those aren't rocks, that is the candy (source)
Ok, to be fair, I have never loved licorice. Just recently got myself to even eat red licorice, which in my book doesn't even really count. I was the kid that when I accidentally ate the licorice jelly bean at Easter, thinking it was a grape one, ran around spitting it out. You know what I'm talking about.

But not here. They love the black, salty, super strong and potent licorice. It is by far the most popular candy in the country. It comes in hard forms, in soft forms, in drops, in gum form, in ropes. You name it, they got it.

They even have SM-Liiga (the hubs' hockey league) licorice candy. I thought that was pretty funny.

You leave a restaurant, you don't get mints or sweet candy, you get licorice. Go to a friend's house, a dish of licorice is out. Gum, yep, even gum is licorice flavored. Gag.

I picked up these candies called Salmiakkis. Finnish salty licorice. Salt should never ever be in a name for a candy. (exception: Chocolate and sea salt is yummy, thanks Jordan!)
Don't be fooled by their cute little shapes (source)

I wanted to do a video where I ate them and you saw my reaction. But I couldn't wait after I bought them. I wanted to try a piece, and was hoping that I liked them. Ended up rolling down my window on the way home, and spit out the candy, while scraping my tongue in a very dramatic way. Yes, it was that bad.

Although, I do know a lot of people really like them, so more power to you guys. Just don't breath on me. Even the smell makes my stomach turn.

In honor of the Finns love for the candy, a love I can respect although most certainly do not reciprocate, here are some fun facts about licorice.

· The licorice plant, a shrub, is officially a weed. It is about four feet tall with purplish flowers and grows in hot, dry places. So definitely doesn't grow here, so why eat it?!

· Licorice helps relieve the pains that accompany certain types of ulcers, and it is good for the adrenal glands.

· Manuscripts from 360 A.D. talk of licorice helping eye ailments, skin diseases, coughs, and loss of hair. Alexander the Great and Julius Caesar are on record as endorsing the benefits of eating licorice. Since the 14th century, it has been used to soothe coughs, colds, and bronchitis. It contains a chemical that has cough-suppressant properties. GREAT, looking forward to cold season. Blech.

· Salmiakki is a variety of licorice that gets its name from the relatively large amount of sal ammoniac (Latin traditional name for ammonium chloride, a salt of ammonia) that it contains in addition to the liquorice root extract, sugar and starch or gum arabic that constitute regular liquorice. Ammonium chloride has a spicy taste that vaguely resembles that of sodium chloride (table salt) with a hint of ammonia smell.

Wow, don't think I want ANYTHING that has these compounds in them.

· A study conducted by the Oxford Journal of Medicine took a sample of over 1000 Finnish women who had just given birth. They were trying to see if licorice, more importantly the main sweetener ingredient glycyrrhizin, affected birth weight in humans. While babies exposed to heavy amount of the sweetener were not significantly light at birth, they were significantly more likely to be born earlier.

· And last, but certainly not least gag worthy, the Finns, love them, have come up with a Salmiakki flavored liquor. It basically the exact taste of the candy in vodka form. I almost threw up typing that. As you can imagine, it is by far the most popular shot to order in the bar. I don't like shots, and I definitely don't like this one. Dare I say, it is even worse than Jägger. Now THAT is saying a lot.

Why yes, nothing sounds more interesting at the end of the night than a shot glass full of thick, black liquor. (source)

Basically, it all boils down to this. If you love licorice, Finland is the place for you. I can just imagine that as the new tourism slogan now! And I respect you Finland, and your undying love for the candy. I get it, it is a national treasure.

But please please please, if you see me out one night, do not buy me a shot. My patience for pretending I actually like these things is wearing out.

Have a great Monday, a great start to the week!

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  1. Eww. Licorice is nasty. I don't get how it's considered candy. I remember in elementary school, we got licorice for doing something well, yeah, not a good incentive for people who think licorice tastes and smells like crap. Also, Jager, no thanks, tastes like licorice. bleh. Keep your jager bomb, frat boy. As for salted candy, chocolate bars with sea salt are amazing.

  2. HAHHAHAHAHAHHAH!!!!!!!!! i just had my first taste of the nastiness YESTERDAY!!!!

    my friend from denmark is visiting me and she pulled out lakerol and asked if i wanted one. i made a face and said "ew" and she said "bet you never tried it". she was correct. so, i OPENMINDEDLY put a piece in my mouth and immediately spit it out. f'ing nastiest stuff ever.

    i dont get it. ill stick with peanut butter and chocolate in my candy thanks.

  3. mmmmmm candy, glorious licorice... i always liked it, though from response it's not a favorite.

  4. Hmmm, Salmiak...

    (You might enjoy this:

  5. Noooo I LOVE licorice!!! Especially the extremely salty ones that makes my face wrinkle up like a SharPei

  6. My daughter bit into a Moroccan cookie this weekend with what looked like chocolate inside. Nope. Disgusting licorice. She made that face and then tried to give me her "chocolate" cookie.

  7. Not a fan of black licorice, but love the Australian red licorice.

    As for licorice booze, although I hate the taste of the candy, I can put down a fair amount of Jagermeister. Just sayin'.

  8. There are two things that I consider to be the most horrible, vile things on this planet and I'd rather eat dirt than put either of them into my pie-hole:

    1) Cilantro
    2) Black licorice

    So I feel your pain. And it's just awful that they would do that to perfectly good vodka... That poor, poor vodka ;)

    I'm totally bummed that I missed out on the hop this weekend. I've been in an algebra coma all weekend - and the only fun thing I did the entire weekend was go to Coyotes practice for a few hours. SUCKS! I need to add algebra to that list of the most vile things on the planet. Oh how I hate it... I'm counting down the days - this class is over on October 23rd. Only a little over a month left! So... I'm catching up on everything I missed over the weekend in bloggyland today (whilst I am supposed to be working... shhhh :)

    I hope you have a great week dear!


  9. Man, ya'll are on the ball with comments today. Love it!
    @Jordan - seriously, I don't get it either. I think it is one of those hate it or love it, no in betweeners. Haha, You are right, I stand corrected, choco and sea salt is really good. Or with chilis!
    @Megan - I had a feeling you would be with me on this one. So gross, huh?! It should not be called Candy. You are too funny, spitting it out. They love it up here!
    @iZombie - I knew I would have some licorice lovers commenting :) You would really like it here then!
    @Mo - haha, ok, HAVE to check that out. Why didn't I think up that for my title today??
    @Mrs K - haha, I knew it! All you Scandanvians do. To be fair, I respect that ya'll love it so much and we didn't really grow up with it like ya'll did. Haha, too funny lady
    @Marie - smart girl. When in doubt, pass it on. I love when people go "oh this is so bad, you have to try it" like ummm, no thanks!
    @Jennifer - I like red licorice, mainly because it doesn't taste anything like regular licorice, haha. Well, good for you then, lol. Too funny.
    @Heather - YES! Although, I do like cilantro. But glad you agree with me on the black licorice. Seriously, why ruin a good thing. I saw someone make it with Grey Goose. Total waste!! Well hopefully the algebra went well, and glad that hockey is starting for you!! Count down indeed. It will be over in no time. Good luck until then!!

  10. I LOVE salty black licorice.....send it to me!! YUM!!

  11. Wow, that stuff is so nasty- I CANNOT believe it is that popular! This feature cracks me up.

  12. OMG, this post spoke to me. A few years back one of my fiance's teammates and his wife, who were Finnish, gave me a ride to one of their games (he was hurt). She held out a box with the name Salmiakki on it and offered me a piece. She told me it was a popular candy in Finland, and said nothing more. I didn't want to be rude, and I have a sweet tooth so I took a piece. I almost died. I've hated black licorice my entire life to the same extent as you. They both laughed at me the rest of the car ride. Apparently they'd never met a non-Finn who liked the stuff, and they gave it to me as a joke to see my reaction! Thanks guys!

  13. Ugh, I am not really a fan of licorice either. But I've tried it. I try to avoid it if possible.

    I've always loved your blog. I find new bloggers to read through it. Keep it up!

    A Ladybug's Life


  14. @Tales - can you take an entire country load. Wouldn't mind getting it out of here right now, haha.
    @Shalyn - hey girl! Really bad, like awful. But whatever, just one less sweet to like. Been missing you around, glad the move went well!
    @Rachel - Same thing happened to me at first. With gum. They told me it was way better than licorice at home. Not true, so not true. Haha, that is pretty funny though.
    @Brownbugz - yep, consensus clear, not a North American thing. Thanks Sonia, what a sweet thing to say. Hope you have a good start to the week!

  15. My best friend's hubby is some sort of a Swedish/Polish (I forget) mix and he's obsessed with the black Licorice you speak of. Best friend HATES black licorice. I guess they serve this black licorice salty mess in sprinkle form and sprinkle it on vanilla soft serve ice cream. That? She said is delicious. If you find this combination, you must try it. :)

  16. I think the fact that it's a weed says it all don't you? We have sweets in the UK called Midget Gems (yum yum) which are like hard/soft type sweets. I loce them BUT there are black sweets in them and it can go either way. Some packets have them as like a blackberry flavour (yum) others have them as ...yes... black liquorice!!!Oh the disappointment when it was the latter. Plus they'd then contaminate the lovely red ones just by being in the same bag therefore ruining the whole experience of midget gems. If you've never had any I shall have to send some your way soon. Maybe like a UK sweetie package?! We have some classics!

  17. I am the opposite of Jennifer. I like both types of licorice. However, I really (REALLY) dislike Jagger. YUCK! Sambucca is also not very good.

    I don't mind an Ouzo from time to time though. Or maybe a Pastis.

  18. Egads, it even comes in liquor form? No thanks. Like you, I couldn't care less if I ever had a piece of black licorice again.

  19. Ooh, that sour face that screams that you are in pain and not enjoying what is in the confines of your mouth...I hate licorice. No thank and you. Just the thought alone of Jaeger-makes me cringe as well. Sad I misse the hop, sorry girl. This weekend completely got passed Top Shop entered the world of the CHI ;) HATES ME!

  20. ICK! Never been a fan. To my knowledge licorice, in the states, it that candy that's always left at the bottom of your trick or treat bag that some old creeper gave you on Halloween...

  21. Black licorice is naaasty, no matter what country you're in. Oh and might I recommend for most excellent mullet pictures! I bet some of them live in Finland :)

  22. Oh god, I can't believe they made an awful liquor out of it! Barf! I hate black liquorice too. I quite like the red, but can't stand that black licorice flavor.

  23. @Rachel - ok, I have seen that! If it isn't as bad as the rest, maybe I will give it a try. And video it this time so ya'll can see my awful reaction, haha
    @A Beer - I know, why waste a good thing. And it is tempting in the liquor form. Which is obviously the most dangerous as well!
    @Morgan - is blogger comments being a bia again??? Sorry about that, I have no idea what is going on. Like bitter beer face, but worse. Way worse, haha. I am really going on about this licorice! lol
    @Hannah - seriously, no one ever eats the licorice. And when they do, you wonder what is wrong with the, haha.
    @An Irish - I have seen that site before! I can't even begin to describe the comeback it is making here with the teens. Wild!
    @Meri - hey, aren't you supposed to be in bed resting?? :) The liquor really is the worst part. It is nasty. Licorice flavor with a big salty after taste. Looks like not many readers do actually like it!

  24. wish i had time to participate in the storytellers this weekend... but hubby just got back from two weeks away...

  25. So ... gum, salt, ammonia. What's not to love??!! Wonder how you'd react to that Aussie staple spread - Vegemite??!!

  26. I like black licorice :) I've tried the Finish one before though and that really can be a little strong... I even heard of licorice that you buy to dissolve it in vodka. Maybe that's an urban legend though ;)

  27. @Dubai - no worries, enjoy the hubby at home!
    @Red - haha. I have had Vegemite!!! Salty, different but no where near as bad as I think licorice tastes, lol.
    @Sabrina - very strong! Nope, not an urban legend, that is how a lot of that liquor is made.

  28. i used to hate black licorice, but i kept eating it (not sure why) and then it really grew on me. maybe it's an acquired taste

  29. I got side with you on this one. Any form of black licorice tends to make me gag and reach for the nearest garbage can.

  30. Mm, never been a fan of licorice.. I remember thinking Twizzlers looked so delicious in the commercials as a kid and then I tried it and was like "Fraud!" These taste terrible! haha..
    Perhaps indeed an acquired taste, lol


  31. "If you love licorice, Finland is the place for you."

    HAHA! Water. Up my nose. THANKS LINDS!

  32. @littlejohn - I am beginning to think that too. I have tried a licorice sucker, and it seems that after a while my tastebuds just go numb or I just don't care, haha.
    @Copyboy - then maybe Finland shouldn't be on your list of must sees, haha. I can see it now, 'tourism down because of licorice'
    @Lorena - even the red ones aren't great. Like wax or something, right!?
    @Kym - haha, you are welcome, but at the same time sorry for the impromptu neti pot cleansing :)

  33. Oh man, you're not showing up in my blog roll. I wonder if i'm not showing up on others'...could be why it's been pretty quiet :)

    AAAaaanyhoo. This post really had me laughing. I can't stand black licorice. I'm always disappointed when i get the wrong jelly bean too!

    "Ended up rolling down my window on the way home, and spit out the candy, while scraping my tongue in a very dramatic way." Such a great visual!

  34. I hear you girlfriend!!!!! :o) I think it's also a German thing b/c here, they put fennel seeds in a ton of bread and cracker type thing which, if you've never had, taste like black licorice. Boooo!

  35. I'm just reading this now.... but I have to add the disgustingness of the Licorice ICE CREAM here!!! that, is by far the grossest (is that a word?) of them all. That, and the shots of Salimakki liquor that they take. EWWWWWWW

  36. Eww Eww and EWWWWWWW. I HATE licorice. My step-mom grew up near a little Danish town in California and she would drive up there and make a licorice run for salted licorice every so often. One day I tried it and thought I had just eaten something out of a litter box...covered in salt. GROSS!!! And why, oh, why does one ruin a perfectly good DRINK?!?!?! by flavoring it with licorice.

  37. Sabrina, you either buy the ready-made liquor, or crush and dissolve these, or simplify the process with this.


Whoomp, there it is!