Heather touched on her disdain for black licorice very briefly in this post and in this one she refers to it as “The Worst Tasting Taste In all of Tasteland”. I’ve only purchased it three times in the five years we’ve been together and I generally eat it at least 40 feet away and brush my teeth afterwards.

After discovering that Leta had been served black licorice at the hand of her stepgrandfather, I wondered if, given her food issues, she’d want to try it again. I bought a bag of Twizzler® black licorice bites at the grocery store this week. Yesterday during our afternoon snack time I gave Leta some goldfish crackers and a single red Twizzler strand and I grabbed a few nubbins of the black licorice and popped them in my mouth within view of Leta. She watched very closely as if to check that I wasn’t eating M&M’s without her and then replied, “I would like… black.”

Stunned, I replied, “You REALLY want black licorice? Not red? Black? Really? Leta, I will get you some, because that is at least six hundred elephants of awesome.”


She loves the stuff. Loves it. Today was not different, and I got her to pronounce licorice (liquorlish). Then I died from the cuteness. Then I was resurrected by the power of discovery that Leta and I are now an unstoppable licorice team. We have something we can share on road trips and family events.

I’m not sure, but I think I’m getting close to swaying Heather on the black licorice issue. And if I can’t sway her, maybe Leta can. I’m prepared for the years of waiting on this one. Because now I have a tiny smidge of leverage. At long last.

  • leahkay

    I’m all grown up now and still enjoy eating black licorice with my father. Last time I visited him, I took him a special box I’d found at Trader Joe’s. For the record, he thinks red licorice isn’t “real licorice.”

  • Tori

    Not long ago, in a small town in Central Oregon I stumbled into the best thing I’d ever laid eyes on. Black Licorice Ice Cream. This wasn’t vanilla ice cream with Black Licorice bits in it, but instead Black Ice Cream with a strong anise flavor and bits of licorice. Best thing I’ve ever had.

  • stmosquito

    My three-year-old son and I just had the same kind of bonding experience, only it was horseradish that united us. We probable won’t break that out on road trips, though.

  • patatomic

    I can’t stand black licorice, but I do quite enjoy Tom’s of Maine fennel flavored toothpaste.

    Congrats on the victory.

  • srah

    As a black licorice-hata myself, I would recommend that you not get your hopes up about Heather *eating* the stuff, although you might now have some leverage to allow it in the house more often, or in closer proximity to her.

  • littlemy

    I too love liquorice! Have you tried the Belgian stuff called Zout? It’s salt liquorice but not really really salty (unless you go for double or triple zout which I would not recommend). I can only buy it in a shop in my town which sells sweets from all over the world, but maybe you can order it online.

  • Sarah

    This is exactly how I felt the first time I witnessed my toddler eating her guacamole with a spoon.

  • Rose

    Do you think the fact that black licorice has a laxative effect could further sway your lovely spouse?
    Also, a word of caution – too much can cause a drop in serum potassium levels. I’m not sure how much actual licorice root makes it into licorice candy, though.

    PS – did you see that Crocs are now making the most adorable little galoshes for children?

  • Maiken

    Bombay House used to serve candied fennel. You may get Heather to try that because the taste isn’t as intense. There is a new Indian restaurant in Provo that serves the candy!

  • jolie

    you should create an armstrong coat of arms featuring crocs and black liquorlish. after all, he who leads an army must have a flag around which to rally his troops.

    speaking of which: I bought a pair of danskos this week. I’m a pacifist, but I’ll voluteer for clog army nursing duty.

  • DDM

    I. Hate. The. Taste. Of. Black. Licorice. And pot pies. I can’t even look at a photo of a pot pie and not gag. My husband and son love them. They can only have them if I’m not home, and they Febreeze the entire house before I come home.

  • ken .

    If you’re going to buy black licorice, you might want to get the real thing:

    Good stuff.

  • moonrattled

    The power of Dad will be fully realized when she insists her first boyfriend or girlfriend (which ever her preference happens to be) must like licorice and clogs!

  • moonrattled

    P.S. Buy her Panda Licorice. It comes in a black box with a cute pic of a Panda on it. Here’s some dancing black licorice

  • Jennifer in Ohio

    You’re in for a LONG wait.

    I can’t stand black licorice. I can smell it at 20 paces and it makes me physically ill. My husband’s whole family LOVES it. They have yet to win me over. Same goes for tootsie rolls.

    You’ll have better luck getting Heather to wear crocs, but convert her into a black licorice lover? Never.

  • Lynnlaw

    That is awesome. So important for Dads to have common bonds with their daughters. When she is 15 and hates you, it will be the black lic. that will one day bring you back together.

  • Thoughtfloss

    Have you ever gotten that fake coal for Christmas that comes with a little hammer and tastes like licorice? Oh, that’s fun.

    I went through my last pregnacy craving licorice the whole time, but some folks say not to eat it because it can cause labor. Sigh. As soon as I was done, I ate some Good and Plenties. :) And happiness is the black Jujy Fruits.

    My husband hates black licorice.

  • Onc Doc

    Save the black ones for me!

    Rose is right, glycyrrhetinic acid, just one of the compounds in licorice does have a modest laxative effect and can cause hypertension and low potassium levels if taken in great enough quantity. A box of Panda probably won’t do it though.

    To one-off Andy Samberg: Panda + Pibb = Crazy Delicious.

  • schmutzie

    I came across “Black Eating Licorice” at the grocery store last week, so you can inform Heather that all black licorice is NOT necessarily for actual ingestion.

  • monkeyaker

    The taste of black licorice makes me want to dig each of my eyes out with a spoon, stick them in old, sweaty, dirty socks covered in mold and dog poo, stick lemon wedges in the bare eye sockets, and then suck on the eye-stuffed socks, just to taste something else.

    Let me know if that was vague or sounded wishy-washy.

  • Bensmom

    Black licorice makes baby Jesus cry.

    I agree with Heather, it is the WORST. TASTE. EVER.
    Right up there with Nyquil.

    (You know Chuck would probably like it too, then you really would have her outnumbered.)

  • ThatBadgerChick

    Gosh, I’m torn. As a fan of black licorice (preferably salted or in jellybean form), I stand firmly behind you and Leta. But as the mother of a daughter who seems to have sprung fully formed from her father’s forehead, I’d kind of like to buy Heather a drink right about now. Because my daughter is 8, and it’s ONLY GOING TO GET WORSE, the dad and daughter teaming up against mom thing. Ask me how I know. But not until I’ve sobered up.

  • doctor tongue

    I don’t mind black licorice, but I hate Ouzo and other such licorice-flavoured concoctions.

  • Shalini

    i have never tried black licorice, but it looks like where one would load bullets into in a gun…

    I love the way Leta pronounces it “liquorlish” way too much cuteness! I sometimes can’t wait for my lil one to being speaking…

  • lindsayc

    blech to the licorice, but the post was super sweet.

  • Spamboy

    I like black liquorice, partially because it’s the only candy I can consume without other people bugging me for some.

  • Candice

    Not. Cool.

    I too hate black licorish (Stare at that word for about five minutes. It’s silly), but not to the point where I can’t be around it.

    HOWEVER, I have this thing about mustard. I hate the way it tastes, the way it looks (Baby crap, anyone?), the way it smells (Again with the baby crap), everything. Everything about that Devil-Condiment is just repulsive to me. That is why I do not allow my kiddies to eat it. Ever. I sheltered them from it for a loooong time. And then the unthinkable happened. Someone. gave. them. MUSTARD. I was obviously not present at the time, because I would have told that person that they were all deathly allergic to it (Seriously, I’ve done it before). Someone went behind my back and gave them mustard and now they love it. And I am absolutely heartbroken. And really grossed out.

    Tell Heather I feel her pain.

  • Darlin’

    i side firmly with heather on this one. i hate black licorice, jaegermeister, ouzo, anise, black jelly beans and anything else black licorice flavored. you either love it or hate it- no one is ‘eh about it.

  • Kristen Havens

    Yeah, I echo what others have said — if you hate black licorice, you will never change your mind. I’m the same way.

    Olives and pickles (which I love) seem to have similar polarizing effects on people.

  • DoggieDaddy

    The only think black licorice is good for is chucking at bad movies in jujubee form.

  • Nancy D.

    As long as you stay away from all things spearmint… we’re good.

    You can fish out ALL the black jelly beans for me.

  • Panda

    Licorice = bad

    Fennel = bad

    Anise = bad

    It’s not something you recover from. Some people are extra sensitive to bitter (called “supertasters”) things, and licorice hits us exactly the wrong way.

    Sorry if that dashes your hopes, but at least as your daughter grows up, you and Leta can eat black licorice, stick out your blackened tongues and breathe on Heather. That will be good for a few dozen car trips!

  • Vika Zafrin

    If you ever go do any sort of reasonably strenuous activity (like biking) in Denmark, that stuff becomes like crack. There are many brands, too, of the real-deal salty stuff. One of the brands is called Spunk. no joke, except when they bust you with a box of it at the airport.

    Spunkies are like little black commas with eyes, they’re totally disturbing and also tasty.

  • Jon Sagara

    You and my parents love the black licorice.

    Black is tolerable, but only when there’s no red left, and I’m craving licorice. Or, when there’s a shot of waiting to be dumped down my craw.

  • k.

    Not with a goat.
    Not in a boat.
    Not in a plane.
    Not in a train.


    Back home in Newfoundland at Christmastime, something called licorice allsorts would make an annual appearance on people’s end tables. They were the most candy looking candies in all of candyland, to borrow some hyperbole from Heather. They had soft, multicoloured coatings, covered with bright candy sprinkles. Even the tin they came in was pretty, shiny and candylike (to paraphrase PeeWee Herman).

    They had to be the work of the devil, because at their core, their evil, deceitful little hearts were pure, black licorice.


  • ortizzle

    I hate the taste of black licorice. The red stuff, too, when you get right down to it. But I got nothin’ against the rest of humanity that enjoys it. (As long as no one’s force-feeding it to me, who cares?)

    And I loved the bonding story of you and Leta. :-)

  • BigA

    Having married a woman from the land of the Dutch, I have been subjected to black licorice once. ONCE. There are some things God never intended us to put in our mouths. The list is long but you really need read no further than point 1: Thall shalt not place licorice in thy mouth for it is nasty and ye shall hurl.

  • Mark7r0n

    Black Licorice, eww
    Fennell, eww
    J‰germeister, eww
    Asparagus, eww

    I know asparagus isn’t black licorice flavored but it goes along with Panda’s mention of “Supertasters.” I cringe watching people eat this stuff just waiting for them to react like I would. There are foods I dont like, but I can understand how someone could like them such as, oysters, pomegranate, and brie. But black licorice and asparagus are beyond my comprehension.

  • Loralee

    Black licorice tastes like ass.
    Not that I know from personal experience or anything…

  • Jane Southwood

    Black licorice: emphatically yes.
    Red licorice: absolutely no.

  • bazanna

    i can’t believe that the one topic that motivated me to register and comment was licorice. jon, you MUST MUST MUST try these:

    my xmother-in-law used to bring them for me from norway, where she lives. it’s the one thing i miss about my marriage.

  • Eight Hour Lunch

    Jon, here’s the place for your licorice fix:

    If you’re really hard core, you’ll try the salted kind. It just about made me gag the first time I tried it. And then I couldn’t stop eating it. Anyhow, I don’t think they’re that far from you, and their stuff is waaaay better quality than Twizzlers.

  • ThatMelanieGirl

    Black licorice, anise, fennel and ouzo all taste like they are stocked up with Extract of Butt.

    When you find Leta wondering drunkenly around saying “OPA!!” on the streets of Mykanos, you’ll know that her taste for the evil stuff started early.

  • jes

    Oh, Gah. I loovvvveeee black licorice. Have you ever had Panda licorice?

    Sidenote: Twizzlers black licorice turns your poop forest green.

  • Lane Meyer

    We have a candy store here in Long Beach that has over 50 varieties of black licorice. Nibs, cats, coins, you name it…they have it.
    Paul (the spouse) purchased some coins from Holland today and I must say…WOW. Not WOW that is good black licorice…but WOW…I don’t really like that black licorice. BLECK. Gimme black jelly beans…but not the stuff from Holland that costs $7.99 a pound!

  • Torrie

    Black licorice = pure evil

  • Kitt

    O.M.G. Licorice! Ewwwww! Licorice, fennel, anise, all nausea inducing.

    Yay, that Leta loves the taste. Boo, that Heather may be tortured with the smell.

  • becky

    my husband loves the stuff. i couldn’t stand the smell for a long time. but at one point, i started associating the smell with basil, which i do love, and now i can tolerate it. i still won’t eat it though.

  • hiddenexposures

    my boyfriend: xo black licorice
    me: #%@^)#! black licorice

    i am behind heather on this one. my boyfriend also can’t eat it if he expects me to kiss him within a reasonable time of ingestion.

    the black licorice thing came up when i had a head cold and he got me nyquil to take. i had never had it before. had a shot of it and spit it out while dry heaving…he had never seen that kind of reaction before but once i was done grimacing, squirming and heaving, i was able to spit out “uuuuuuuugh! it tastes like licorice! uuuuuunnnngh!”

    i’m sure heather will be satisfied with not sharing that “special thing” with you and leta.

  • Bill

    I became a licorice fan because my Dad liked it. We bought the flat variety that came in a package looking a lot like chewing tobacco. You’d grab it by the corner and pull off a piece.

    An acquired taste.

    However, I think it can lead to an absinthe problem later in life and I do love Pernod and water! (I also avoid it for the same reason.)

    I agree that fennel is poisonous and should be banned as an unnatural vegetable.

    Licorice: Use Responsibly



    I love red though.

  • amypharden

    “Then I was resurrected by the power of discovery that Leta and I are now an unstoppable licorice team. We have something we can share on road trips and family events.”

    Possibly one of the coolest revelations of parenthood. Realizing that despite loving Elmo,(and in my daughter’s case) Dora and the Muppets, your kid really turned out cool. For what it’s worth, your flippant thought made me smile all day.

  • ML

    I LOVE black licorice. Baskin Robbins used to have black licorice ice cream years ago. It was a very dark gray. I think I was the only person who ever bought any.

  • Hemlock

    GO BLACK!!! Way to bring Leta to the ‘dark’ side Jon!!

    Go team!

  • wahrephoenixe

    It’s a love or hate kind of thing. I don’t know of anyone who has ever been able to change their minds about the taste of black licorice. There are some few who don’t mind it (like my husband who can go either way with it), but they are few and far between. It is usually love it or hate it.
    Personally I adore it – although I agree that Nyquil has a very aversive annisette overtone that can make me…well, vomit. And it did just that last winter. But then again, pretty much any liquid medicine makes me want to spew. Except bubblegum iuprofin. Yup.
    Having something that you can enjoy with your kid-pie is worth its weight in high quality diamonds. Recently my 14 year old daughter has started asking for back rubs before she goes to bed. And the fact that she is asking me to be that close to her…well, there’s nothing better. Dang.

  • JWo

    Black licorice has always been my fave. Just had some licorice flavored salt water taffy I got in Myrtle Beach and and now that I’m all out I’m craving it!

  • tenspeedsf

    Difficult to believe, but true: I didn’t have an opinion one way or the other about black licorice until my early 20s. On a trip to Australia I discovered perhaps the BEST candy of all time: Darrell Lee black licorice vines dipped in dark chocolate. Super tasty! A couple months ago Trader Joes started selling Darrell Lee licorice (sans chocolate) here in California. It’s the one treat in our house that is ALL MINE. My husband hates the stuff.


  • beckyz

    blech on the black licorice. big ole BLECH. for me.
    i’m thrilled that you have a partner in crime, but please don’t torture heather with it. that’s just mean. 😉

  • babbling

    ahhhhhhhhhhh poor quality, black Twizzlers. I am eating them RIGHT NOW. It’s still all good. Just like the black jelly beans. I had salted black licorice in Amsterdam in March. I had to stop eating it, before it made me thirsty, which would have been solved by drinking Jagermeister shots, and frankly my ass is too big to be carried back to the houseboat.

  • crazytrace

    G’day Jon..(from Australia)
    You remind me of my husband and his dreams that his children would eat olives with him, and thus outnumber me and my loathing of them. He was slipping them teaspoons of finely chopped olives when they were not long on solids! Talk about dedication to a cause.
    We have 3 girls, and he really only succeeded with one, but it means they now have the right to order a family pizza with half olives.

    I feel the same way about licorice as I do about olives. I’ve been reading ‘Dooce’ for a while now, and I always figured Heather was smart. My sympathies to her now that you have conned Leta into eating that vile stuff!!

  • Anna

    I don’t really blame her for not wanting to eat something that looks like petrified okra. And I like okra!!!

  • monkey

    Black jelly beans are the best! Black twizzlers, not a fan of. (I don’t think it’s the best representation of black licorice.) Those variety bags with the buttons…mmm…good times.

  • Th?©r?®se

    Hee hee hee hee. Little kids. So adorable.

    Poor Leta. Doesn’t even know she’s a pawn. A pawn!

    Oh, and I feel that I should mention that the licorice bits kind of look like nuts. As in… nuts and bolts. You know. *giggling*

  • zela

    Hah…laughed out loud. I’ve sneakily been eating licorice whilst breast feeding my 3 month old in the hope this will predicate him to licorice as my husband can’t stand it.
    In an effort to welcome heather to the fold of licorice lovers you might want to try licorice allsorts…kinda like training wheels for licorice :>)
    I’ve also been eating tinned sardines so that I can share that love with someone else in the known universe…heh heh heh

  • scorcha

    I love, love, LOVE liquorice. It doesn’t feel like you are eating candy. It’s too savoury. A Danish friend introduced me to “Drops” – not sure how to spell that – pronounced Droops. Salty liquorice and so, so strong. It just can’t get better than that.

    So you are leading Leta astray. Only in a good way, I should add. If it is only liquorice. My nightmare is that someone will give my son (4) a Coke. I would almost prefer that he had cocaine thrust upon him because I am absolutely certain he would hate that. Coke though? Brown, sugary, fizzy… Hmm… the day will come.

  • monkey

    I just remembered Sambuca. Licorice taste with a major kick-in-the-ass alcohol content. At least it kicks me on my ass.

  • Charles R. Kaiser

    Have you ever had salt licorice Jon? It’s one of my favourites.

    You owe it to yourself to check out:

  • Solistella

    “Six hundred elephants of awesome” is my new favorite phrase.

  • lap

    Just wait until you introduce her to the glory that is Black Jack gum!

  • cake

    My theory about licorice liking is that it is dependent on your genetic background. Scandinavians and Dutch (like myself) LOVE it- the rest of the world hates it…so if your ancestors were from Northern Europe- that explains it. Leta’s got your genes on this one. It is truly an inherited taste.

  • JDB

    My daughter went through a black licorice blitz when she was 5. My husband adores it: I can’t stand it. Perhaps because it was the only candy available (we were on a cruising sailboat) she devoured about a pound of the stuff and you can guess how much she pooped while on that boat. I don’t know if she still likes it, but she does like Pernod and anise. So do I – just not licorice.

  • Th?©r?®se


    My name looks funny; it ought to read “ThÈrËse.”

    I may be pretentious for insisting on accents, but that doesn’t mean my name is fucked up to that extreme, with copywrighted symbols and umlauts hangin’ out in mid air like that. Just wanted to let you know.

  • SeaOrchid

    Red licorice *isn’t* real licorice. Black licorice is yummmmmy. Especially the Panda kind (you can get it in the health food store/aisle usually).

  • Heather

    I used to hate black licorice, but my Dad always bought a little white bag full of hard black licorice nubs from our local ice cream store. Since we didn’t get a lot of candy, and he wouldn’t buy anything else, I decided to give it a try. I eventually came to love it, though only that kind of black licorice.

    You and Leta should enjoy your shared passion for black licorice. Tell Heather to find some other candy to eat with Leta!

  • ToonGrL

    Oooh, Lap…Black Jack gum kicks ass. And I agree, Panda is much, much better than Twizzlers where black is concerned. Unlike most of the people here(who only like one or the other), I like every type of licorice known to man: black, red, green apple, grape, blue raspberry….MMMM. Now I have to go buy some.

  • ToonGrL

    Jon, you will be pleased to know that this place has a ‘Licorice of the Month Club’. You can choose from red and black, or ALL BLACK.

  • jackr

    “Close to swaying Heather”? “Close”? Jon, your language skills leave me black-licorice-breath-less!

  • karyn

    I’ve seen reference to you trying to get Heather to try Swedish and Danish black licorice, but what you really need to try is Icelandic black licorice. Even I, hater of black licorice, love Icelandic licorice.

    I mean, come on, Iceland made Bjˆrk and Sigur RÛs and the word “berserk”. How can it not make everything, including black licorice, awesome?

  • Helen

    I guess this issue has never come up for me before. I’m definitely more of a black licorice fan but my kids like red licorice, as does my husband. I esp. like the violet pastilles with the tiny litte anise seed in center. Anyway, after reading this post, imagine my excitement when I opened a Lucky magazine that had been sitting around, to discover an entire page devoted to different licorice scented creams, etc. These will not make nice gifts for Heather (though apparently, licorice has good properties for the skin), nor will you likely be tempted but, it was appropo.