Strange Foods Pt.1: Salmiakki

Another quick intro about my palette before I go on.

I eat everything.

Well mostly everything. Even the most traveled palate has something they don't enjoy. For Sonny, from Best Food Review Show, it's cucumbers. For Andrew Zimmerman from Bizarre foods, it's Durian.

For my own personal list:
- liverspread
- arugula
- and the newest addition apparently being Nordic licorice.

Image result for dutch salted licorice
I got mine at World Market, but you can snag it here. 

My journey to this awful experience began with my sister Jaxx. The conversation went something like this.

Me: You told me Kat was Swedish so I asked her if she ever tried Surstromming.

Jaxx: Don't know what that is but tell her to give you some black licorice.

Me: I've always wanted to try it, it's probably not that bad. Plus you're a picky eater so you don't know shit.

- - -

Me: Kat, Jaxx told me to tell you to give me some licorice.

Kat: Oh, she's trying to trick you.

Me: Nah, I'm genuinely curious, I'm sure it can't be that bad.

- - -

The treat looks unassuming enough, just a black circle dusted with double salt. It has a rich earthy charcoal color, and a slight smell of anise. First thought in my mind — if I can handle a licorice Jelly Belly, I can handle this. 

And yea, of course I handled it.

Handled it badly.

In the 25 years of my existence, I never got the term "acquired taste". Most of the so called weird food did nothing to phase me, even the food's I hated I could chew and swallow and forget.

I honestly thought Kat was pulling my leg, I thought it was some weird Swedish joke they played on dumb Americans because that shit that I just put in my mouth could not have been edible in the slightest.

The astringent taste automatically made my mouth water and I thought, maybe it's like a Warhead, maybe if I keep sucking it will get more bearable. The candy made it taste like I put floor cleaner in my mouth, like whatever I just placed on my tongue should not be made for consumption.

I tried to bite it, but the gelatin just got stuck between my molars, leaving licorice residue that I had to wash down with some other unoffensive food.

Kat was screwing with me right? She couldn't like this stuff, no one could.

I gave her the full bag next morning, admitting defeat beneath my disgust.

She laughed and popped the salty abomination in her mouth, happy to start off her morning with a snack she was familiar with.

Like most foods, the origin of black licorice is a little shaky, but it was thought to come from cough medicine. To make it psychologically easier on the children, they began selling Salmiakki in the pharmacy and the popularity just shot up.

Even though I'm talking mad shit right now, I'm never going to make fun of someone liking what they like (except if you eat steak well-done). It's cute and refreshing to see someone enjoying something that times them to their childhood, something that only the people they grew up with seemed to enjoy. It's like stinky tofu in Taiwan, natto in Japan, or balut in the Philippines.

We always have that one food that most of the world thinks it should not be eaten, and in the Nordic countries, it salted licorice.

Will I give it another chance?

Of course I will.

Mama didn't raise no quitter but sometimes I think she raised an idiot.





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