Friday, June 15, 2007

Licorice Mix

I've always been a black licorice kind of girl. The cool kids-- the ones who liked caramel-- seemed to prefer red licorice, but that just never jazzed me. I always thought the red variety had a sort of Play Doh taste to it. Not that I'd ever turn it down, of course. When my friend Susan gets Twizzlers at the movie theater, I'll certainly have one or two. But I'd never buy it for myself. The other Sue in my life, the kick-ass firefighter garden guru, said she never liked red licorice. She felt like she was eating plastic.

I'm not that well-versed in the realm of red licorice, and until about college or so, I called it "lick-wish." Now that I'm older and wiser, I pronounce it the sophisticated way, "lick-o-rish." It seems there are two schools of thought in the red realm: Red Vines and Twizzlers. I didn't even know about Red Vines until about three years ago when I "met" my Australian candy pal, Debbie. She's a food writer, too, and we exchanged boxes of candy. She requested Red Vines, which I had never even heard of. She had developed a taste for them a few years back when she was living in California.

Anyhow, licorice seems to be playing a part in my life lately. I was at Trader Joe's the other day and I saw this guy in a business suit, standing in a long line, with only one item in his hands: a box of licorice Scotties. Now that's passion, I tell you. He was willing to wait in line in the middle of the day for his licorice fix.

This past weekend, I received a big ol' 5-lb. box of "Fresh From the Factory" red Twizzlers. These are all about texture. One of my dislikes of red licorice is that it can sometimes be way too hard to chew, but these fresh ones were so soft and pliable that they were actually pretty addicting. I can see a red licorice-lover plowing through a bin of these in no time. I, however, decided to share my bounty with the electrician who's been doing some work on my new casa.

"Help yourself to some candy," I said.

"Oh yeah, thanks. I already had some Twisters. I saw them and thought, 'Wow! Twisters! I haven't had those in years.'"

Um. Okay. I can see how you'd call them Twisters. But dude, they're Twizzlers! With two Zs! Ay-yi-yi.

But lest my tastebuds get too accommodated to the red variety, a bucket of Good & Plenty showed up just in time. This is the latest in the "Fresh From the Factory" line from Hershey's. I have to be totally honest here: the fresh idea was great with Reese's and Twizzlers. But for Good & Plenty? Eh, not so much. The appeal of G&P is the contrast of textures: crunchy candy shell, chewy licorice center. But in the fresh ones, the shell isn't crunchy enough. I almost want to take the lid off and expose them to the air for a while.
That's about all my licorice musings for today. I'd love to take an informal poll, though. Which is your favorite: red or black?

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