I’ve always loved licorice, and its flavor-cousins, anise and fennel. Maybe this is because my Italian grandmother got me hooked on Stella D’oro anisette toast when I was a small child, or maybe it’s because my mother likes Good ‘n’ Plenty candies, but whatever the source, licorice and I have had a long relationship.

Oddly, however, as much as I like licorice (and I mean the strong black stuff when I refer to it, for, though red vines are tasty treats, they are NOT licorice), I never actually buy it, so when my aunt’s last envelope arrived and included a package of Nordic Salty Black Licorice Fish, I was happy to save my parents and Fuzzy from having to ingest them, though my mother and stepfather did each have one. “Too salty!” they said, and admittedly, I thought this as well, but the thing is, those strong salty squishy fish are sort of addictive.

Well, more than ‘sort of.’

In fact, they’re my new favorite comfort food for the time just before that time of the month, because the salt and sweet and incredibly strong flavors combine in a way that is both repulsive and delicious, if that makes sense. Somehow, they were soothing and satisfying, even with their underlying vile-ness, and if I wasn’t giving up sugar after the holidays, I’d totally buy more.

As it is, I think I’m going through withdrawal.
I wonder if they still make stella d’oro anisette cookies.