Nigella Lawson's Idea Of 'Absolute Heaven' Is A Controversial Recipe

Because food is one of those things that can provoke a "love it or leave it" kind of response, it's not surprising to know that there is a list of foods that people love to hate, which includes coriander, fish sauce, okra, mayonnaise, coconut, pineapple on pizza, and vegemite, per The Recipe. And while it appears domestic goddess Nigella Lawson is one of the Internet's favorite people, they may not share her love of licorice, which shares a spot on that list. (And, no, Twizzlers aren't actually licorice.)

In a recent Twitter post, Lawson posted a photo of a dark dessert set against a dark background with the caption: "#RecipeOfTheDay is my idea of absolute heaven, though I do know it's a divisive one. I'm sorry for the haters, but there it is: Liquorice Pudding, in all its moody beauty." She also shared a link to a page on her website, which delves into the history of licorice (or "liquorice," as she spells it) as a "signature Italian taste" even as she admits that her passion for the flavor is out of the ordinary. 

"I must declare my deep, almost deviant, love for salted liquorice... [I] prefer to have some soft, sea salt flakes (the French fleur de sel is my choice here) to sprinkle on as I eat. I get a frisson just thinking of it," Lawson wrote. However, this has proven to be a controversial move.

Nigella Lawson's love of licorice is echoed by some followers

Nigella Lawson wasn't far off when she described her love of licorice as "almost deviant." The flavor, which comes from a plant known as Glycyrrhiza glabra, has an almost medicinal taste. In fact, its medicinal flavor is most associated with Jagermeister and Nyquil, per NBC News. Marcia Pelchat of the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia says, "As far as I can tell, it's not a learned like or dislike. I don't know a specific gene that is associated with liking and disliking licorice." 

"[But] it does seem to be something that people are born with," Pelchat continued. To add to this, The Washington Post quotes a survey by the National Confectioners Association as saying only three percent of respondents considered licorice to be a treat when they were younger.

While the flavor might be divisive, there appears to be a segment of Nigella's social media followers who are willing to change the way they feel about the flavor. "I don't even like liquorice, but after trying liquorice ice cream in France (with confited prunes and a brandy snap), I was hooked," one Twitter user said. "A Swedish recipe I used made it with liquorice root, and I keep having to convince people that it just doesn't taste how people would imagine." 

Another upped the ante, saying, "I'd rather have liquorice than chocolate – chocolate covered liquorice – obviously is permitted! Love that you love liquorice." Ultimately, the truth about licorice is that it's loved by some and hated by others, but Lawson adores it nevertheless.