Sunday, July 8, 2012

Cilantro = Ick!

One thing that drives me nuts is how some people can't understand how it is that someone can absolutely hate their favorite food or flavoring.  Take for example, cilantro.  It's found everywhere and in almost all types of food.  But for up to 20% of us it tastes absolutely vile.

This isn't an allergy or an intolerance (except for people actually allergic to it). We won't die from eating it. But the flavor is something that gives us an automatic "this is not food, it's poison" response. Some describe it as tasting soapy.  For me it has a chemical, do-not-eat-this flavor. And I can taste it in very small quantities. It causes immediate gagging and nausea. 

And like the person featured in this WSJ article I can't stand when it's hidden within a food that I normally enjoy. Like salads. If it's used I like it to be left large so that I can pick it out. And I will.  Even if it's chopped up into teeny, tiny little pieces.  Much to the annoyance of The Lovely Spouse, who enjoys the flavor and features it in his salsa recipe. 

But it continues to boggle me that, given 1 in 5 people absolutely hate this ingredient, it's found almost everywhere.  Evidently, I have some good company.  Therefore I'm infinitely appreciative of those who warn customers in advance so that we can request its ommission.  Like Chef Tai, who has a big sign warning customers to request its removal when ordering.

I know there are some among you who believe I'm making much to do about nothing.  But tell me this, would you eat any food that tasted like the contents of a chemical storage locker?  Or a bar of Irish Spring?  If you were served food that tasted like that, without a warning of some sort that it would, would you send it back?

Note: the images from this post came from a google image search and are not my own. 


  1. Hi! I wandered over here from Steam Ingenious...nice to meet another foodie who can't stand cilantro. I grew up in Atlanta and never encountered it until I moved to Dallas. I tried some of a friend's homemade queso and didn't have the heart to tell her she had forgotten to rinse the dishsoap from the serving bowl before using it. Evidently nobody else noticed. Because it wasn't soap, it was cilantro. Ugh.

    1. Welcome, welcome!

      Fabio Viviani from Top Chef gives a hilarious interview where he discussed how much he hates cilantro here:

      Lidia Bastianich of Lidia's Italy (PBS) hates the stuff as well.

      Julia Child also hated the stuff.

      We've got some good company. :-)