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Cilantro Haters of the World Unite

April 14, 2010

The New York Times did a really interesting story this week about Cilantro/Coriander and how its properties cause many people to associate it with a chemical, soapy taste and others with a pleasant, nature-like taste. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/14/dining/14curious.html

I’m of the chemical tasting sort. Everyone has foods they dislike, but like the article says, not many foods get the extreme negative or positive reactions that Cilantro can.

I am SICK of people saying “Whuuuut??!! It doesn’t taste like a chemical! Cilantro tastes AMAZING-you don’t know what you’re talking about!” and rolling their eyes when I say I simply can’t eat it and it’s the worst thing I’ve ever tasted.

Although I am also in shock when people don’t like things I love, it is different with Cilantro because people automatically disagree and get in a mini fight about how it does not taste like chemicals.

For me, it’s like “What, so you somehow have had an out-of-body experience, jumped into my mouth and figured out I’m lying for the sake of disagreeing with you?”

I was in Shoreditch last week and we went to one of the 50 Vietnamese restaurants there. Stupidly, I ordered Pho because I forgot that it’s basically Cilantro-flavored water with some noodles thrown in. I got it, took one taste and was like “Oh nooo.” I felt really bad because Adrian was buying dinner that night, so I tried hard to eat it even though it tasted like Windex. I took two more bites and then told him I couldn’t do it so he traded food with me.

Then I had another “Oh noo” moment. While I’m not picky about what I eat generally (the only things I refuse to eat are cilantro, lamb and raw tomatoes) I’m picky about how things are prepared. If it’s meat, it has to be 100% pure meat with no slimy, rubbery, hard-to-eat fat chunks, tendons, or anything that’s going to grind or wiggle on my teeth in a weird way. The beef Adrian got was a pile of beef including all the bits I couldn’t eat, so I had to eat egg-fried rice and spring rolls. It was a nightmare! Now I know what it feels like to be those people who walk into a restaurant and are so picky they can’t eat anything on the menu except chicken nuggets.

Anyway, the point is-it’s scientifically proven that cilantro provokes a survival instinct (to not eat chemicals) in certain people and that’s why they have to spit it out.

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