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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.

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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