Oh cilantro. You just may be my nemesis.
Yes, this one is for all you cilantro haters out there.
If you are one of four to fourteen percent who cannot stand the taste, you know what I’m talking about. I mean there are some foods I dislike, but they aren’t appalling to me. I can still eat them if I really had to. But cilantro? Pretty appalling. And it’s so annoying.
You see it seems it has a pretty hefty presence on restaurant menus nowadays. Who decided this was a good idea? I really don’t want to be that person – you know what I’m talking about – oh I can’t eat this, oh I can’t eat that. But suddenly, I am that person because cilantro is on everything!
If you are not one of us, you just don’t understand. I try not to make a big deal about it. I’ve tried nonchalantly to inquire about preparation such as “is the cilantro sprinkled on top of the dish?” with a prompt reply of “yes and we would not be willing to leave it off!” HUH? I’ve even had to resort to “uh I have an allergy to cilantro”. Apparently, this was not sufficient and I was questioned if I really had an allergy or if I just didn’t like it. HUH? Should this matter? I’m sorry if you feel removing the cilantro will change the flavor profile of your dish but if I can’t stand the taste of it the flavor profile is already ruined for me.
Don’t they know that we can’t help it? We’re not being picky – really. Research indicates it’s genetic. Yup, genetic. You see it seems all us cilantro-haters have a gene that detects the aldehyde component as a soapy or buggy taste. So tell me, would you want to eat something that tasted like dish soap or bug repellant? I didn’t think so.
So are all of us cilantro-haters doomed to lead a life trying to avoid the cilantro bullet?Apparently not. Some say we can be converted and over time, with different experiences and exposure, the brain’s perception of taste can change. Not a believer? I’m not sure either.
But alas – cilantro has many health benefits! Believe it or not – it’s a potent antioxidant. I know – you mean this bug repellant, soapy tasting appalling herb can actually help fight disease and aging? Yes. And it also has compound that acts as a natural antibiotic that may help kill salmonella.
Okay, here’s what we cilantro-haters can do. Cook it. Mince it. Crush it. Pulverize it. Doing so breaks down the aldehydes and releases those enzymes that taste so nasty. The result? Not so much soap, not so much bug – a little more lemon and spice. And I can admit, I’m not appalled at cooked cilantro, so there is something to this theory.
So I’m not sure that I’m totally ready to take the plunge, but I am considering it. In the meantime, when a recipe calls for cilantro, I just use parsley.
How about you? Are you a lover or hater of cilantro?
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