I Hate Cilantro

15 Apr

I love food. All types of food. Fresh food, cooked food, fermented food, I love it all. I’ve never been a picky eater and this is an attribute I am thankful for everyday. Food is too fun to restrict.

Even through I’m the furthest thing from picky, there is one food which I can’t stand – cilantro.

Cilantro, technically named coriander, is a leafy herb that looks similar to parsley. It’s used in many cuisines throughout the world, but I typically come across it when I’m eating Mexican food.

People describe its flavor as fresh and light, but I’ve never tasted these attributes. When I eat cilantro, I get a bitter soapy flavor and immediately spit it out.

I thought my visceral reaction to cilantro was a freak thing, until I started asking my family about it. Apparently, my brother, sister and dad all hate the stuff too. My mom stands as the lone cilantro proponent in our household.

My dad, being a man of many answers, claimed that the reason we all disliked cilantro was due to a cilantro-hating gene.

I accepted this as fact for a while, but I recently stumbled over an article that helped shed more light on my cilantro dislike.

Scientists do claim that there is a genetic component to the flavor of cilantro. Cilantro contains unsaturated aldehydes, which are also found in soaps and certain insects.

Therefore, when some people eat cilantro, their brains search for flavor memories of the taste and connect it back to less pleasant items, like bugs. Because of this connection, certain people reject the flavor.

Not only that, but aldehydes also have a specific scent, which also adds to the abhorrence of cilantro.

Don’t worry, if you’re a cilantrophobe like me, there is hope. Apparently, through cilantro exposure, you can reset these flavor memory connections and learn to enjoy the taste.

That day can’t come soon enough. There’s nothing I want more than to dig into a jar of salsa without fear! Which side of the cilantro coin do you fall on?

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4 Responses to “I Hate Cilantro”

  1. The High Heel Gourmet April 15, 2013 at 2:51 pm #

    Hahaha I assumed that you might not enjoy Thai food as much!…I love cilantro isn’t that a connection to eat bugs? People in northeastern Thailand eat bugs but I can’t though. I never get past the “look”…so I never put any bug in my mouth with the intention to eat yet…yukkkk.

    • meganrodkey April 15, 2013 at 8:39 pm #

      It’s weird, I really do love Thai food. For some reason, cilantro doesn’t hit me as much in Thai dishes (which I am so thankful for). If you like cilantro, maybe you wouldn’t mind the flavor or smell of bugs. But I understand not being able to get past the look haha.

  2. The High Heel Gourmet April 16, 2013 at 1:36 am #

    haha…Thai food contains so many stink ingredients, amazing once little bit of each are all blended they become wonderful…if you don’t like cilantro, garlic, onion…no problem…they all will canceling each other out at the end!…Just don’t put bugsssss.

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