If cilantro were a historical malevolent dictator, who would it be? Why?
Vlad the Impaler, because he was the most notorious torturer of all time.
My cilantro story, first experience, recent anecdote, rant, etc...
About 30 years ago my then wife brought home some stuff she called Chinese parsley, which is apparently what cilantro used to be called, and presented it to me in something she had made. The taste was so revolting I had to go and brush my teeth to get rid of it. However, the smell wasn't new to me. The first time I smelled it was when a cat had been spraying our house, and I bought some cat repellent to discourage it. It smelled exactly like what I later learned was cilantro, and I could understand why a cat wouldn't want to go near it. It had a flat oily taste that seemed to clog up my senses of taste and smell and lock in whatever the active ingredient was so I couldn't taste anything else. To my astonishment, the cat actually ATE the evil-smelling stuff! Some time after that, in my now former capacity as chemistry professor, I found some kind of ketone (although I forget exactly what) in our stores that had exactly the same revolting smell, so I had identified the chemical nature of essence of cilantro. However, I do like the seeds (known as coriander), since they don't seem to contain this evil substance, and have a completely different taste. Also, for some reason, I am unable to taste the cilantro in salsa. I suspect that this is because it is built right in, rather than being separate, so that the fumes cannot escape and reach my nose.
More about me:
I have the same reaction to the smell of lilies that I have to the taste and smell of cilantro. They smell to me like someone with VERY bad breath, and if I walk into a store that has some on display, I recoil as if I'd been struck.
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