|Supporting the Fight Against Cilantro!|
Tell your story
Visitors contribute their cilantro stories...
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"I have hated cilantro since I was a little kid. I think I inherited this dislike from my father. It was always a silent, hidden enemy, waiting for me to bite into my burrito or dip into some salsa. Every visit to a mexican restaurant was like walking through a minefield, but at least it was just a seasoning. I could try to avoid it and I was the stronger force in this battle. But one summer when I was 17 I was working for this... woman. I only call her a woman because science has yet to discover the cilantro-loving alien race she was a part of. Every week she would go around to organic produce stores and pick up these garbage bags full of half rotted vegetables and fruit. She would have me go through them and seperate out what could still be eaten and what could be given to her cows. I really had no issue with the job. I can deal with getting my hands dirty, but this one day I opened up the bag and was faced with a huge pile of half rotten cilantro. It was... I... I can't really talk about it. It's still too traumatizing. I had to dig through the disgusting, green essence of all that is bad to find the other fruits. I felt used and violated. I went home that night and cried.
Please. Stop cilantro before more are scarred. "
- Elise Plyler Greensboro, NC
"Your website could mention more prominently that 'cilantro' is also known as Chinese parsley and more commonly as coriander in Europe, and perhaps add a page describing it. That would encourage a more worldwide reaction to this substance. The only mention I've found of coriander is of the latin 'coriandrum sativum' in the text of this feedback page. That's not enough.
I suggest registering 'wehatecoriander.com'."
- Anonymous London
"This place is sweet! I love the story about the guy who ate the bicycle. Incredible. I'm violently allergic to cilantro/coriander. I ended up in the intensive care unit with a tube down my throat for a week after I ate cilantro. That stuff is poison. How would people who like cilantro like it if I put arsenic in their water supply? That's what cilantro does to me."
- Martha San Francisco, CA
"As the daughter of a midwestern mom whose only cooking spices included salt, pepper, and a bit of paprika, I never encountered cilantro growing up. On an exchange trip to Taiwan in college, I bit into a smoked tofu snack and almost gagged on the horrid, soapy, rotten taste of it. Since it wasn't the only culinary shock I experienced there (did anyone ever eat (or smell) "stinky tofu??"), I didn't really pay much attention. But a few weeks later I encountered the horrid taste again, this time with English-speaking friends, and they told me that I was tasting cilantro.
This happened about 15 years ago. At that time, it was fairly easy to exist in the Northeast without encountering cilantro (as I successfully did for about the first 20 years of my life). Now, however, it seems to be everywhere, not only in the usual cuisines that overuse it (Indian, Thai, Vietnamese, Mexican), but in other places as well. Even the tiniest speck of it can contaminate an entire mouthful for me, and I have sat miserably through many meals while my companions smack their lips on cilantro-y fare.
Recently I bought a bag of pre-washed salad greens "with fresh herbs," and was horrified to feel the sickening soapy film of cilantro spreading across my taste buds with the first bite. I tried to pick through the greenery to pluck out the offending weed, but there was too much of it, chopped finely and hiding in every crevice. I ended up tossing the whole bag, what a waste..."
- Rebecca NYC, NY
"During college I learned to eat and enjoy a wide variety of foods from the far east - Indian, Japanese (raw fish, yum!), Thai, etc. So when I returned to Northern Virginia after graduation, I decided to attempt a new asian cuisine - Vietnamese. Arlington (right across the Potomac from Washington D.C.) has about 10 Vietnamese restaurants within walking distance of each other. I chose one that specifically served pho, which is Vietnamese beef noodle soup. The smell outside the pho restaurant was intoxicating - slightly sweet and aromatic. I ordered what seemed like a safe choice - eye round steak in a bowl of noodles. When I took the first bite I was certain the steak was rotten, or else that the chef had somehow gone ahead and put tripe or soft tendon in mine (two other options for pho). I left thinking that I absolutely hated pho and would never eat it again.
A few years later I was eating salsa and noticed the same taste - and that's when I realized it was actually the cilantro I hated. I went back to the pho restaurant and ordered it sans-cilantro. Voila! Pho is now my favorite food.
My friends and coworkers can't seem to believe that cilantro could taste that bad to me. I was so happy to find this site and see that other people feel the same way! I'd really like to know what the cause of the cilantro distaste is."
- Maggie McLean, VA
"Until now I thought I was alone, but that was okay, because everyone else was obviously out of their minds.
I was a foodie, had been in the business 15 years, and was quite an adventurous eater when I first happened upon cilantro in the 80s. I've eaten octopus, sea urchin, all kinds of edible funghi fresh and dried, and relished the stinkiest of ammonia-fumed Camemberts. I'm game for almost anything (though I've never had coke or a twinkie, come to think of it). I guess I don't hate cilantro as much as others here, because I haven't retched, and the taste doesn't linger, though it is the only food I will pick out of my mouth with my fingers in public. It absolutely ruins food.
I don't remember my first time. It took me a good long while to figure out what was wrong with hippie food, as it first cropped up for me in health and organic food restaurants in San Francisco.
My most revealing encounter with cilantro was on a first date. A suitor made me a salad of fresh tomato and cucumber garnished with a handful of cilantro. I had to admit to him I couldn't touch it. I should have taken it as a sign that the relationship was doomed. It, like the meal, was a disaster.
In the 60s I used to stay with my grandmother. She had some old silverplate mixed in with the her stainless steel flatware. Occasionally I'd end up with a piece of silverplate and inevitably it was tarnished. To me cilantro tastes like blackened tarnished silver - metallic, astringent, and foul. It has a smokier taste than soap, like something banished from the Lake of Fire as beyond evil."
- Miss Poppy Los Angeles, CA
"Oh my God i thought i was the only one...okay you see i hate cilanto. i really do. with a passion. its a running joke with my family and friends. for some reason, not only do i find cilantro absolutely disgusting, it "angers my blood". i literally get into the pissiest of pissy moods when i eat it. it changes the way i fell and it turns me into an angry person. so far, this is the only thing in the world that causes such a reaction with me. i mean im a very happy-go-lucky kinda guy. its like poision, but worse. cilantro is the devil. my girlfriend loves cilantro, what am i to do???"
- Arthur Toronto
"A blurry memory, but important nonetheless, i remember going through my family refrigerator as a child, and grabbing the cilantro to see what it was, and immediately freaking out as the scent got all over my hands and face. it wouldnt go away, and for months after this i could still 'taste' the cilantro everytime i thought about the incident. cilantro is awful, but it doesnt pain me the way it used to."
- Adam T. Los Angeles, CA
"One night a group of us went to what is "supposed" to be one of the best Thai restaurants in Sydney, and the memory of that night will forever be burnt into my memory, in a way that things shouldn’t be burnt into anyone’s memory.
My dislike of Coriander/ Cilantro is not unknown, in fact I've discussed at length my dislike of the leaf of said plant, however find the ground dried root an agreeable addition to many a dish, which apparently isn't entirely uncommon amongst those of us with taste buds.
Anyway, EVERY dish that came to the table was FULL of the dreaded coriander, sometimes shredded so finely, almost pureed, that I couldn’t pick it out and was forced to swallow the vile herb in order to make room in my little bowl for other coriander ridden courses.
When I said something about all the coriander, all the precious princess that had organized the do had to say was “Well, this is a Thai restaurant, what do you expect?” to add even more sting to the evening, I then had to shell out $100 for the displeasure.
- Larissa Sydney
"I was young, it was my first full-time job. I often went out with my friends mid-week and got insanely drunk, as 19-year-olds (in Australia) do... one day I came to work, struggled through the morning and figured the thing to fix me up would be a large, delicious chicken pad thai noodle dish for lunch. Imagine my horror when, halfway through, almost feeling normal again, I took a huge bite of, you guessed it! I had no idea what it was, was something off? I bravely tried to keep eating, only to experience this flavour again and again. How truly awful. On discussing my experience with a colleague, she assured me it was probably lemongrass that was the problem, which led to several more encounters with 'the curly leaf' before I realised to ask for NO CORIANDER in future... on the upside, my future husband and I bonded over the fact that we were the first people either of us had met who don't like coriander. As a couple of other Aussies on this site have confirmed, the wicked herb seems to have appeared in many dishes of all varieties in Australia over the past 10 years....
BEWARE THE CURLY LEAF! "
- LadyInBlack Sydney
"I went over to my friend Lily's house on the promise that she was going to make burgers and that they were going to be AWESOME. Turns out it was actually her mother making the burgers, and the woman walked in the door with a BAG full of cilantro at least as big as her package of hamburger meat. Aparently, in Lily's deranged family, it's totally normal to mix HUGE amounts of cilantro into the raw hamburger meat BEFORE it is cooked. Also, since they don't like the cilantro to sit around in the fridge, invariably they just mix ALL the cilantro they have on hand into the burgers.
This produces two effects. First, as you can expect, burgers that are actually about half plant are pretty disgusting. I had to practically drown the thing in mustard t make it eddible. The other side effect was that cilantro burgers don't hold together like regular burgers, they crumble into little bits while you're eating them. So not only did I eat a burger that tasted like tin-can flavored grass, I got mustard all over my shirt.
- Raygan Houston, TX
"I managed a fastfood Mexican restaurant about 14 years ago. In the mornings, I chopped the cilantro for the pico de gallo sauce. I can still smell it in my nightmares. That horrid smell would permeate everything. I gag just thinking of it. I can't comfortably eat anything that that has cilantro in it and I chose Mexican restaurants by whether or not they have unavoidable cilantro in the salsa. I hate cilantro. "
"At a fancy-pants pizza/pasta place in Atlanta they have a bbq chicken pizza, with cilantro. I always make them swap it out for basil!"
- D Turing Atlanta, GA
"I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina. Back in 1989, Cilantro was an almost exotic thing to know about here, but I happened to live for half a year in Bogotá, Colombia, and stumble upon this kitchen plague. I must say that it took me a long while to find that there was something wrong with the taste of every dish, because they actually tasted all alike. One day I rounded my hypothesis that it had something to do with the green pieces that looked like parsley albeit they were not actually parsley. So I asked.
To eat in Bogotá became an ordeal. I began to hate cilantro more and more each day until I started begging the waiters please please please to bring my meal without it. Colombians think it is a heavenly gift, and my petition made me a dangerous person. By month 4 I was like mad.
One day I was brought the same dish of soup with cilantro three times. No one at the table seemed to understand my rage, but I must have heard a voice or something, for I just walked out the restaurant and went home to swear revenge.
This IS kind of revenge, to know that there´s a group of people commited to fight cilantro and vanish it from the face of the Earth, like smallpox.
Here in Buenos Aires everyone´s is merrily innocent of the danger outside, but it´s me here to watch.
And in my opinion it tastes like soap."
- Marcelo Buenos Aires
"The first time I discovered the nasty herb, I was working at a restaurant here in Northern California (as a dishwasher. My first teenage job.)
We received free meals, but the restaurant was a little too 'New California Cuisine' for me and the only thing I thought I could eat on the menu was the Chicken Salad. What a great meal! I thought, with the huge chunks of grilled chicken in a wonderful-smelling dressing.
My joy turned to disgust upon my first bite, where I had unleashed the horrid internal funk of the leafy terror. I brought my own food to work every day after that.
It's been a culinary minefield of cilantro-bombs buried deep in meal after meal ever since. I even had a girlfriend for a while who took it upon herself (the dear) to police my foods at Mexican and Indian restaurants where I would invariably forget to mention my 'special' needs to the waitstaff, lovingly removing most traces for me before starting to eat. Bless her soul.
- Geoscott San Rafael, CA
"OHHHH YAY Im not alone! I friggin HATE those little things. The first time I ever had it, was in a taco, where I must have eaten like a cilantro leaf the size of....of..a tiny TV remote control button. My body froze up as I ceased to care about everything else- even world peace- to figure out what it was in my mouth that I would NEVER eat again.
My ex-boyfriend is Mexican and we always argued over where to go eat. Once he ate cilantro and kissed me on my cheek and I broke out into hives- I looked like bubble wrap.
I heart everyone that hates cilantro. It gives you priority over the rest of the general public. I mean, if I were to choose someone to donate a kidney to or something.
- Andrea Los Angeles, CA
"I am lucky enough to have lived in the hindu kingdom of Nepal. This place has a lot going for it, but one big problem (besides the political intrigue of current events) is that these people infuse everything they make with cilantro. I kid you not.
So, I arrived in this beautiful spot, and I am a guy who just barely tolerates cilantro, and suddenly I am being fed a steady diet of the horror weed. Cilantro with rice, cilantro in muffins, cilantro in salad, in sandwiches, on all meats and cheeses and with all vegetables, cilantro here, cilantro there, cilantro everywhere!
Well, as luck would have it, 2 days in to a 6 month stay I ate one of these cilantro-bomb meals, and also managed to partake in some kind of wild himalayan germ.
I went for a world record that night, in that I threw up for 12 straight hours, from straight projecticle style, all the way down the line to the awful and soul draining dry heaves. I gave everything I had. And then I gave some more. I was a broken man.
And, three days later, when I came out of the fever coma of death, I had one word on my lips. One word to direct all of my hate at. One clear and very present enemy. Because for every minute of that 12 hour barfing marathon of pain I tasted nothing but cilantro. Sure, the texture changed. The viscocity changed. The temperature, frequency, power and pain all changed through the night. But the one horrible constant was cilantro.
I swore on that first day of recovery that I would never eat cilantro again. And by god I have not and wont. Cilantro, you made yourself a powerful enemy that day. And I rest assured that ultimate victory will be mine. "
- Jeremy Nickel, MA
"Ah, I remember it well -- the very first time I experienced cilantro. It was in the early '80s, and the foul thing appeared in a container of take-out Vietnamese food. Perhaps this was cilantro's first appearance in our fair nation; the discovery was not unlike how it must have been the first time the ebola virus showed up.
I didn't know the name of the thing -- can something so repulsive have a name? -- but it was instantly recognizable in future dishes, especially as New York suddenly latched onto it as the Latest Thing. Now no place is safe from cilantro. I wouldn't be surprised if sushi bars started wrapping innocent yellowtail in those noxious green leaves.
A friend once fed me a sandwich that contained a NEST of cilantro. I spit it out.
What really infuriates me is how many people try to argue with me, as if somehow I must be mistaken about my own tastes, that underneath it all I must really LOVE cilantro, because -- according to them -- who could not?
There are other foods I dislike -- avocado, curry. But I can eat them out of politeness or hunger. I think that even if I'd been a member of the Donner party I wouldn't have touched cilantro.
And yet, amazingly ... I like coriander, the seed from the same plant. Go figure.
- Jami Bernard New York, NY
"My story starts with a family torn apart by cilantro, but ends with forgiveness. I call it, “The lady doth protest too much, methinks.”
About a year ago, my brother married an amazing woman. She is a brilliant doctor, a great songwriter, and a wonderful cook. Or at least she could be a wonderful cook, if she would get over her obsession with cilantro. To preserve anonymity, I will call my sister-in-law “Onitay.”
Now to be fair, Onitay’s parents are from Bangladesh, and apparently cilantro is an important ingredient in Bangladeshi cooking. However, one might be forgiven for assuming it would not be a big deal to leave out the offensive herb when one is cooking for one's brother-in-law and his wife--both of whom have the good taste to hate cilantro with every ounce of their being. Especially since generally the putrid leafy reprobate is deposited on top of the otherwise delicious food when it is served. But no. My wife and I must inevitably suffer an extended lecture, presented by Onitay and my brother in tandem, that might be called “How Dare You Not Like Cilantro,” as the price of admission to one of her meals.
To be sure, the meals are always worth the lecture. But why is it that those who lack the good taste and refined palate of cilantro haters must take offense at our simple request to leave the loathsome leafy putrescence off of otherwise edible food?
And then I started thinking. Perhaps the reaction is rooted in self doubt. Could it be that Onitay and my brother secretly wonder if my wife and I are objectively correct in our rejection of cilantro? Could it be that our discernment makes them question their own taste, nay, the very nature of their being? I suppose I should feel sorry for them. After all, blood is thicker than cilantro."
- Dave Washington, DC
"I hate cilantro, I mean I really, really hate cilantro. I love green, and I love everything that is paired with cilantro, I even love the shape of it and the way it grows. But it cannot be trusted. It tastes like metal, it ruins anything in comes in contact with, and the taste sticks to your tongue for days. The first time I had it I thought I was eating mold on some cheese, and then discovered it was intended to be on the dish! "
- Billie Nell La Mesa, CA
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Please contribute YOUR cilantro story.