|Supporting the Fight Against Cilantro!|
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Visitors contribute their cilantro stories...
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"I am a life-long cilantro hater, and, unfortunately, come from a Panamanian family. For those who don't know, Carribean and Latin American food, and specifically Panamanian food, always contains cilantro in vast amounts(actually, in the Carribean and Panama, the foul weed used in cooking is called culantro (sometimes sold in the US as "spiny cilantro"), and is a closely-related plant to what is sold in the States as cilantro, and if you can belive it, it has the same vile taste and smell times 10). While I grew up in Denver, I have spent lots of time in Panama with relatives, gagging my way through meals that everyone else is enjoying. At least here in the U.S., cilantro can be avioded, in Latin America, it plagues your existence.
I am lucky enough to be married to a wonderful woman who also detests cilantro - we met in Costa Rica studying cloud forest ecology with a group that contained numerous vegetarians and hippies (not that there's anything wrong with that per se), who insisted on putting copious amounts of cilantro in every dish we ate. Because the vegetarians felt as though their food needs were paramount, whined the loudest, and voted as a bloc, they controlled the meals. It was rough.
That summer, a group of us decided to spend a week or so camping on the beach on the Pacific side of Costa Rica, which involved a 12 mile trek from where we left the van. Supplies were divided up between the group, and I wound up lugging some of the food items, including the cilantro. About half way to the beach, my future wife and I halted at a bluff, ostensibly to watch some soaring King vultures. When all of the group had passed by, I threw the cilantro off the bluff. The two of us bonded over our little secret, and love was born. The rest of the group never figured out what happened to the cilantro, which lead to frantic digging through packs and prolonged bitching when dinner time came around. Needless to say, I ate better for that week than I did for the rest of the trip. "
- Dave Seattle, WA
"I was about 5 or 6 when I first realized that cilantro sucks really big!! My Mom would use it when cooking Mexican food. I remember shopping with her at the grocery store and I picked up a bunch, and when I smelled it, I almost threw up! My Moms then explained that she used to hate it too when she was my age... Well everybody, it has been 20 years now and it still makes me GAG. I will seperate it from all my foods and my girl knows not to cook with it (I love you Jenny!). I am a new recruit to help the cause!! Let us bring an end to this vile abnormality of nature!!"
- Rafaelo Palo Alto, CA
"My cilantro story began a couple of years ago during my first year of college. I had this little guinea pig who I would buy fresh produce for every once in a while to keep him happy. I usually got parsley, but one time I picked up cilantro for a change. When I got home, I took it out of the bag to give it to him, and the smell seemed to permeate my skin and made my hands feel raw where it had touched them. Not to mention I was getting one of the worst headaches of my life. I threw it in the cage (he loved it) and put the bag in the refridgerator. I then washed my hands about fifty times, but the smell just didn't seem to leave. When my roommate came back, she said, "mmm...it smells good in here - like cilantro!" Are you kidding me? The smell was making me sick. A couple of hours passed while I was just hanging out and doing homework, and I was so bothered by the vile smell that I threw it outside.
A couple weeks later, I went to dinner at one of my friends' parents' house. They made pad thai noodles, and put cilantro all over the top. I knew I smelled it, but still being relatively naive to the ways of cilantro, I took a huge bite of the pad thai. I. wanted. to. vomit. It was so disgusting! Instead, I just drank a ton of water, and left the pad thai using the excuse that I had never tried it before and wasn't sure I was crazy about it.
After that, I have encountered cilantro many more times. I usually catch it on menus and have them leave it out, but one time i ordered some kind of thai soup and there were like 5 whole sprigs sitting on top of it. The next time I ordered it, I asked them to not put cilantro on top and they did. Ugh. I cannot have cilantro tainting my food!
In short, cilantro is disgusting, and the aftertaste is unbearable. I haven't gotten a good taste of it because the times I have consumed it on accident, I try to just drink water and not think about it, but I think it smells like rotten eggs or spoiled milk or some other kind of bad dairy product.
- Stella Lansing, MI
"I remember being relieved to see a "Cilantro - please taste before adding" sign at nearby Mongolian barbeque. That gave me comfort knowing that I wasn't alone. In order to actually make the sign, you know that they must have had many exchanges like this...
"This meat is rotten, I'm putting you out of business!!"
"Well, did you put cilantro on it?"
"Well, it's an herb that makes 10% of our customers want to vomit uncontrollably. We like to provide it for the 90% who don't taste it at all.""
- Jay Claremont, CA
"First time I tasted coriander/cilantro was in an indian restaurant. I had just received my meal, took a first bite, then this foul taste started spreading itself throughout my whole head....well thats what it felt like anyway. I immediately ran to the toilet and spat it out. There is no possible way that I could ever swallow this toxic weed. I was just about to complain to the waiter that the food he had served me was off. But then my friend informed me of the existence of a weed called cilantro. Another time, I was visiting a friend, and as I walked into her kitchen, I could smell it....MY ENEMY, CORIANDER!!! The smell was so pungent, I felt very sick. Almost had to vomit, and i probably offended her when I told her this! Ha! But her deed was unforgivable, she was ruining a pasta sauce with cilantro! PASTA! How is this possible? In the whole of Italy, there is not a molecule of cilantro! Any Italian would be offended if they heard of this toxic experiment waisting perfectly good pasta. What is even worse, is that i actually saw a dish containing cilantro on a menu in a so-called Italian restaurant!!! How dare they bring shame upon the Cucina Italiana like that! Can someone please develop a virus or something that kills only cilantro? "
- Lisa London
"I think the first time I had cilantro was in some salad. I had had salad before, of course, but I was pretty sure salad wasn't supposed to taste like that. But what could I say? It looked like lettuce, so what was it that I found so offensive? I choked down as much as I could, and for a while I was free of this taste, until I went out to a nice restaurant where I ordered some fish, which I wholeheartedly enjoy. But this "fish" contained a taste so vile, so offensive and so repugnant that I could not eat it, and I was told, "that's cilantro." Now, due to the spread of this horrible "spice," I have to check menus and sometimes even ask if there is cilantro in a dish. Imagine. I have to ask people if they put something in my food that tastes bad. I shouldn't have to ask that, but I do! I think cilantro tastes like stink bugs or paper, but it's much worse than that. I know from biology that several plants have evolved to have an unpleasant taste so animals don't eat them. Well, this is the nasty plant even the other nasty plants think is nasty. If people want to eat it, fine, but items on a menu with cilantro should be highlighted, underlined and circled to warn people with taste that that food contains the king of all foul weeds."
- Mike Madison, WI
"Well on top of Cilantro being a foul tasting substance, it appears that I am allergic to it as well. I was at the Mall of America and I bought a taco from what looked to be a reputable establishment...i was clearly mistaken however as they had intermixed cilantro with the lettuce on the taco. Well within a few minutes my tongue and throat were so swollen I had to be rushed to the emergency room. Cilantro nearly ended my life...what a horrible way to go. This is of course just further proof that it is not actually a food at all...but quite likely some form toxin that a few of us are "lucky" enough to be sensitive to. As the rest of the population slowly absorbes this deadly substance into their system we will all be spared their awful fate."
- Ahtami Oshiro, ND
"All in all, cilantro and I had not tussled much ... until about 13 years ago. I had grown up with salsa, never noticing the green menace. Then when I was about 15, I went to eat my first Thai meal. I order my food, no not the evil that lurked beyond the kitchen door. When the plates were brought to the table, every dish was COVERED in cilantro, much in the style one would use flat-leaf parsley. Given that each dish was coated in a a sauce, the cilantro was stuck fast, resisting greatly any sort of removal. The first bite brought the bile up. No matter how I scraped it aside, it always managed to be in my next mouthful. I was lucky to have made it out of that restaurant alive. To this day, I cannot take a step into a Thai restaurant, not to mention it's evil allies, Vietnamese, Cambodian et al. "
- Alice Radley Jacksonville, FL
"It's one thing to encounter the soapy, astringent, tongue-and-toe curling taste of cilantro in foods that are unfortunately designed to showcase the brutal flavor of this weed, but it's quite another thing that the cilantro lobby has managed to force supermarkets to place their product in the herb fresh herb section, right next to the Italian parsley. Who knows how many innocent victims every day casually and accidentally purchase cilantro, thinking it's an edible product--flat-leaf parsley--and take it home to use to garnish Italian dishes, pestos and other decent food? This has happened to me and let me tell you, it's an experience you will not soon forget or forgive. This tactic needs to be countered by lobbying the supermarket industry to put the cilantro behind locked counters with the cigarettes and chewing tobacco, where innocent victims will be protected."
- Kevin S Redwood Shores, CA
"I never lived in a place with good Mexican food until I moved to San Francisco, so I was looking forward to a great burrito on a regular basis. But from the very first burrito,there was this weird taste that got more and more overpowering the more I ate. I kept trying again with different burritos but the results were the same. Finally I isolated the taste to a small, evil-looking green-brown speck. Cilantro!!! My nemesis had a name. Since then I eat my burritos salsa-free, which is a shame since I really like salsa without cilantro. As if struggling with cilantro oneself isn't bad enough, there's a whole cult of hippied-out cilantro-loving in San Francisco. Is it such a crime not to LOVE Thai food, where that hated herb is sprinkled liberally throughout every dish? Is it so horrendous not to want a huge bunch of nasty weeds dumped on everything I eat? Where's the love for those of us who don't want our food to taste like spicy shoes?"
- Satya San Francisco, CA
"The first time I tried cilantro was over 15 years ago in Mexico. This was before the cilantro trend hit America. Mexicans serve what is basically salsa, which they describe as 'salad.' Personally, I never liked the smell of the 'salad,' so I would never really eat it. Then, one day, I was eating at a Mexican friend's house. To be polite, I took some of this 'salad' and thought I could at least eat a few bites.
Eating that turned my stomach. I was so, so nauseous, I thought I was going to vomit. I never knew that there was cilantro in the salad, just that there was some spice in there that I didn't like.
Then, several years later, cilantro started appearing in my beloved guacamole and salsa! I adore both of these, so it was horrific to see the spread of the dreaded cilantro. This is also when I discovered the name of the awful green crap.
Just to let everyone know out there, I also have the same reaction to anise, which is in the same spice family as cilantro. Anyone else have an aversion to anise as well??"
- Kristin Meadows Of Dan, VA
"Many years ago, I worked at the Rock Bottom Brewery in Denver. There you may order a plates of nachos that is about the size of a pregnant cadillac. Just a HUGE quantity of nachos. Looks good, smells good.. But every time I ordered them, there was this weird taste. Wasn't sure how I felt about it at first; it was just noticiable. However the more I ate, the more I felt an unholy discordance within the very core of my being. I'd had nachos before. Never had a problem. But every time, I indulged in *THESE* nachos, I always ended up with a raging case of heartburn, causing me to run into the kitchen and make a baking soda and water (antacid) cocktail to quell the demons which were plagued my insides. And there was that strange taste....
It wasn't long before I isolated the vile foulness, manifesting itself in the shape of a cilantro leaf! "AHA!" I thought, "This is it!" as I lifted it to the sky, half expecting a bolt of lighting to crash through the heavens and strike the cursed weed from my hands.
And it's not just nachos. Oh noooo. Why, my chips and salsa experiences have been all but ruined because of cilantro. I'm tired of it taking 5 minutes to get the nastiness off of every bite. Deport cilantro back to whereever it came from. It's down-right unAmerican.
I take every bite of food at Qdoba and Chipotle with inured reluctance. At Qdoba I try to order a burrito with rice without cilantro, and they stare back at me with bitter apathy as they begrudgingly walk to the back to get me, the "jerk who doesn't like cilanatro", his "special rice".
Like many posters here, my worst experience was in a Vietnamese restaurant. "Oh! Let's try this place" I said to my then girlfriend, now wife. My first clue that I should have gotten out of there was the roasted goat entree on the menu. I let that slide and ordered some spring rolls. Figured they would be fried like egg rolls, etc. Well, THEY WEREN'T! They came to the table looking just delicious, but one bite in, I realized my error as I had a mouth full of the hellish substance called cillantro! It wasn't chopped up finely, it was the FULL SPRIG and LEAVES! A look of fury came about my face. My mouth was still full, but I had stopped chewing. I debated ejecting the stuff into a napkin, but before I could, I impulsively smacked my hand down loudly on the table, attracting the attention of every patron in the establishment. My wife asked me what's wrong? And past the partially chewed monstrosity that someone had sadistically spiked my food with, and through gritted teeth, I wispered the diabolical word, "*CILANTRO*!" But, I took it like a man. My stomach churned even before I forced it down my throat. It was almost as if I was forcing my body to do something against all it's instictive principles. It was all followed by a ghastly chill.
BAN CILANTRO... THE GREEN MENACE"
- Hophead Denver, CO
I never knew how much I hated cilantro when I was a kid. This is probably because I've always been a picky eater, so I didn't usually branch out and try new foods. But when I was 14 I got a job working on an organic vegetable farm.
I loved the job, and everything was going great, until the day my group had to work on weeding the herb garden. OH MAN! Within a minute of being on my hands and knees, picking weeds off of a plot labelled 'Cilantro', I felt extremely dizzy. My head was pounding and my nostrils were full of this awful smell. It was part rot, part soap, part god-knows-what-else. I sincerely thought I was going to pass out.
I jumped up and begged my supervisor to let me do something else for the rest of the day. Luckily, he did, and I didn't have to touch the cilantro for the rest of the time I worked there.
BUT! A few days after my cilantro encounter, I developed a terrible rash of big pulsing boils on the side of one of my legs! My doctor said it was 'contact dermatitis', which is basically an umbrella term for 'we don't know what the heck it is, here's some cream for it'. But I KNEW it was from that blasted cilantro!
They had to lance my boils in the most hideously painful way imaginable, and I've been avoiding cilantro like the plague ever since."
- Leeanne Dorchester, MA
"I can't remember when I first noticed that I hate cilantro. I can't believe how many restaurants just pour it all over their foods. I can smell it on food placed in front of me. When I ask, "Does this have cilantro in it?", many waiters have to go check with the cook. I already know the answer. My friends and coworkers are shocked and fascinated that I can smell it and taste it so easily. Most of them have no idea that they are eating it; they don't notice any particular taste.
Unfortunately, my aversion to cilantro keeps me from trying some new foods. I wish cooks would realize that some people can't stand cilantro, and it should be used only at the customer's request--like "freshly ground pepper" or "grated cheese" on a salad. Anyway, thanks for this site. I thought I was the only one in the world who could even taste cilantro. Now I know that many people can't stand it, just like me!"
- Steve Seattle, WA
"20 years ago I first tasted Coriander (Cilantro) used by my wife to season fish. I was absolutely shocked, it did not taste anything like what food should taste like, it was a strong combination of bitter and salty, but a really overwhelming taste. Of course, I have been chastised ever since as some sort of social misfit who does not appreciate a herb which some many other people say they love.
Well I reckon they just can't taste it, maybe Cilantro has something like PTC in it, and I quote a human hereditary exercise from another web site "Place a piece of PTC (phenylthiocarbamide) paper on your tongue. If the paper has a bitter taste, you are a "taster" and would have the dominant allele (T). If the paper is bland, you are a non-taster and are homozygous recessive (tt) for this trait." I actually did this taste test at a school open day and I am a taster and I reckon that PTC tastes like Cilantro.
Well anyway, thats my bet on the explanation and it seems to be that the strange ones are those that embrace this noxious herb as food. Let the truth be told. "
- Ian Burrell Sydney
"I'm delighted that someone started this site so I didn't have to. I have been on the anti-cilantro bandwagon for many years now.
I have a detailed essay regarding my cilantro views on my website. Rather than paste the whole thing here, I'll give you the direct link:
Stick together, my friends! We will eliminate this scourge!"
- Mike Pontillo Buffalo Grove, IL
"i first really and truly realized i hated cilantro on me and my boyfriend's year anniversary. we were eating at bennigans that day, my choice. i got the fish and chips, and a side of rice. the rice had this green leafy stuff in it and i didn't think anything of it, until i tasted it. the leafy stuff juiced it's way into my rice, ruining it.. ruining my whole meal.. because the chef thought it would be a REALLY GREAT idea to sprinkle the crap on my fish too. why would cilantro be good on fried fish? why would it be a good idea to cover the whole meal in this crap? ugh.
i remember eating out with my grandparents a month ago, and the service was bad and slow.. i specifically asked for the cilantro to be taken off my dish, but they brought it out 30 minutes later with the stuff alll over it. totally ruined my life right there. another thing that's hard to get away from.. is salsa with cilantro in it.
luckily, i don't think chili's salsa has any, but on the borders does. stay away from that place."
- Elizabeth Dallas, TX
"If you're reading this you are most likely allergic to cilantro...I know I am, and here is my story.
One day in my high school biology class in Salt Lake City, UT the instructor walked around and placed a small green sprig of a parsley-looking plant in front of each student. He gave the explicit instructions "Do NOT touch, eat or smell this plant until I tell you to do so. If you do I'll give you a zero for today's grade." Strong words
I thought "This is odd...when did we switch from genetics to botany?" We hadn't switched; I was about to painfully discover what would be my nastiest allergy.
"On the count of three" he continued, "place the sample in your mouth and observe what happens."
I'm intrigued, so I willingly submit myself to become an unhappy lab rat in this twisted experiment of his.
He counts slowly, enjoying the confused pubescent tension. On "three" I place the vile, green lace on my tongue and suck on it a little, the stem still poking between my pursed lips. Instantly my mouth fills with a vapor that tinges the back of my nostrils. It has a taste I can only describe as burning soap, and has the same effect on my tongue as a habanero pepper; it swells slightly and I can feel my blood pulse through the muscle.
I spit it out onto the table with the typical "Bleh" sound, silently cursing my favorite teacher of the semester. "What is he trying to do, poison us? What sick individual would make their students consume a foul weed in class?" I had thought, but only for a moment.
As I looked around the room I noticed I was in a small minority in my feelings. Nearly everyone else has turned to me upon hearing my reaction. Some of them are snickering, and someone I knew (but wish I hadn't) asked me "What's wrong? Don't like cilantro?"
A girl in the front corner was smacking her lips and running her tongue across the roof of her mouth, like a dog eating peanut butter. A third victim is at the sink in the back of the lab, trying to get water from her cupped hands without attracting attention. At the front sits the teacher, grinning.
"So what did we observe here?" he asked, coyly eying the room.
It turns out that roughly one in ten people have an allergic reaction to cilantro that ranges from a foul taste to more severe symptoms which escape me. My particular reaction results in an unhappy reaction, a nasty taste that lingers for up to 3 hours, swollen lips and tongue, runny nose and a burning sensation in my mouth and throat. Copious amounts will result in a mildly upset stomache.
I hadn't noticed this as the only common source of cilantro in suburban Salt Lake City at the time was the 'salsa fresca' served at the local "Mexican" restaurants (I now know what real Mexican food is, and it all contains cilantro!). I had always claimed that this fresh salsa was super hot yet my brothers and friends would eat by the spoonful without breaking a sweat. I gained a reputation for not being able to handle spicy foods (totally untrue) and for being a pansy in general (also not true).
To sum it up, cilantro ruined my childhood.
As I was forced to develop a tolerance (mental, not physical) for this demon-spawn of fresh herbs I can eat nearly any cuisine if I remove most of it from the dish. Alas I'll never know what it *really* tastes like, but after all I have had to endure I really don't care."
- Jonathan Seattle, WA
"To me, cilantro tastes like the most rotten putrid onions ever imagined. It explodes in my mouth and ruins my food. I have felt that surely my taste buds must be different from the rest of the world. How else could everyone else tolerate and even like this foul tasting herb? Why would anyone voluntarily eat this? My husband says it doesn't taste like anything to him and he doesn't notice it? How can this be? Cilantro has taken the pleasure out of Mexican food. I would support any effort to eradicate all cilantro from the world with the exception of a lab somewhere to determine if it has medicinal purposes. It is truly nasty. Thanks for allowing me to vent."
- Nannette Nashville, TN
"OK, I just got back from Sawatdee and had fresh spring rolls, they had cilantro, and I hate cilantro! Even after taking the leafs out, it lingers! I can't go to Chipotle, or pancheros cuz it's everywhere. Salsa is a tough one too, finding a salsa with no cilantro, MAN is it NASTY!"
- Carrie Hugo, MN
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Please contribute YOUR cilantro story.