|Supporting the Fight Against Cilantro!|
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Visitors contribute their cilantro stories...
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"I didn't want to hate cilantro. And it didn't used to be as popular as it is now. I guess it started for me back in the late 80s. I was growing an extensive herb and veggie garden, and I loved salsa and wanted to make it myself. Somehow the salsa in jars that says cilantro is an ingredient was never offensive. (Remember, this is back in the late 80s.) I lived and worked on a working horse farm at the time and was putting up fence that had been treated with creosote, so when I planted that cilantro plant for the first time, I blamed the offensive odor on my hands on the fencing I had been putting up. It wasn't until I actually tasted the herb the first time that I realized that it was the cilantro!
I was very sad, actually, since I love to grow and use culinary and medicinal herbs. But cilantro/coriander leaves have earned the top spot on my most hated/most repulsive plant food list. Whenever we had lunch catered in at work, when it was Baja Fresh or some local gourmet place, I'd never be able to partake because everything had cilantro. Just smelling it now is enough to make me ill.
And everyone thought I was strange for not liking it.
Glad to know I am not the only one."
- Chromasnake KPDX, OR
"I'm Asian, but I never liked the taste of cilantro even when I was young. When I tasted it in my Mom's cooking, I always spit it out because it created this atrocious flavor in my mouth. My first REAL encounter with cilantro however, was at Baja Fresh in high school when I ate one of their burritos. I couldn't really taste it given there were so many other ingredients. About an hour later, I broke out in hives on my entire body. It turns out, I'm allergic to the damn weed.
My worst cilantro mishap happened just last night. My Mom bought crab-cakes for dinner. And she knows I'm allergic to cilantro so I assumed she wouldn't buy food with cilantro in it. Well, the crab-cakes had cilantro in them (and again, I couldn't taste it because of the Aioli sauce) and that night I had an allergic reaction which resulted in a 24hr headache, having difficulty breathing and "other" unpleasant side-effects.
I don't try to warn other's against cilantro, but everyone knows I loathe it. Most people actually understand my hate for cilantro and admit that it takes time to get used to the flavor. I will never get used to the flavor, nor will I ever. I love food, but I will ALWAYS hate cilantro and I always have even before I developed an allergy to it."
- LCY Bay Area, CA
"My first experience with this noxious greenery, I was maybe 20, and was trying a new mexican restaurant. I couldn't have told you what was in my food (soapily tainting every bite) then...and to be quite honest, I thought some idiot in the back had passed my food near a soapy sink and a slop of nasty water had hit it. You never know what is going on back there...obviously, I never went back. Fast fwd a couple years ago...I decide to try fixing something that called for cilantro. I bought some. As I opened the packaging and the reek hit my nose...I had a flashback to that mexican restaurant. Aha! I had identified the criminal!
And there is no avoiding it somehow. What is going on? The last 5 years or so, it seems cilantro is creeping into everything. Stop to grab a quick taco...there is as much cilantro as lettuce!! And you are starving and hate wasting money, so you choke it down. And you stare suspiciously at spring rolls...hoping and fearing that you won't run into your culinary nemesis...but "gotcha!" they sneak it in there somehow.
And trying to explain to people that cilatro tastes wrong to you, elicts strange looks the likes of a wildhaired nutjob sneaking out the backdoor of the asylum still wearing a straight-jacket would engender.
Stop the madness! A world full of savory spices and herbs, and everyone is suddenly gaga over this soapy weed? Give us a break! "
- Joy-Lyn Anchorage, AK
"Just read the top page of stories here and Lol'ed at Don Koch calling it the "retched weed". I'm sure he meant "wretched" but the first time I tasted it I DID retch it up!
I was seventeen, and dining with my family at a semi-fancy Indian place, which was a big treat because we hardly ever ate out (I'm the oldest of six). I spotted a bowl of what I thought was mint jelly and took a big spoon of it on some naan bread. A couple of chews and I started to swallow when the flavor hit--almost PURE cilantro. I couldn't help but eject it from my mouth and try to wash out the putrid taste with water. Ecch. I thought surely this was not meant to be food for humans. Perhaps it was some kind of jellied potpourri? --but others were eating it, and nobody else thought anything was amiss.
It was several years before I had a name to that awful taste. My first brother is a chef, which is mostly great, but he LOVES cilantro and won't believe that anyone can't "appreciate" it. The first full dinner of his I had after his culinary training began was Salmon Roulade over Glass Noodles, with designs on the plate in flavored oils and the whole nine yards. The salmon was tasty, and the first few bites of noodles too, until the cilantro insidiously strewn through the noodle sauce made itself known. I had to choke it down so as not to damage his obvious pride in this admittedly beautiful dinner, but it was a feat of sisterly love!
Now, I'm not a fan of Rachael Ray's voice & personality so I don't watch her show, but I would use her recipes if they were good...sadly, she LOVES the c-weed. Here in Texas it's everywhere these days -- in every salsa, in the rice at Qdoba and even Taco Bueno for chrissakes, tainting the unctuous wonders of guacamole.
I am lucky to have found an enlightened husband, who also despises cilantro. Unfortunately, his mother has not seen the light, but she is willing to get her cilantro on the side when we have fresh guac at a restaurant. Cilantro haters unite -- this should be the rule. Keep the disgusting stuff OUT of the food, but let those who must add it themselves. There, everyone's happy, and no cilantro has been wasted on me."
- Alisaurus Rex Dallas, TX
"I hate wasting food. In my opinion, wasting food, either by letting it spoil in the fridge, cooking something incorrectly rendering it inedible, dropping it in the dirt, etc, is akin to throwing money into the wind and walking away.
Today for lunch, I went to the local market, as I do a few times a week. They make good sandwiches, have a decent and varied salad bar, and prepare fantastic soups. Today, I decided I would have a cup of their delicious looking summer gazpacho to go along with my curry chicken salad sandwich. Little did I know that the dish soap soaked dirty gym rag that is cilantro was lurking in tiny pieces inside that soup.
When I got back to my desk and happily took my first spoonful of my cold soup, the stench of that horrorshow of a weed rapidly became unmistakable. It took all of my willpower to gulp down the vile brew before I spewed it all over my cubicle wall. Stubbornly, I decided I would try to power through the soup, as the idea of wasting money on nourishment angered me. I didn't want the cilantro to win, to take from me the pleasure of having a peaceful lunch! Alas, it proved too much for me. After five harrowing dips into that cardboard bowl of liquid Hell, I had to call it quits. I solemnly ate my sandwich, mourning the soup that might have been great, were it not for the inclusion of that wretched herb.
I can now only hope that when the janitor comes to empty my trash can later, he is able to do so without spilling that soup. I wouldn't be able to live if I knew that my discarded bio-hazardous soup affected an innocent soul."
- Pugmalion1 Retching Despair, NJ
"It was my birthday party--a potluck--and my sister and I noticed something that tasted "off" in the potato salad. The cook mentioned that she'd used some cilantro from her garden. (Who in their right mind would grow this stuff on purpose?) So then Mom commented on the weird tasting potato salad (familial predisposition established). As the final touch, the same cook then presented me with a bouquet from her garden complete with cilantro flowers! Ohmygosh! It smelled so terrible, I told her I'd better put it in the trunk so it wouldn't fall over. At the first opportunity, I jumped out of the car and pitched the bouquet in the ditch. The smell lingered in my nose for HOURS.
Alas, another way to be tormented by the existence of cilantro."
- Edie Secret, CO
"My first time (I'll try not to weep here) was when my dear Mama made tortilla soup for the first time. I think I was 10 or so. "Oh dear GOD, why does it taste so bad?" I asked. I was a polite child and never told my mom her cooking was gross, even if it was a little. This time however... "Maybe you don't like the cilantro," mused Dad. "I never used to like it either but it grew on me," he said.
It was years later before the Devil's Weed, as my sisters and I call it now, became all the rage. It was thanks to all those new-agey burrito places I think. When cilantro fever first gripped Denver where I live, I was eating in an upscale American place when I was served FRUIT SALAD covered in the horror. I told the waiter I was allergic to cilantro and could he please remove it at once! I was nicer than that, but really! Cilantro in fruit?? How far must these whacked out chefs go before someone puts a stop to this evil plant?"
- Jessica Aurora, CO
"Like many of the submissions, mine is of my first experience with the dreaded weed. When I was about ten or so, my mother made up a dinner salad. Unbeknownst to me, among the regular vegetation was a thing so vile, I tear up to recall that day. I pierced my fork into a generous helping of the salad, when my tastbuds were cruelly and unsuspectingly subjected to the foulest taste sensation known to my tongue.
I immediatley spat out the evil substance, and demanded to know what corrupted my mouth. I'm still in councelling.
- Christin Aurora, CO
"There was always something in Mexican and Asian foods that I didn't like, but I never knew what it was until about 8 years ago. I was working in a natural foods store and one day I walked into the produce prep room and was instantly surrounded by this awful smell that made me gag. I asked what had happened and they just looked at me like I was crazy and said they were prepping the cilantro. I couldn't go anywhere near the room for the rest of the day as it lingered and made me nauseated each time I walked by. I can't walk past it in the store even now.
From then on I had a name to that dirty, bitter awfulness in some foods. I won't order anything from a restaurant that has cilantro in it and I won't let my husband buy it from the store. The worst part is, because I can pick around it in guacamole, my husband thinks I'm crazy/lying that I can't stand it.
Now that I found this site, I'm sending it to him so he sees I'm not alone. Thanks everyone!"
- Rose Montgomery Village, MD
"First time I tried cilantro was in my grandma`s caldo de pollo (chicken soup). Shortly after I got a fierce stomach ache. I swore off grandma`s soup. Next I was offered cilantro in tortilla soup. I had a simular stomach ache. I began to believe that cilantro was to blame. To test my this, I put some cilantro on a bean burritoe at home and guess what? I got the same stomach ache. Then I got on-line to see what the deal is with cilantro and stomach aches and I found you. Good to know I`m not alone."
- Christa Hernandez Abilene, TX
"I remember the first time I saw cilantro in the store. It was 1992.
I took it home and went to put it in the fridge. When I was closing the door of the fridge I could smell an unpleasant horrible soap like smell on my hands. I opened the fridge to check if it was the cilantro. I rubbed the hand on it and then smelled my hand. Yep. That was it.
Okay, so I went to wash my hands in the sink. I washed them with soap, dried them and started on with other work. I couldn't believe it, my hands still smelled of cilantro. I washed them again. They still smelled. Then I got lots of soap and finally, I think, the smell was gone.
Yeesh, I thought, that plant is EVIL, just pure evil.
It has just gone downhill from there, with many dishes ruined for me because of the surprise addition of cilantro. [It MUST be listed on the menu!!!!]
A year ago, I went to visit a new boyfriend and stay at his house. One of the lunches he made for me was a cilantro dish. Mostly cilantro. I didn't think to mention it, because it is the only food I hate and even at that, if people garnish dishes with it, I have become skilled at picking it off. But this was a cilantro pasta salad. Not wonderful pesto, but cilantro. He was really annoyed that he put time into making it and I couldn't eat it. It seemed as if I were the first person he had ever met who couldn't eat cilantro.
This week, I sent him the link to this site. No response yet. "
- Florence Vancouver
"Every once in a while, while eating at a Mexican restaurant, I would taste something bad. Subtle, but soapy sometimes, and other times almost like that taste chocolate gets when it goes stale.
Then one day, when I was 17 I had to make a Spanish meal for class. My sister was helping me and we decided to put a cilantro garnish on some tomato bread that we made. It looked beautiful. We tasted it and thought there was some mistake. Surely the tube had been full of soap? We were totally in agreement about this, but thought it was a defect in that particular package.
Then I went to Costa Rica. Suddenly the soap was in everything! Eventually I realized that it was cilantro. For the rest of the trip to Costa Rica, I ordered garlic with everything, because garlic is my favourite spice and the taste of it /almost/ overpowered the cilantro flavour. When I was living with a host family there, I felt bad asking them to make things specially for me, so I would normally make my own cilantro free dishes. If I turned my back, though, they would scoop a few of the foul green leaves into my rice. They just didn't understand..."
- Miranda Columbia, MO
"I'll try to tell you my story but just the thought of it makes my skin crawl. I went to a barbique at which was served a shrimp cocktail LOADED with, you guessed it, the-C-word. Well, one taste and pow! Sick to my stomach.
How dare they load up their salad with cilantro without the proper warning that the salad is fit ONLY for dogs and starving hyenas? That it contains a putrid, vile, green growth, masking itself as a...what? Spice? Herb? Garnish? (Oh... my skin in crawling...) Needless to say, since that day I cannot even walk by the offensive growth in the vegetable section of any store without experiencing some dizziness.
And still, to this day, I eat in restaurants that attempt to sneak the weed into my food unnannounced! Where is justice? Where?
- Joseph NYC, NY
"This is so funny...and validating! My wife thinks I'm exaggerating when I spout off on the vile weed. Well, now there's some justification for my ranting all these years.
I grew up in Southern California about 5 miles from the TJ border. I just about lived on Mexican food. I heard someone here state that they simply must have avoided it and to this I say bunk. It wasn't in there until the 1980's no matter what someone might say.
My first taste of it was in Thailand in 1981 while serving a mission for the LDS Church. There was a dish there that I tried and found that there was a specific taste that I simply could not tolerate. I didn't know what it was, but knew it was vile. Several months after tasting this same thing in a few other dishes, I finally bit down on a leafy substance and was able to pull it out of my mouth and ask someone what the HELL they were putting in my food? The term in Thai is "Puc-Chii" and literally translates to "Piss Weed"! No joke. So, for the remainder of my mission I had to make sure I said, "no piss weed" (in Thai of course) before I had specific dishes.
Once very late on a train, I ordered a dish that NEVER had "piss weed" in it so didn't even think to tell them not to put it in (like I should have to say this ever!). When it came back, it was green with it. It was late, I was broke, and so I decided to cut the food up in small pieces and swallow it without chewing. I could barely get it down even doing that...and went to bed.
About 6 AM I awoke realizing that I was about to hurl. You know how when you vomit you can tell what is making you sick and never want that food again....well, yep, it was "piss weed". How was it coming back up? To quote Jerry Seinfeld, "As good as it gets."
Upon my return home to the US, I started to taste this in Mexican food. I swear it wasn't in there before but now it's making its way into almost everything including guacamole! I'm not going crazy here. This should be a condiment and NOT put in anything. Have it on the table with Catsup, Mustard, Soy, Dill, and Piss Weed! If you want it, fine. There it is and you can ruin your food if that's what you want. BUT YOU'RE RUINING MY DINING BY MIXING IT IN THERE IN THE FIRST PLACE!"
- ARNY BAILEY Sammamish, WA
"On my thirteenth birthday my grandparents promised to take me out for dinner at a Thai restaurant-- spicy Thai food is my favourite! We went and ordered dishes and dishes of food to pass around, all delicious! Until I got to one noodle dish, there was a funny taste in it like soap and no matter how much I drank I couldn't get the taste from my mouth. It ruined the whole meal for me, and I never knew what the mysterious taste was, just passed it off as some strange Thai vegetable.
Last summer I ordered the Calamari at Olive Garden and it was delicious, orgasmic even! It came with two dipping sauces, and the one sauce? The strange, mysterious, disgusting flavour! What was this stuff?!?? I stuck to the second sauce and finished my meal pouting.
Today I decided to cook up a microwaveable bag of Chinese noodles and shrimp; I cooked it and it looked and smelled so delicious! until I started taking big bites, and eww! That nasty taste again! I looked through the ingredients and everything checked out to be normal except one thing: Coriander leaves! EWW! That has been the culprit this entire time! Now excuse me, this meal is delicious and I have a lot of cilantro to pick out."
- Lucas Elliott West Chester, PA
"Can I just start by saying what a relief this all is? It's like a veritable group-therapy session. I can't even tell you how many people have looked at me beyond sideways when I say I cannot stand cilantro.
Sigh. I consider myself a Supertaster (look it up), and rightly so. I never could tolerate spicy or bitter foods, and I've always had a pretty sensitive palate. I can't remember the exact age, but I must have been in my early teens when I first tasted the true horror we have all come to know and hate, cilantro. I was at el torito with my family, and always avoided the spicy salsa, but decided to taste it that day... and to my dismay, it was laden with cilantro and I had to immediately spit it out. I inquired what the awful taste was, and my Mother said it was the same as it always had been, and it must have been in my head.
That's been my story ever since. "It must be in your head!" Hey. I had never even heard of cilantro before I tasted the awful stuff. People can be so mean.
I grew up in Los Angeles, and looking back, it has always been a wonder to me how I had never noticed the horrible stuff before. My guess is that since I've always hated spicy foods, I just never stumbled across cilantro before, since I think cilantro used to be mainly reserved for spicy Mexican food.
I must express my absolute disappointment at how wildly popular the disgusting stuff has become... I once thought I was safe simply avoiding spicy foods, but now I have to second-guess every food choice when eating out. I used to think I was a fairly laid-back person who goes with the flow, but now I am "that girl" who can't eat spicy, bitter, or CILANTRO. WHAT is the problem? What the heck is wrong with wanting a simple meal of veggies and mashed potatoes? How does that make me a picky eater?! Just because I want to taste the flavors of my food, and not bog them down with layers of added junk...
Anyway, that's my rant. It's not all in my head! YAY!"
- Lori Sherman Oaks, CA
"I was a sophomore in college in Ann Arbor. It was late and I was starving. My roommate's girlfriend was cooking for all of us and was making cheese enchiladas. I thought to myself, "I love cheese. I love enchiladas. What could go wrong?" When I cut into the enchilada what poured out looked like pesto. It turns out that the recipe called for 1/4 cup chopped cilantro for the whole batch but instead she used 1/4 cup PER ENCHILADA. Since I had never been exposed to cilantro before I took a huge bite. When it hit my lips I knew something was wrong. Did she add dish soap to these enchiladas? Is there some sort of industrial paint stripping solvent in my Mexican food? Was she doing mechanical work on fuel lines before cooking? Of course, it was only the devil weed. Still to this day I cannot stomach the stuff. I am the guy at Chipotle that asks for the plain white rice that is hidden under the counter like some sort of bastard step child. However, thanks to good folks like you I can see that it is normal to hate cilantro with a furious passion normally reserved for animals dressed as humans and Buckeyes. Thank you fellow cilantro haters!"
- Paul J. Tecumseh, MI
"I moved to California from Ohio a very long time ago. I love food. Some people eat to live, I live to eat. For years I had a love/hate relationship with Mexican food. The Taco Bell stuff was, at best, OK. The really good stuff, the kind you get in a little hole-in-the-wall place was either great. Or I couldn't get it down. On day, at work, I got a burrito off of the roach coach and it was awful. I couldn't eat it and I asked my co-worker Al Bull to taste it and tell me what that horrid taste was. I took a bite and said that it seem OK but it did have a lot of cilantro in it. I was an Ohio boy. I never even heard of cilantro. That evening while going through the produce section at the local supermarket I spied some bunches of cilantro basking under the sprayer. I pinched off one leaf and bit into it and it was an awakening. This was the retched stuff that I couldn't stand, cilantro. Now when I order anything Mexican, I tell the server that I'm allergic to cilantro. If you say you don't like the stuff they will try to sneak it in. Say your very allergic to it."
- Don Koch Long Beach, CA
"I will never forget the first time I tasted cilantro. I was 20 years old and was in Dallas eating downtown at a Mexican food restaurant. They brought out the chips and salsa and everyone decided to dig in. I LOVE me some chips and hot sauce... but one bite of this salsa-- and I KNEW something was wrong with it. It left me speechless it was so bad. My friends were carrying on eating the salsa and I told them not to eat it-- I was concerned for their health. I was certain the salsa they were serving us had spoiled or had something terribly wrong spilled in it! My friends said they LIKED the salsa! I was so confused! I said that I hated it-- and it was the worst flavor I had ever had in my life. They then broke the news: that flavor that I hated so much was cilantro.
NOW-- EVERYONE uses cilantro in everything! What is with this trend? 15 years ago it was not quite so common... but today? You can eat Asian, Mexican, Medditeranean-- you name it-- there is cilantro in it.
Who on earth could POSSIBLY think this stuff is edible?
EWWWWWW! I try to tell my friends that the stuff should not be fit for human consumption but everyone I know actually likes it! Cilantro is SO BAD that it merits me spending my precious time on this earth to read this site and contribute to it. I am glad I am in good company!"
- Lyndy Amarillo, TX
"The first time it happened I was at a mexican restaurant with my family. The waiter brought the chips and salsa. We were all digging in but after one bite I got the soap taste. I decided it was a fluke because everyone else seemed fine. I ate it again and got the same taste. I wrote it off as they hadn't rinsed the bowl properly and there was some soap still on it.
After that it continued to happen when I ate salsa at a restaurant. I saw something on tv about people eating cilantro and tasting soap and the lightbulb went on in my head. My family thinks it's strange because they love salsa but I can't eat it with the cilantro in it."
- Pam Plainfield, IL
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