|Supporting the Fight Against Cilantro!|
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Visitors contribute their cilantro stories...
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"I am Chinese, and my parents have used cilantro in many dishes I have had to eat. My parents never knew the English name for any herbs. They generically referred to all greens as "chai."
I could avoid the soups they contaminated with it, but I couldn't avoid the main courses they made because they were really strict about cleaning off my plate. I would pick them out and surreptitiously hide the bits in my napkin.
One day my dad reheated some left overs for lunch. I started eating and was hit by a horrible detergent taste. I asked my dad if he washed the dish out properly and he just got angry, and told me, "of course I washed it." Thinking back on it, it must have been the disgusting cilantro, it's taste tainting the tupperware and being amplified to a horrible magnitude when microwaved.
I had always assumed that it was some kind of mint or chives gone wrong. A few years ago I was at a Tex/Mex restaurant with my boyfriend and they had free salsa. I was thrilled. I loved salsa and free appetizers was a bonus. When they brought it out, I enthusiastically scooped a nice chunk onto a chip.
Disgust. That is all I can say. Absolute disgust. I almost spit it out, but I didn't want to be embarrassing. I told him that I thought there was this particular herb that I couldn't stand, "mint or chives or something... You don't taste it?" He was eating the salsa like it was fine. He said, "You mean, cilantro?"
When I heard the word I knew that was what it was. Don't ask me how, but I knew. The word emanated repugnance.
Cilantro has bred in me a deep sense of distrust in salsa and Mexican/Chinese/Indian food. Distrust in my own culture. It is a travesty."
- Louisa St. Louis, MO
"I first discovered the weed cilantro when dining in our corporations executive dining room (which we were not allowed to do since we were not executives)The food was delicious but every now and then I would taste something that just wasn't right. One day, on of the waitors was in the private room with us shooting the breeze and I asked him why he was spending such a long time with us and shouldn't he be waiting on other parties. He told me that he had to get out the kitchen because they were cutting up cilantro and couldn't take the smell. At that moment I realized what this funky taste was on some of the dishes and since that day I have come to really loathe this "spice"
At my current job we have a very good employee cafeteria but they insist on using Cilantro as a garnish when something needs some "green" Why not use parsley I ask? I found myself often returning my entree's because the cilantro has made its way into the dish.
I hate the stuff, really I do...."
- Lou NYC, NY
"Years ago it was fashionable to prepare food with balsamic vinegar. I didn't know what it tasted like, but it was in everything so I tried it and guess what? You can keep it! I hated it. What's worse? Cilantro/culantro/corainder/parsley. When you eat something loaded with parsley it takes over the entire dish, just like too much oregano, but when you eat something and THINK it's parsley and immediately hate the taste, fell a hot sensation, and start to feel your throat closing....you get scared. I don't know why people still use this stuff after so many bad reactions. Why not offer it on the side? I was in a crowded noisy chain restaurant in my area called Houlihan's. The music was blasting so loud when I ordered, I guess the server couldn't hear me. I ordered a salad with grilled chicken and specifically asked for NO CILANTRO because I had figured out after a couple of bad experiences and asking people what that green stuff was...it was cilantro that was making me sick. I also asked for a cup of tea with milk because half and half tastes great in coffee but not so good in tea. He served me a salad with EXTRA CILANTRO and a tall glass of cold milk! I sent back the salad because I couldn't pick out all the cilantro, and my co-workers made me feel like I was nuts. I see that balsamic vinegar is no longer "the thing". I am hoping cilantro and baggy jeans that fall down and show a young man's boxer shorts will also go out of fashion very, very soon. I love the local public tv show called Daisy Cooks with Daisy Fuentes, but my God! She doesn't only use TONS of cilantro in every dish, but she adds culantro to it also. What is wrong with these people? Even if it didn't gag me and make my throat close, I still wouldn't use it because - hello people? - IT TASTES REALLY, REALLY BAD!!! I am Italian and I don't use tons of oregano in everything; it's too strong. I don't even like when people use a ton of [American] parsley in everything. My mom was born in Itally and she prefers American parsley to Italian parsley because she said the Italian parsley is too strong and bitter in flavor. Wake up people...just because it's your culture or it's in "style" doesn't mean it's good. It's like The Emperor's New Clothes....everyone goes along with it, but if you get these stupid "friends" of yours to actually eat a handful of the stuff and tell you HONESTLY how they think it tastes, if they have a brain in their head they'll admit it tastes horrible. And if they insist it tastes fine and think you're nuts and make fun of you in a restaurant....they are not your friends. Thay are idiots....just like the ones who watched me and laughed when my mouth felt hot and my throat started closing up. I am shocked and happy to find this site; I thought I was alone. Happy 2008!"
- Lucy Guttenberg, NJ
"Ages ago, in an uppity sort of trendy Chinese restaurant, my father and I ordered hot and sour soup. Both of us marveled that in a nice restaurant like this, we would be served soup in a bowl that hadn't had the soap rinsed out of it. This was way before cilantro became the omnipresent menace that it is today, and so it was probably a decade before I tasted that nasty soapiness again, and now it was everywhere! It took me years to figure out that it isn't Thai food that I hate, it's cilantro. And to learn that those weird, rubbery fresh spring rolls are guaranteed to have some hiding in there. And to remember to tell the waiter at the Indian restaurant to please not sprinkle it all over my food. There is only one Mexican restaurant I'll go to, because it's the only one I know of with cilantro-free salsa. (Honestly, what's the fun of going out to Mexican when you have to nibble dry chips while your friends pig out on chips and salsa?) I've tried, as many of you have tried, to train myself not to be disgusted, but I've failed. It's impossible. Even the smell in grocery stores or on people's breath makes me gag."
- Anne Santa Cruz, CA
"I didn't know cilantro was the villain when I instigated a boycot of the school cafeteria on the basis that someone had put soap in the food. Others agreed that it tasted like soap in the food. We refused to purchase food from the place...The idea spread, and it shut down the school cafeteria operations for a while. This was in high school.
Years later I tasted the same taste of "Tide" soap powder in my food again...and inquired what it was. I was informed it was cilantro. I thought I was alone in this interpretation of cilantro's taste until today when I heard a cook on TV mention that some folks think cilantro tastes like soap--and it's because they are missing some sort of enzyme. In initial search does not uncover any further information on the missing enzyme....Do any of you know?
Today I heard someone on TV say that folks who think "
- , CA
"My first experience with Cilantro came in college - about 10 years ago. My housemate was a professional chef and always cooking great meals for everybody. One day, though, he hit us with some "Indian Food" . . can't remember what he called it . .
Anyway . .it was COVERED in Cilantro. I had never tasted Cilantro before and almost ralphed immediately. I couldn't believe anybody would eat this . .stuff . . on purpose! It tastes like soap and completely over-powers any dish it is a part of.
Now-a-days I try to avoid the stuff but, of course, it is hard to do. I just finished picking some off a taco . which prompted me to type "I hate Cilantro" into Google . .imagine my surpise at finding this site!
So, in conclusion, Cilantro really sucks."
- ChrisC Huntington Beach, CA
"It was 32 years ago. I remember the exact moment as if it were yesterday!!! I was staying with friends and our toddlers at a cottage on the beach. Both of us moms were excited about cooking, we wanted to try a new dish that had this herb called "cilantro." --the mouth watering anticipation, the excitement of being on vacation, cooking while the kids made sand castles--- And then the awful denouement!!!! I, a veteran cook, was flabbergasted by the horrible taste. I could believe it!!!
Then to my horror, this herb began to appear everywhere, it seemed to be the new designer herb. I had never seen it in Mexican salsa, one of my favorite foods. Suddenly it was there. I had never seen it in Chinese dishes. Suddenly it was there. It would turn up in the most innocuous dishes, and I unsuspecting would be gagging. Sometimes when TRAPPED by it in restaurants, I can pick it out. But usually it is so mixed in, I can't.
Now I have learned to ask ahead of time when dining in a restaurant. I felt so alone and stupid in my hatred of this little herb, so finding this website is amazing to me. I am not alone!!!"
"Cilantro wrecked a day on my vacation. My boyfriend and I were on a British Airways flight, and we were served chicken wraps for a snack. I took a massive bite before I realized the green leafy ingredient in my wrap was not some sort of lettuce, but cilantro. The taste caused me to gag immediately. I spit my chicken wrap out into my napkin. My boyfriend was disgusted. He cannot comprehend how much I hate cilantro, and so my reaction seemed irrational. He became angry at me for not eating my wrap, and I became angry at him for not understanding why I would rather eat the wrapper that the sandwich came in than put that disgusting sandwich back in my mouth."
- Heidi Nashua, NH
" For years I would have severe reactions when I ate certain chicken dishes. After taking about two bites of food I would have trouble breathing and become extremely lighheaded and dizzy. My face would turn bright red. I would wake up in the middle of the night itching like crazy all aver my body. I had no clue as to what was causing this. I could make a mexican style chicken dish at home and have no issues. I just began avoiding any dises with sauces when I went out.
I traveled to China 6 years ago and started having the same reaction to most of the dishes there. I had to spend the remainder of my trip eating plain rice and granola bars.
I finally put it all together after watching the food network and noticing that cilantro is in most mexican chicken dishes and it's seed form of corriander is a lot of asian food.
I am highly allergic!!!!! Finally I knew why!!! I have to take great pains to make sure that my food does not contain any of that soapy tasting green pieces. I stay away from Chinese food. There are times when the wait staff has told me I have a cilantro free dish only for me to stop breathing after a taste(I live in San Diego-they are big fans of the stuff around here). I have figured out that if I chug 4-5 glasses of water I can minimize the effects.
The stuff is not just aweful, it's almost deadly!!!!"
- Jessi San Diego, CA
"I guess I am one of the lucky ones as I can smell cilantro from about 10 feet away most times. My allergic reaction(s) have usually resulted in the cilantro being hidden inside the food. My first big reaction was two nights in a row at a middle eastern restaurant both restaurants put cilantro in their falafel. The room immediately started spinning uncontrollably. 99 percent of the time with the first bite or 10 foot away whif my head starts pounding and the smell/scent feels like it's invading my brains. If I consume it I usually have a migrain with nausea for hours. "
- Bride' Daytona Beach, OR
"I figured out a few years back that I hated coriander. It felt good to finally but a name on the thing that had been ruining perfectly good meals time and time again with its putrid taste. On one of my first dates with my boyfriend, he took me to a vegetarian restaurant that supposedly had great burritos. He asked me outright "Do you like cilantro? Because I hate it and you have to ask for them to not use it." I told him smugly that the only thing I hated was coriander. BIGGEST mistake ever. I quick wikipedia search later that night and I learned that they were one and the same. Why do there have to be two names for such an awful thing? Can't we just call it "Satan's plant" and be done with it? My confusion might have stemmed from Canadian English being in limbo between the US and the UK. The two terms are used pretty interchangeably here. "
- Kari Toronto
"Although my first ghastly experience of cilantro (or coriander, as the leaf and seeds both are called over here in the UK) happened as long ago as 1988, via a plateful of seemingly harmless green salad consumed at a friend's christmas party, the truly memorable encounter with this satanic leaf came years later, when I was holidaying in Australia with my partner, who booked us both onto a 'bush tucker tour' as my birthday treat. This tour involved a spot of kayaking along a stretch of river in the middle of the wilderness, followed by a demonstration of 'bush tucker' - an improvised meal prepared out of whatever ingredients could be rustled up from the flora and fauna of the outback. Tired and famished after our stint of kayaking, the 20 or so of us gung-ho tourist types gathered round the tour guide as she spread out the ingredients of our feast on a handy tree stump- sliced bread, butter, and out of a tupperware box the main course: a wichity grub, a pale, dead thing about the size of a large caterpillar, the larval stage of some terrifying science-fiction aussie insect...like an idiot I'd let it slip that it was my birthday, so with her sweetest smile our guide took a fork and mashed the wichity grub to a smooth paste, spread it on a slice of buttered bread, and handed it to me, saying 'there you go, Matt, a special treat for the birthday boy'. Despite the nauseated groans from the rest of the group, I really wasn't that bothered about taking a bite- I thought, it's no different from shrimp- but at the last moment, the guide whipped out a pinch of chopped green herb from a plastic bag, saying 'Tell you what- here's a little cilantro to help it on its way down' and sprinkled it over my snack before I had a chance to stop her. I let out a howl of protest, and everyone laughed, thinking I couldn't bring myself to take a mouthful of maggot roulade; imagine their surprise when I picked off every scrap of the hated herb, and bit into my tasty treat without a murmur. Proof, if any were needed, that to some of us, even slug butter is preferable to the loathsome, disinfectant-inflected, shower-gel scented travesty that is coriander. "
- Matt Dennis London
"I've always hated cilantro -- but found it was usually easy to avoid. I love spicy food, though. In my 40s, I went back to school & moved to Berkeley for my PhD. To my horror, I found that you can't get Mexican, Thai,Vietnamese or Indian food in Northern California without it being smothered in cilantro. I was in Hell.
My favorite story was when I went to an award winning burrito/wrap shop in Berkeley. As I entered, I noticed a sign saying that they could make any burrito excluding ingredients that you didn't want. I then asked what they had with no cilantro. I was told "Nothing." It was the ONE ingredient that they couldn't exclude -- because it was in EVERY sauce.
I couldn't wait to get back to the East Coast."
- Mark Taranto Columbia, MD
The first time I came across coriander (I'm in UK) was in curry. I kept telling my boyfriend that every so often I'd come across this really vile taste in my curry, had he noticed it, and if so did he know what it was? He hadn't noticed anything. The time of 'revelation' came when I was recuperating after an operation and was given some home-made soup. It was covered with the green leaves and it made the soup so foul that I had to leave it and ask my hostess what the leaves were. Then I knew! I have tried to avoid it ever since, but it's such a 'trendy' ingredient, isn't it, and comes as a little 'surprise' addition too frequently. I'm actually a raw fooder and recently when we went to a Greek restaurant in UK I ordered a Greek salad minus the feta. It came covered in coriander! I've holidayed on ten Greek islands and NEVER have I seen coriander used on a Greek salad. I tried picking it all off, but it was pretty well and truly mixed in. Interestingly, I think I'm OK with the 'ground coriander' from jars - it's just the leaves that I find vile. Debbie Took, Reading, Berkshire, UK"
- Debbie Took Reading
"It was in the early 80's. I was a college student. I went to Mexico for a month to study. During the last week I spent time in the state of Oaxaca and on my last night in Mexico, I ordered some pozole (a menudo stew) from a street vendor. This may seem foolhardy (In retrospect it probably was!), but it was boiling hot, so I figured it was safe to eat. Well, it had the vile cilantro on it, which I had never even seen before prior to this. I got so sick that I don't know how I made it home to California. I was sick in bed (down for the count!) for two days. Now was it the cilantro or something else, like Montezuma's revenge? I tell you this: I'm convinced it was the cilantro. Ever since then, I cannot stand to even be AROUND it. My husband and friends know this and do whatever they can to keep it away from me, not only for my sake, but so that they do not have to listen to me bitch and moan about how disgusting it is. The people who have won my hearts are those (such as kindly coworkers) who will make a little dish for me at a potluck, such as salsa w/o cilantro or Thai noodles w/o it. At my former job, we had a lot of potlucks with Asian and Mexican food. In the kitchenette where we would prepare lunches, there would often be a big bunch of cilantro. It made me want to barf--disgusting. When I go to restaurants, if my food has any cilantro in it (against my express wishes), I will send it back. This is not really "me"--normally I will put something on the side of my plate if I don't like it, but with cilantro, all bets are off. It is so nasty that its taste permeates the entire meal. Because non-cilantro haters tend to be so insensitive to the fact that something could be so disgusting, I've started telling people I'm allergic to it. That increases the odds of it not getting on my plate. Thank you for the chance to share my story and be with "my people." "
- Moodmachine Stockton, CA
"My first encounter with it was on a date many years ago, the first with that particular fellow, and he suggested a Vietnamese restaurant. Since I like Japanese food (at least, the Americanized version), and, while I'm not always in the mood for it, I do eat (again, Americanized) Chinese food, I figured Vietnamese food had to be somewhat similar.
How wrong I was. I had no idea what foul taste had burst upon my unsuspecting tongue, but from that moment on, I vowed to avoid it. I've since been forced by work circumstances to eat in some admittedly fine Vietnamese restaurants (Vong, Le Colonial, Asia de Cuba, etc.) but I always eat before I go so I can just pretend while there.
As for the date, he's long out of my life and I'm happily settled with a lovely man (who is neutral on cilantro).
I am well-known among both professional colleagues and personal friends for my cilantro aversion--and have come to the conclusion that so-called "fusion" cuisine is simply shorthand for "cilantro in EVERYTHING." "
- , PA
"i was in the city and dropped by my dad's office to say hello and pass the time, he suggested we go for lunch. anyways there is this thai restraunt right next to his work, he tells me he goes there often, so i decide to check it out. normally i love Asian food, Japanese especially, and i was very hungry besides. we go in, i order a beef soup that sounds pretty good. i get the soup and am struck with a sense of delight when i realize that you add the ingredients yourself, and they cook in the soup. it is soon after i add the ingredients that i realize that something is horribly wrong. the smell, is just... wrong. i am wearing my favorite shirt. the steam bubbles out of the cup and i am revolted, it's all over i can't get the smell out. i'm confused so i begin eatig the soup. it didn't take me long before i realized that this was going to be impossible, the taste was overwhelming. i quickly pulled out the meat and through away the soup before my dad could see my disgust. to this day i cannot get the smell out of that shirt. eventually i just gave up on it, and gave the shirt to goodwill. so if you ever come across a cheap shirt that smells like cilantro, well then i'm sorry."
- Maxwell Vashon, WA
"It's amazing to me that I am just now finding this site after suffering from this cilantro affliction for years. I only recently realized i hated cilantro after all of my friends gave rave reviews of a local fast food burrito restaurant, i couldn't finish my food it gave me a headache just trying to suffer through it. It actually reminded me of the feeling i get when I ate at a certain Thai restaurant, yuck! I slowly discovered, through other similar experiences with fresh salsa and other terrible uses of this disgusting plant, that cilantro was the culprit. The amazing thing is that after coming on this site I realize that even when I was younger I had the same problem, reading through other horror stories I was forced to recall times when I claimed my food tasted like soap, to which everyone would tell me I was wrong. I'm not sure if I'm actually allergic to the stuff (it give me a headache and makes me feel very nauseous and I actually broke out in hives after one of those "soap tasting food" incidents) or if cilantro is just so disgusting that the taste angers my body. I'm so happy to have found this site."
- Dan College Park, MD
"Okay well I was eating one of those pre packaged salads and enjoying every bite until I tasted something disgusting. I didn't know what it was but I hated it! This went on for a month or so. I tried to vary different brands of salad hoping not to get the same taste again in my mouth. Once again I got it. So I studied the leaf and found it at the supermarket and knew the culprit was Cilantro. It is the most horrible taste I have ever eaten. I think I would rather eat Liver. Anyway any chance I get I tell people to read the salad contents to avoid the Cilantro. Yuck, Yuck and more Yuck. "
- Michele Ormond Beach , FL
"I was about 17 when I first encountered cilantro. I was working in the kitchen of a health food store. I enjoyed the job, until I had to make up a recipe that included cilantro.
In the walk in cooler I found the box containing the cilantro. I opened it up and was assaulted by the odour of that noxious weed. There were about 60 bundles of the stuff in a small space. I was certain something was horribly wrong.
I grabbed a bundle and brought it to the head chef. "What the hell is wrong with this stuff?" I asked.
She inspected it. "Nothing. It's perfectly fine."
"You mean it's SUPPOSED to smell like that?"
Despite the fact that I was nearly retching, I had to clean and chop the stuff, then simmer it. I couldn't get the smell off my hands. It was DISGUSTING.
Since then I've tried to avoid it, and I've been successful for the past year or so. But then last night I went to a Thai restaurant and ordered a bowl of won ton soup. I LOVE won ton soup, but I rarely get to have it. The bowl was brought over, and there were little green bits floating in it. The smell hit me like a ton of bricks. I almost cried.
I ate the soup anyway, avoiding the actual bits of cilantro floating in the broth. I then spent the rest of the night feeling nauseous, unable to sleep because of the taste of the devil-weed which I just couldn't get rid of.
- Chris Toronto
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