November 11, 2007
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."