December 27, 2007
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.