June 21, 2008
I have lived all of my life in the U.S. and it was not until this past year, at age 60, that I tasted the vile weed. Here is how it happened:
I was cooking a recipe that called for parsley, and I found in the middle of the cooking that I had none. I asked my son to go up to the grocery store and get some for me. He came home with what looked like flat-leaf parsley. I chopped it up and put it into the recipe. I did NOT notice anything unusual about the smell. However when I went to taste the dish, it tasted like it had been doused quite liberally with dishwashing detergent. At first I thought I must not have gotten the bowl rinsed out well after washing it. So I rinsed the bowl of veggies quite well again. No change! So then I picked up a piece of the "parsley" and bit into it. Aaargh! It was like, "Mom washed my mouth out with soap and I think I'm going to diiiiie." It was not parsley. I love parsley. I love celery leaves. This was definitely not parsley. I had my son taste it, and he confirmed that it tasted like soap. I had to throw out the entire dish. It never even made it to the table. The next time I went to the grocery store I looked closely at the stuff. There next to the curley leaf parsley was this flat-leaf stuff with the sign over it saying "cilantro."
My next exposure to cilantro came because I had switched to a gluten-free diet and was looking for gluten-free products. I found that there was an Asian noodle bowl that stated on the package that it was gluten-free. I purchased it, brought it home, and as I was preparing it, I noticed that there was something leafy in the pack of dehydrated stuff. I didn't recall anything leafy listed in the list of vegetables for that pack. Checked again. No- not supposed to have anything leafy. This is cause for concern. If they have unlisted ingredients in the stuff, how can I trust it to be gluten-free? Well, I decided to finish preparing it, and then tasted it. Arrrrgh! I thought I would diiiiie. Not parley! Cilantro!!!! SOAP SOUP!!! No taste but soap. Spat! Spat! Ptui! Dumped it down the garbage disposal.
So I wrote a nasty email to the company. I said their noodle bowl had listed various veggies, but nothing leafy. I said I had seen something leafy in the soup packet and my gene which makes cilantro taste like soap had ultimately informed me that this was cilantro. I said how can I trust this product to be gluten-free when you are so careless as to put unlisted ingredients in your product! It's been two months, and they have not replied.
Unfortunately cilantro has become "fashionable." Trendy chefs everywhere are adding it to everything. My husband's cousin, trained in a culinary institute has opened a restaurant in Arizona. At a recent family reunion she exclamed how she just loves cilantro and puts it in everything. She has no clue that 30 to 40% of people have this taste aberration that makes it taste toxic. I tried to inform her of this. Most restaurants ultimately fail. All these "trendy" chefs will ultimately fail when they lose 30 to 40% of their customer base. Customers rarely complain. They just show their backs and never return.