September 05, 2008
My first experience with Cilantro was in 1985. I went to a local American owned and run, "Mexican" restaurant. I had been going there for years, enjoying the pre-meal complimentary hot salsa and chips. One afternoon while joining a group of co-workers, I delved into a mound of salsa, piled onto an authentic corn tortilla. "Arrrggghhhh...Ptooey...plahh"!!!! I thought I had lost a filling and shattered it with my teeth. Then, this wierd sensation set in, almost as if I had sucked on a natural gas pipeline!!!! I waited for a reaction from my friends, who to my surprise, chatted merrily on as if they were actually enjoying themselves. It would be years before I actually learned what it was about that salsa that made me repulsed by it.
Nearly a decade later, a friend gave me a starter herb garden. I planted and cultivated it until the herbs were mature and ready to add to my favorite dishes. One of these plants was Cilantro. I was still ignorant to the fact that THIS was my enemy! Looking like parsley, but a little larger, I added it to my redskin mashed potatoes, to serve to my family. As all cooks do, I tasted my cullinary work. "Arrrggghhh....Ptooey....plahh"!!! Yess... this was it! The same taste that I remembered from a decade earlier! The mashed potatoes were never given the chance to get the thumbs up or down from my family. My beautiful potatoes received a burial at sea. Smugly satisfied with my newly solved mystery, I waved goodby to them as they disappeared down the garbage disposal.
Since then, I have been the victim of several surprise visits from this awful, vile herb. Why people make a conscious effort to torture the likes of me by HIDING cilantro in dips, salads and pasta dishes, is beyond me. Cilantro should be included in fair labeling laws!
The very last time that I was attacked by this nasty stuff was at a Wild Oats store. A young girl asked me to try a dip made from a mix. I deliberately picked up the package to scrutinize the ingredients for things like MSG, high fructose corn syrup, yadda, yadda, yadda. Seemed safe enough, so I took the dip laden cracker and put the whole thing into my mouth. For a millionth of a second, I was pleased... then, all hell broke loose in my tastebuds. I made a mad dash to the bathroom, spitting and rinsing for 5 straight minutes! I marched back to the apron clad girl and demanded to know just what else was in that dip. Surprised and almost offended, she said "Nothing, other than a little cilantro!" Nuff said!!!!
Among my other disdains are black olives and whole garlic pieces.