September 12, 2008
I was about 18. My boyfriend at the time was Chilean. His family used to have small get-togethers in the park, with a packed lunch and some BBQ food. His Mum made this salad, pretty standard,just cucumber, tomato, lettuce, etc. All through it would be these innocuous looking small green leaves. I just thought it was parsely, so I took a big mouthful.. big mistake. This awful flavour like old dishrags (do you have Chux Superwipes in your country?) filled my mouth and nose, making me gag. I honestly thought that perhaps the bowl/fork had been improperly washed. I asked my boyfriend if he could taste something funny, but he noticed nothing. When I later found out it was coriander (my bf had to ask his Mum what was in the salad), he said that to him it tastes just like parsely and he can't tell the difference! This,to me, is just crazy talk!! I like parsely, it is mild and harmless!! Coriander is so pungent,and doesn't actually taste like something fit for human consumption. I didn't encounter it again for years, fortunately, until I went to yum-cha at a Chinese restaurant. I bit into this delicious looking dumpling that happened to have little green flecks in the dough.. I paused, dumpling in the air, mouth half-open, eyes watering. My brother twigged immediately - "coriander?" he asked. I nodded and he guided me to the ladies' room where I spat out the mouthful and rinsed my mouth out thoroughly. I didn't eat for the rest of the day, and washed my hands over and over, trying to rid my fingertips of the offending odour. Fortunately, I haven't tasted it since. I think it's cause I can smell it before I get in too deep. The smell alone makes my gorge rise. I hate how certain foods/ingredients become trendy to use in every dish, and the prevalence of this repulsive herb is my case in point!! Thanks for listening, this is quite cathartic!