September 18, 2008
Why I hate cilantro.
I first detected cilantro in the form of coriander when I was about 16 or so. My father had taken me to an Indian restaurant and I ordered lobster tandoori. Something just wasn't quite right, but I felt obligated to eat it anyways. We went back another time and I thought I'd perform a small scientific study. I ordered the same thing, but minus a spice. I don't recall what that spice was, but that weird taste still remained. The next time I went (yes, I went three times), I ordered it again, and under the waiter's advice, minus coriander. Bingo!
To avoid future misunderstandings, I learned how to say it in Hindi (dhania). Even still, I have almost always had to send it back the first time because they forgot. Oh well, it's only in Indian food, I can live with that. God, was I wrong!
I used to live in San Diego, a place that tries to keep up with all the latest fads and fashions. I don't know what started the trend of cilantro, but I think it might have originally been due to a drop in price. It started as a seemingly harmless garnish swap, where parsley was replaced with this exotic cilantro. Then, all of a sudden, it was in my food, not just loitering on the plate. The breaking point was when I ordered a tuna melt, one of my favourites, and some muppet-chef thought it was a good idea to add cilantro to the tuna! Cilantro in tuna salad? Now, even when I order pancakes, I go through this whole, "Is there any cilantro in or near this dish?" just to be on the safe side.
My husband and many of my friends think I am a big, picky baby about this (I also hate raw tomatoes, which are in everything as well, but easy to remove. As you can imagine, salsa fresca is my absolute nemesis). I am NOT overly picky! I just really hate cilantro and it's not my fault it happens to be ubiquitous nowadays! I try to explain to my cilantro loving friends, that it tastes like soap. Yes, soap. So, imagine if dish washing liquid was the unlisted ingredient on the menu and you wanted to avoid ordering those items. That's how it is for me. On a side note, it's odd that people either love it or detest it with very few cases of those who think it's just ok. I chalk it up to genetics.
Anyways, I found this site after heating up a frozen burrito from Amy's only to find that it had cilantro in it. It is now gutted and growing cold on my kitchen counter. Was cilantro listed as an ingredient? No, but "spices" was. Is it too much to add the word cilantro on the list? Garlic had its own listing, after all.
I feel a little naughty about this, but now I tell waiters that I am actually allergic to cilantro in the hopes that they will be more diligent at reminding the chef of my request. Too many times have they forgotten. Too many times I have gotten the evils from the server and whoever I am eating with when I send it back. I am tired of making excuses for my hatred of this evil spice. I want to stand up and be proud. Cilantro haters unite!
Thank you for listening. That was cathartic.