April 21, 2006
I'm originally from Oregon, but we moved to New Mexico for a few years when I was a kid. There, "salsa" or "hot sauce" meant "pureed chiles," and I loved it. But by the time I returned to the West Coast, "salsa" there had morphed into a kid of sloppy salad of chopped onions, tomatoes, and...yeccchhhhhh.
The first time I actually tasted cilantro, I didn't know what it was. I was at a burrito joint that made otherwise fabulous food. The logical reason for a burrito tasting like Palmolive was, I concluded, that dishwater had made it into the food, or hadn't been rinsed off well enough at some point in the cooking process. But when it happened again, I realized it was something deliberately added to the chow by some evil troll. By the process of elimination I quickly discovered it was that screwed-up mess that passes for salsa.
Every time I object to cilantro in a restaurant, they act like they've NEVER come across this problem before. I'm going to print out the "taste" chart and take it with me! One burrito chain has now taken to infusing their rice with chopped cilantro...another chain grinds it into their guacamole...so you have to gag it down or do without. And now, as other alert posters have noted, it's crept into other cuisines as well. What kind of culinary fascism is this? Stand up people!!!!