January 11, 2009
I've lived in Texas all my life and have fought the cilantro battle for many years. I recall the first time I ran into it was at a restaurant names ZuZu in Dallas back in the mid-eighties and since then that disgusting weed has expanded so rapidly it's almost taken over the planet. There's a special place in hell reserved for the person who got the cilantro movement started among the chefs. Who on earth convinced them that cilantro was trendy and that it tasted good for heaven's sake! Talk about a salesman! Cilantro is the most disgusting substance ever created. It's one of those God questions for me -- why cockroaches, why disease, and why cilantro?
Cilantro is vile, disgusting, and nauseating. My son, my mother and two of my three sisters share my cilantro sentiments. Not only do we hate it but we are allergic to it as I guess most who hate it are. What it causes for us is a bad case of "cilantro lips". Within a few minutes of accidentally (we would NEVER eat it on purpost!) eating cilantro, our lips start itching. Within an hour or so they're swollen and itching worse. Then they crack, bleed, peel, and continue to itch insanely. There is no relief for the curse of cilantro lips no amount of makeup will cover it. The misery lasts a good two weeks, sometimes even longer. When we go in a restaurant we grill the waiter incessantly about any dish that may have even the tiniest amount of cilantro in it. We tell him that we are so allergic that if cilantro even gets near out plate we could die and he should immediately call 911. We found this gets his attention much better than just ordering a dish "without cilantro". We mean business and he gets it!
What bugs me most about cilantro is that every chef in the universe seems to have jumped on the bandwagon to force it down our throats. It's in every restaurant, every cuisine, and now even in drive-throughs. Italian seems to be the last safe haven to dine cilantro-free, but who knows how long that will last! As for foods, the only safe items these days are desserts. The only chef I've seen take a stand on cilantro is Ina Garten, "The Barefoot Contessa" on Food TV. She says she personally detests cilantro and always substitutes basil or parsley. Like I said before, there is a special place in hell for the person who got this disgusting stinkball started with the chefs!