May 14, 2009
Just read the top page of stories here and Lol'ed at Don Koch calling it the "retched weed". I'm sure he meant "wretched" but the first time I tasted it I DID retch it up!
I was seventeen, and dining with my family at a semi-fancy Indian place, which was a big treat because we hardly ever ate out (I'm the oldest of six). I spotted a bowl of what I thought was mint jelly and took a big spoon of it on some naan bread. A couple of chews and I started to swallow when the flavor hit--almost PURE cilantro. I couldn't help but eject it from my mouth and try to wash out the putrid taste with water. Ecch. I thought surely this was not meant to be food for humans. Perhaps it was some kind of jellied potpourri? --but others were eating it, and nobody else thought anything was amiss.
It was several years before I had a name to that awful taste. My first brother is a chef, which is mostly great, but he LOVES cilantro and won't believe that anyone can't "appreciate" it. The first full dinner of his I had after his culinary training began was Salmon Roulade over Glass Noodles, with designs on the plate in flavored oils and the whole nine yards. The salmon was tasty, and the first few bites of noodles too, until the cilantro insidiously strewn through the noodle sauce made itself known. I had to choke it down so as not to damage his obvious pride in this admittedly beautiful dinner, but it was a feat of sisterly love!
Now, I'm not a fan of Rachael Ray's voice & personality so I don't watch her show, but I would use her recipes if they were good...sadly, she LOVES the c-weed. Here in Texas it's everywhere these days -- in every salsa, in the rice at Qdoba and even Taco Bueno for chrissakes, tainting the unctuous wonders of guacamole.
I am lucky to have found an enlightened husband, who also despises cilantro. Unfortunately, his mother has not seen the light, but she is willing to get her cilantro on the side when we have fresh guac at a restaurant. Cilantro haters unite -- this should be the rule. Keep the disgusting stuff OUT of the food, but let those who must add it themselves. There, everyone's happy, and no cilantro has been wasted on me.