May 20, 2010
Hello, fellow cilantro haters.
It's hard for me to talk about cilantro without experiencing traumatic flashbacks, but I feel that this is a supportive forum, and thus it is a safe place to discuss my experience.
For my twentieth birthday, my mother gave me a Better Homes and Gardens cookbook, and I began experimenting with different recipes immediately. A very unexperienced cook, when a recipe for a breakfast burrito called for a "sprinkle" of cilantro, I thought nothing of it. I figured that this monstrosity of a plant would be like any other herb. Little did I know how wrong I was.
I drove to the grocery store, and being that I was in a rush, I neglected to take a whiff of the vile stuff before bagging it and making my way to the register.
I was starving when I got home. I wanted nothing more than to make that delicious breakfast burrito, and so I quickly assembled the various ingredients on the countertop and got ready to cook my food.
I followed the steps of the recipe, and then it got to the part about cilantro. The cookbook said I could take scissors to cut the leaves into small pieces, and so I rumaged through the silverware drawer until I found them. Grabbing a clump of cold wet cilantro from the bag, I brought it to my nose to see exactly what I'd be adding to my recipe. I took one sniff and almost threw up. It smelled unlike any herb I'd ever come across, and I took another (tiny) sniff to try to identify the malicious odor. What was that smell? Rancid green perfume, undescribable. However, I did not want to deviate from the recipe, so I took those scissors and began to cut through the tough, stubborn leaves.
This is where my story becomes a bit emotional.
The stink of the cilantro was released into the air as I began to snip the leaves. I tried to convince myself that it might taste differently than it smelled, that the recipe obviously had put it in there for a reason. About 30 seconds of cilantro snipping was too much, I had to throw it away. I shuddered as I threw the bowl and scissors into the sink, relieved to be done with the herbal fiasco that is cilantro. But oh no, it wasn't over. Because to my horror, the dreaded cilantro stink was all over my hands. !!! I ran the water hot as I could stand, scrubbing my fingertips ferociously with Palmolive but to my dismay, the stench lingered on my now pruny fingertips despite my thorough cleansing. I began to panic, washing again with hot water then cold, then back to hot, using up half the container of dishwashing liquid, scouring my skin till it was red and sore. After 10 minutes, I could stand it no more. I felt helpless as I smelled my fingers yet again, still able to vaguely detect the horrendous odor of cilantro on my skin. I was so hungry though, I simply gave up and sadly finished my recipe, WITHOUT a sprinkle of cilantro.
Needless to say, it took several more handwashings and a good long shower to completely eliminate the last traces of cilantro stink from my hands. Even after I took out the garbage that held the snipped cilantro, I swear I could smell it for the next two or three days. It was a nightmare that made me fearful of experimenting with other unfamiliar herbs for quite some time.
I'm glad I've found a support group that might help me to continue this long and arduous recovery process. I've warned many of my close friends about the vile nature of this dispicable plant, and am happy to report that many of them are in agreement with me. Those who aren't are questionable in nature and as a result, I do not trust their culinary opinions in any situation. Thank you for letting me tell my story, I appreciate the forum.