June 06, 2010
I remember so clearly the first time I smelled......let alone tasted cilantro. My husband Pete, our son Glen, then 6 years old(he's 33 now, so that was 27 years ago)and myself were on a climbing /hiking trek in Peru.It was in Cuzco, that ancient town of the Incans. We were all feeling a little hungry and so went into what looked like a reasonably clean local place off the main square. We ordered a rotisserie chicken dish, usually a safe bet in third world countries. It arrived smothered in cilantro. Our first thought was "What's that incredible smell of one-week-old-dishwater?". We removed as much as was humanly possible from the meal, and ate what we could find that was least infected. Needless to say, we were all violently tossing our cookies within a few hours.
But it's not just the association of cilantro with unpleasant memories. It's now everywhere. You can't damn well escape it! Thai chefs incorporate it so thoroughly into foods, it's impossible to pick it out. When you ask Chinese cooks to leave it out of a dish,they say they prepare using it, and can't remove it. International chefs think it's chichi to include it in just about everything....don't they know it covers the flavour of just about any other food?.
Now our local pub is putting the disgusting stuff into salads and using it as a garnish.
In our garden in central B.C. I planted a package of mixed herb seeds. Guess which one thrived? Guess which one reseeded itself year after year, in spite of 30 below winters and constant predations from slugs and snails? You got it!It's also indestructible.
This morning, I looked up a recipe for curried chickpeas on Google, intending to use it as a side dish for supper tonight. Lo and behold..........the first three recipes have cilantro chopped into and sprinkled over....
And that, my friends, is what decided me to write to this site.