November 15, 2011
I first ate cilantro (more commonly called coriander in Australia) c2002 at a local Vietnamese restaurant when a friend from interstate was staying with me. It was her first night in town. Everyone loved the food but I had trouble getting even a forkful of one particular dish near me. I was unfamiliar with the overwhelming stench of the dish and it was like my body was warning me not to eat it. But because someone had served me and I hadn't seen my friend in 10 years, I tried to put a good face on it and struggled down two mouthfuls before declining any more.
About 20 minutes later my throat was feeling very odd. Swollen. I started coughing and I realised I had asthma. Long story short, gasping for breath, Ventolin didn't help and I ended up in hospital for the night.
The incident was so frightening I have avoided coriander ever since, to the everlasting amusement of my mother, who delights in using coriander in EVERYTHING. I'm glad I can detect it so easily - it gets within whiffing distance and it's like my whole body revolts. My daughter is the same, but my husband and other children don't seem to mind it.
My extended family think I am making it all up or that it's in my head - they don't find the smell of it as wholly offensive as I do. Godawful stuff.
I believe if my body reacts so violently at just the smell, and so seriously with ingestion, that I am allergic to it. And I say so.