April 04, 2012
As a lifelong dweller in the blessed soil and sand of Texas, I have encountered my share of tacos. They come in many forms. They can be beefed, beaned, and shrimped, and yes, sometimes, cilantroed. My Indian heritage, while gracing me with a rich culture, also carried certain culinary burdens, specifically the near-ubiquitous presence of the cursed leaf. As a small child, it was a deep offense to my tastebuds to meet the stringy green devil. The poor sense screamed and throbbed with anguish from the overwhelming bitterness. Texas and India, two places I loved with a common culinary tradition I abhorred.
However, time passed, and I grew into a mature young man. Along the way, I grew accustomed to the taste of many once-bitter things. Beets were once a terror, and now, a small pleasure. My first beer wrinkled my face like a turtle, but in weeks, I was craving the harsh roll of an IPA. However, perhaps the greatest transformation of all came from a stringy green devil that I came to know as a stringy green angel.
A bunch of cilantro at my grocery store costs twenty-eight cents. Twenty-eight cents for a world of flavor. Twenty-eight cents for perfect tacos. Twenty-eight cents for zesty white rice. Twenty-eight cents for chutney with a tang. Twenty-eight cents is all it takes for culinary holiness. All hail the great herb! O coriander, your leaf is a flattened drop from a heavenly green cloud. Do not listen to these misguided souls. Their hate is only that. Hate. It is nothing more, nothing richer. Just hate. They do not know richness if they do not know cilantro. Hail!