August 01, 2012
I first encountered it when I was about 25 years old. My soon-to-be sister-in-law had gotten a job as a server at a trendy pasta restaurant that had "signature" dishes that were "inspired" by world cuisines. I have never been a picky eater, and enjoy just about all food (except Mexican: the chili and other seasonings taste and smell just like really bad men's underarm body odor smells). Anyway, the whole family had gone out to her restaurant one night while she worked our section. I ordered a Thai-inspired pasta dish. Yum. Until I bit into the fresh cilantro.
It doesn't taste to me like anything different than what it actually is (not soapy or anything), but the EXPERIENCE reminds me of accidentally biting down on a piece of aluminum foil. The taste has such a jarring, intense zing; it's a definite wake-up call! I thought at first there was something wrong with my pasta, but I didn't want to complain, as the server was family, really busy, and I didn't want to bother her. I continued to pick at the pasta and that's when I realized that the food quality was fine, but it was the nasty green leaves that had been (1) tossed all throughout the dish and (2) used as a purée that was "artfully" squiggled around the edge of the plate as decoration. It ruined what would have otherwise been a delicious meal.
Every time I have accidentally eaten cilantro since then, I have experienced that awful, intense zing of flavor. Nasty, nasty stuff!