August 17, 2012
I have hated cilantro ever since I was a child. I didn't even know which ingredient it was that so polarized a dish my mother made that caused me to gag in total disgust. At 5 years old, like a detective, I inspected the kitchen to identify that foul ingredient that held my mother's kitchen and our dinner hostage. I can taste even the teeniest bit of that repugnant herb in an unassuming salsa. In the summer of 2004, in a small Thai café in Los Angeles, I swore it violated my Pad See Ew, even though I ordered it without. I searched the inside of my casualty of a mouth and retrieved the itty bitty teenie weenie piece of that repulsive leaf that raped my tastebuds for the remainder of that dinner. Last year, I walked into the pastry section of a Whole Foods market in disgust because the cilantro that was being chopped in the produce section on the other side of the market had hijacked my olfactory system and seized my poor stomach! On a business trip to NYC in the spring of 2010, when I told a waiter in a lower-east side trendy brunch spot that I would like to order a certain dish sans the cilantro, he exclaimed "I HATE IT TOO! Cilantro is like 2-week-old garbage, that somebody chewed up and spit out and somebody else swallowed and then vomited!!!" I almost kissed him right there. THAT was the perfect description of my feelings for this repulsive herb...NOT soapy or moldy. Oh loathsome and revolting plant – I vow to spend my free waking hours as an apothecary developing an epidemic to expel you from this earth. If I fail to do so and if there is a God in heaven, please cast another salmonella outbreak similar to the one in 2010 that caused a recall in the US and Canada? But this time, please make it permanent. After you implement world peace, of course.