June 30, 2013
I first tasted cilantro in Vietnam in 1970. They used to like to put it in soup. At that time, I had no idea what it was. I figured that I had just gotten hold of some bad food -- in Vietnam, you were never sure exactly what you were eating.
I came home and did not encounter the disgusting substance again for about 15 years -- until the mid-80s. I was no stranger to Mexican food, having spend a good bit of time in Texas. But I had never tasted the vile weed in Mexican food. Apparently, some trendy (no doubt Californian) cook figured it would taste good in Mexican food, and somehow it caught on. One owner of a so-called Mexican restaurant even had the nerve to tell me it was traditional in Mexican food, which I knew not to be true.
Now, the old dishwater-tasting toxin is everywhere. Strangely, my wife and my children not only tolerate it, but delight in eating the poison. However, they know very well my aversion to the demonic leaf, and they are aware that it (and its kissing-cousin, coriander) are banned in my household. I am especially careful eating salsa in so-called Mexican restaurants, as it is a favorite object of cilantro pollution. Some places, I avoid altogether, such as Moe's Burritos, as they place enough cilantro in their menu offerings to choke a mule.