January 02, 2014
1989, in Madagascar. With 2 colleagues on route from the capital to the west coast. We stop for a bite. A small restaurant, not very hygienic. Actually so disgusting that my colleagues, both smokers, took their lighters to 'disinfect' our cutlery.
I ordered some soup. It smelled a bit peculiar and after the first spoonful I got a terrible soapy taste in my mouth, provoking a strong gag reflex, and I ran outside and puked.
I felt miserable.
We asked the waitress what special ingredient was in the soup and the only thing she could imagine was something like 'cote mile'.
Anyway, during the next 2 years in Madagascar I knew what to avoid.
In 1992 I worked in Yemen and I always took my dinner very late, just before closing time of the company diner.
I was also responsible for the kitchen hygiene inspections and could get along well with the Indian chef.
Sometimes he prepared special dishes for me, if there was not much choice left over for me.
One day he surprised me with an Indian dish which smelled
faintly familiar. And after the first drop I knew.
Cote mile!!. I asked him what it was and with a big smile he answered 'coriander'.
From that day onwards I always rub 'parsley' between my fingers to identify it by the smell.