August 04, 2016
Well, the first time I encountered cilantro was in my mid-thirties, when I ordered food for the first time from a small Thai, mall type of restaurant. They said the soup was a favorite with the customers and it looked quite appetizing to me. Filled with a variety of veggies, some tomatoes, peppers, green onions and pasta, it was a colorful dish that I'd surely appreciate as a vegan. The first few spoonfuls went fine, until suddenly I bit on something that felt in my mouth like aluminum foil. I was completely stunned by this sensation. It took several seconds to come back from it. However, I decided to continue eating thinking that it was probably just an isolated piece of vegetable that had gone a little bad. I didn't think the soup would be ruined so I went on to try to finish my meal. Not every bite was affected, so for a while I thought things were OK. But of course it happened again. My mother was with me and I said to her "there's something wrong with this soup, I don't know what it is, but I think maybe the green onions have gone bad". She was eating something else so we couldn't compare. I tried eating again but soon I knew it was hopeless. There was no way I could get through eating that dish that looked so great! I gave up and felt bad about it. Some time after when I knowingly discovered the taste of cilantro, I realized that that was the culprit in the infamous soup. I am not a difficult person when it comes to food. I don't eat animal products by choice, but otherwise there are few things that I don't like, almost none. This herb, however, is impossible to me. The idea of soap doesn't come to mind though. Aluminum foil is my best description. Is it because I have fillings in my mouth, since some people say that cilantro is chelating? However, my mother bought a bunch by mistake once, thinking it was parsley, and she was horrified with the taste. Looks like genetics come into play too. Any smart managed restaurant will keep it out of the recipes or at least, present it as optional. Even if it's only 10 % of the population that can't eat it, it's 10 % loss of customers.