October 19, 2006
I was 21 and teaching English at a teachers' college in China when I first encountered this unexplainably foul taste. Now, before I even departed for this country on the other side of the world, I'd decided that I would try everything offered to me . . . twice. Thus, I've eaten pig's intestines, whole shrimp (legs and all), and even sea cucumbers - all without complaining! But, then, the nastiest thing I'd ever eaten and was glad to leave behind. It was a soup dish with a fish from the local river laying in the bottom of it. You just pick of some flesh with the spoon as you ladle out the soup. I thought, "Wow! I didn't know that I hated fish so much!" I was polite and refrained from sharing my opinion. I just thought that the fish had gone bad or something.
The strangest thing happened, though. When I returned to the States, I experienced that wretched taste again! The problem was that there was no fish in this dish. Why did it taste like soap or deorderant? (My friends tease me for saying such a thing. "Why, have you eaten deorderant before?" "NO; but this stuff tastes like deorderant smells!") I finally discovered that it was those harmless-looking little green flakes. I just had to find out what those things were! Cilantro. Okay, so it wasn't only in China.
Then, I had a German chef-friend who used it in his Mexican dishes. Mexico is vexed with it, too? How unfortunate! Now, I can't get away from the stuff! Why must all of the restaurants ruin perfectly good food with Cilantro. No thanks; I think I'll pass.