November 29, 2006
I live in Virginia in the USA which, thankfully, seems to be relatively cilantro-free. When I was 19 years old, I left home to serve a 2-year mission for my Church in Brazil. When I first got there, I noticed something strange about some of the food that was served there, but I couldn't really put my finger on it. After mentioning it to some other Americans living there, they said it was cheiro-verde (which literally translates to green smell) which was actually cilantro. I had never tasted it before, but I instantly knew that I despised it. Almost every house that I ate in used it entirely too much. I would try to gag down the food so I wouldn't be considered rude, but it was very difficult. I even had one family mention how good they thought it was that I chewed my food so well (I was actually trying to swallow their vile food). Near the end of my stay in Brazil, I was going to eat in the home of a family, and I told the wife that if it contained cheiro-verde, I would not be able to eat it. I figured it was better to be up-front about it. She said okay and I was ready for a decent meal the next day. When we got there, she had made chicken covered in cheiro-verde. True to my word, I didn't eat one bite of it.
When I got back from Brazil, I told my family about this horrible spice known as the green smell (not knowing that it was cilantro). I warned them abouot the dangers of it and to be prepared if they ever went to Brazil. I went through 8 years of mostly being able to avoid the green smell... until my wife bought me a frozen meal for lunch called cilantro shrimp. I microwaved the food and brought it back to my desk, ready for a nice seafood treat. When I opened the dish, memories of gagging on food for two years rushed back to my mind. I was very hungry, but the smell was overwhelming. The food went into the trash and I got McDonalds. I am thankful to finally know that cilantro is the name of the beast so that I can avoid it even better, and that there is a group of such great people who understand the dangers that are before us.