November 30, 2006
I first ran into cilantro cooking at a kosher-vegetarian restaurant in the mid-80s.
The restaurant owner wanted to add a different flavor to our tabbouleh salad and order a huge bunch of cilantro to add to the parsley and mint flavors. I had it on my task list for the day to make the salad, so I pulled the cilantro out of the refrigerator and started chopping....
As the cilatro vapors wafted toward my face as it hovered over the cutting board, I could feel myself going light-headed. The smell was so foreign and so utterly vile that I had to walk - no, RUN - away. I asked someone else to take over (they were fine with it), and I realized to my horror that the smell had lovingly and indelibly transferred to my hands! I spent the rest of the day cutting onions, tomatoes - anything to try and get rid of the stink to no avail.
I avoid cilantro at all costs. I do get strange looks if I go to a Southeast Asian restaurant and do "surgery" on my fresh springrolls to remove the offending weed.