February 12, 2007
For years I thought I was allergic to Indian food. I couldn't figure out what the problem was. I'm not a picky eater at all so I wanted to try this new, ethnic cuisine. (I was in high school at the time.) My best friend and I went to an upscale Indian restaurant and got the same dish. I don't remember what it was, but it was definitely sprinkled with fresh cilantro. After dinner, which I didn't love and didn't hate, we went back to my house and some friends came to meet up with us. About 1 1/2 hours after eating, I got really hot and sweaty and dizzy. Before I knew it, I was puking again and again. My friend and I had the same thing, so I couldn't figure out how I'd gotten food poisoning... I went out to Indian food again about a year later. This time I was a mature NYC college student. My roomate and I went to Little India in the East Village and I ordered Chicken Masala. As I was eating, I knew something didn't taste right, but I was a trooper. I was not going to be a picky eater. I ate about half of my meal and we headed back to our dorm and began to get ready to go out for the night. My best friend's boyfriend and I went to Food Emporium to get some beer. (Again, about 1 1/2 hours after eating) as we were walking through the grocery store, I got really hot. Something didn't feel right. I basically sprinted back to my dorm and, again, found myself puking. Again, my friend who'd eaten the same meal was fine. I spent the night watching Lifetime Original movies. (There were some other mysterious "food poisoning" incidents, but I won't explain each one)From then on I decided I'd never eat Indian food again. When I went to India a few months later for 2 1/2 weeks, I lived on cookies, chips, and plain naan. Later that same summer I was babysitting and the mom of the kids I was sitting for was washing something in the sink. I was overwhelmed by a terrible smell, and familiar too. "WHAT IS THAT??" I asked her. "It's cilantro." She told me. I asked if it was used in Indian food, she said it was. From then on, any time I went for Indian or Mexican food I told them to make sure there was no cilantro. I never got sick again. Some people don't believe me about my allergy. They think I just don't like cilantro, but I know the truth... and so does my college roomate.