June 11, 2007
I first had cilantro in Paris, when I was twenty-two. It was at a small "traiteur chinois" - I first thought they had not rinsed their plates properly because suddenly my meal tasted like dish-washing liquid! I thought about complaining until I recognized the taste was not distributed evenly in the sauce but centered around the sprig of fresh herb swimming in it. Thankfully they had used the stuff more for decoration than flavour!
Actually, it took me a few weeks and an unpleasant encounter with an acquaintance's home-made mexican bean salad to learn that the icky vaguely parsley-looking stuff had been cilantro.