April 18, 2006
Until now I thought I was alone, but that was okay, because everyone else was obviously out of their minds.
I was a foodie, had been in the business 15 years, and was quite an adventurous eater when I first happened upon cilantro in the 80s. I've eaten octopus, sea urchin, all kinds of edible funghi fresh and dried, and relished the stinkiest of ammonia-fumed Camemberts. I'm game for almost anything (though I've never had coke or a twinkie, come to think of it). I guess I don't hate cilantro as much as others here, because I haven't retched, and the taste doesn't linger, though it is the only food I will pick out of my mouth with my fingers in public. It absolutely ruins food.
I don't remember my first time. It took me a good long while to figure out what was wrong with hippie food, as it first cropped up for me in health and organic food restaurants in San Francisco.
My most revealing encounter with cilantro was on a first date. A suitor made me a salad of fresh tomato and cucumber garnished with a handful of cilantro. I had to admit to him I couldn't touch it. I should have taken it as a sign that the relationship was doomed. It, like the meal, was a disaster.
In the 60s I used to stay with my grandmother. She had some old silverplate mixed in with the her stainless steel flatware. Occasionally I'd end up with a piece of silverplate and inevitably it was tarnished. To me cilantro tastes like blackened tarnished silver - metallic, astringent, and foul. It has a smokier taste than soap, like something banished from the Lake of Fire as beyond evil.