September 16, 2007
I first encountered this inexplicably popular herb in about 1985, when I was at a nice Italian restaurant with several friends. We often got wonderful pizzas from this place, so I thought I'd go for a change of pace and order the lasagna.
A couple bites of it told me that something was very wrong. I wiped my fork, thinking I was tasting dish soap. No luck. I tried a couple more bites but couldn't continue. I was sure that soap had gotten into the sauce somehow. I called the manager over and he was incredulous at my claim that it tasted like soap, but he ultimately brought be a different entree.
Many years later I began detecting that same awful taste in salsas, Thai soup, and a few other places, eventually finding the name of this horror. The memory of the contaminated lasagna returned and I realized what must have been the cause of my alarm.
Recently I was in an Applebees and a man at a nearby table got fajitas. I heard him ask the waitress if that was all the cilantro they were going to put in the salsa. My ears pricked up and I eyed him suspiciously, looking for other telltale signs that he might be something other than human. The waitress soon brought a small cup brimming with the stuff and he grudgingly accepted it, saying that it was ALMOST sufficient. He dumped it onto his plate and I had to look away.
Why this weed has become popular is completely mysterious to me. I concede that there's apparently a perceptual diference here, sort of like why some paople like music I can't stand. But why sneak it into foods when some percentage of the population simply can't stand it??
Have there been any surveys which might hint at the percentage of the population that find this stuff inedible?
This may be the only ammunition we could present to the culinary Powers That Be, to show how many paying customers they are losing.
I was pleased to find this site, having thought to Google "hate cilantro" after seeing yet another TV chef contaminate a hapless dish with the foul weed today.