September 20, 2007
I was a teenager in 1992, and I was sitting with my parents in a Mexican restaurant. Over the years I had slowly developed what you might call an almost unconditional love for all foods Mexican. Be it the spiciness of the tomato salsas, or the refried-beans, or the tortilla combinations, I was discovering a real passion for Mexican cuisine.
As my mother scooped the first bite of salsa, she exclaimed with joy: "Oooh! They put cilantro in the salsa! Mmm...I love cilantro!"
I was eager to try; I took a nice salty blue corn tortilla chip and scooped a generous pile of the spicy salsa onto it. As I gratifyingly crunched down into the first bite, I noticed something was wrong - Very Wrong. Instead of Mexican Goodness, I tasted something like straight petroleum or cheap floral perfume. It wasn't the usual kind of 'iffy' flavor, but rather almost something like a parody on the entire concept of something that tastes bad. Was someone laughing back in the kitchen?
I kept my shock to myself that day, but deep down I was thinking, "How can you people like that sickening flavor?" I mean, the taste of the cilantro just flat-out annihilated all the other subtle flavors of the salsa and made the whole thing taste like soap or perfume.
I'm a bit ashamed to say that I actually tried over the years to accomodate my palate to that vile taste; I would just try to ignore that overpowering, pungent flavor while eating a dish laden with cilantro, but for years the taste just remained what it was: absolutely horrible.
Finally I started telling waiters to altogether exclude the crap.
Unfortunately it seems our society has come to love, and I mean love, this filthy excuse for an herb. What a shame, because I used to crave so many foods that I now detest because of cilantro, and only because of cilantro. A pox on cilantro!