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Cilantro: Love It or Hate It? There’s a Reason, You See…

Cilantro

Coriander. Chinese Parsley. Cilantro. Yan Shi. Whatever you know it by, this herb is widely used in many cuisines. Some folks love it, some hate it…

Growing up in central Texas, I was a teenager before I realized there was such a thing as “Tex-Mex” or Mexican foods. It was part of the standard meal plan. And cilantro was used generously in soups, salsas and baked dishes. The bright green leaves also found their way into garnishes and toppings for tacos and casseroles. Heck, to a kid it even looked something like parsley (but didn’t taste like it at all).

As I got out into the world and realized how many cultures used cilantro in their flavoring blends and dishes, I also noticed that there were some folks who absolutely detested the stuff. “No accounting for taste” was my only thought. I mean, how could anybody hate cilantro?

Well, there may be good reasons. As detailed in an article found here.

Great chefs and cooks, from Julia Child to Ina Garten, have voiced their dislike of cilantro. Some even leave it out of key dishes like pico de gallo; which is a felony in at least 217 counties in Texas, but that doesn’t stop them. To this day it amazes me how you can eat Tex-Mex, or Indian, or Chinese (or Portuguese, Mediterranean, Thai or even Scandinavian) and not enjoy fresh coriander.

What’s even stranger, the dislike doesn’t often extend to “coriander,” which is the generic term (in many locations) for the dried seed and not the leaf. The seed is key in many national cuisines as well, but doesn’t begin to taste like the fresh herb. Go figure.

Science may have the answer to the visceral reaction of some folks to cilantro. And these “haters” are not really to blame; it’s in their genetics. So they can actually blame previous generations for passing along the issue and thus depriving them of one of life’s great flavors. I know I sure couldn’t live without the stuff, and I’m pretty wishy-washy compared to my spouse’s love of cilantro.

Like I said, there’s no accounting for taste, except maybe in this case…

If You Can’t Stand the Heat, Leave Out the Cilantro…

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