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O soapy flavour / Why pollutest thou my food? / Thou me makest retch
September 12, 2012 2:44 PM   Subscribe

A genome-wide association study has linked a dislike of cilantro with a variant of a single nucleotide in a cluster of olfactory receptor genes. The palatability of cilantro has previously been a divisive subject on the blue.

While the association was strong in European populations, it did not hold in most of the other populations in the study, and furthermore, could account for only a small subset of those who found cilantro to have a "soapy" taste. It is possible that other such gene variants are involved.
posted by dephlogisticated (128 comments total) 20 users marked this as a favorite

 
Damn muties.
posted by The Whelk at 2:46 PM on September 12, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm one of those that tastes it as soapy. But, oddly, I still like it, as long as it's not overdone. Too much cilantro will ruin a dish for me, but a little is good.

Man, I wish it tasted lemony. That sounds excellent.
posted by Malor at 2:48 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


So now instead of someone spending 5 minutes explaining how much they don't like cilantro, I get to hear 10 minutes about their genetic abnormality? Yay!
posted by thecjm at 2:50 PM on September 12, 2012 [11 favorites]


Just give ME all the cilantro. Mom.
posted by antiquated at 2:52 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


That should be "Nom". Nom Nom nom
posted by antiquated at 2:53 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


So now instead of someone spending 5 minutes explaining how much they don't like cilantro, I get to hear 10 minutes about their genetic abnormality? Yay!

This probably makes me a huge asshole, but when someone carries on, world without end, about their hatred of cilantro, I just nod and smile and say "That's nice, dear." Usually startles 'em into shutting the hell up.

(Of course, they may be the bigger assholes for pitching a fit the moment the herb is so much as hinted at, but sweet fuck. Just say "No, thank you, I don't care for cilantro" when someone offers you a dish with cilantro in it, and leave it at that. We don't need a fucking dissertation.)
posted by MissySedai at 2:55 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I do not like Cilantro. It does not taste lemony to me, nor does it taste soapy. It tastes dirty. But not in that earthy, delicious coffee way.
posted by Jacob G at 2:57 PM on September 12, 2012


Oh god I want lime-cilantro rice right now
posted by The Whelk at 2:58 PM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


See, I'm one of those who would say, "I don't care for cilantro" when I'm offered it, but those who do like cilantro often say, "But WHYYYYYYYYYYY? It's so GOOOOOOOOOOD." which is why those of us who don't like it preemptively explain the reason so often. It's really effing irritating to hear people insist I should like it and am just flat-out wrong because "It's so good."
posted by pineappleheart at 2:59 PM on September 12, 2012 [26 favorites]


I have no strong feelings regarding cilantro. Is this a genetic abnormality in itself?
posted by solarion at 3:01 PM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


To me, cilantro doesn't taste soapy.

It does make everything taste like grass, though.
posted by madajb at 3:03 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


See, I'm one of those who would say, "I don't care for cilantro" when I'm offered it, but those who do like cilantro often say, "But WHYYYYYYYYYYY? It's so GOOOOOOOOOOD." which is why those of us who don't like it preemptively explain the reason so often.

Those people are even bigger assholes! Ugh! I liken them with people who want to argue with me about why I should watch a particular TV show, then get pissed when I repeat that I'm not interested.

I love to cook. Cooking makes me happy. Cooking for friends and family makes me even happier. Making people unhappy or uncomfortable at my table upsets me, and pushing someone to eat something they don't like is inhospitable.
posted by MissySedai at 3:03 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


It tasted slightly lemony to me (but mainly inoffensive; I didn't like it cooking with it because it just didn't taste like much to me) until I got pregnant, and now for the last four years it's tasted intolerably of soap. Before I got pregnant, I was like, "Soap? Really? Soap?" and now I'm like, "SOAP! GAAAAAAAH. Soap."

pineappleheart, the correct answer to those people is, "I just don't -- more for you!" (I don't like chocolate. The slavering hoards think I am both wrong and insane ... but then I point out they can have my dessert, and conversation stops dead for a minute because they are torn between wanting to correct my wrongness and wanting to eat my dessert, and they have to think about it. They always take my dessert.)
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 3:04 PM on September 12, 2012 [7 favorites]


To me, cilantro doesn't taste soapy.

It does make everything taste like grass, though.


Curious. I've never heard it described that way. Do you like things that taste grassy?

A couple of my favorite olive oils, and a few wines I am fond of, taste like freshly mown grass smells. Some stronger than others, of course. Tastes like summer.
posted by MissySedai at 3:06 PM on September 12, 2012


A nice blog posting on The Exceptionalism of Cilantro Haters
posted by crazy_yeti at 3:08 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Someone must be moving soul into new bodies every few months, because I alternately love and hate cilantro. (Probably because I add a little..that's good...add more...wow...add more!...ew, so much cilantro!...no more cilantro...add a little...that's good....)
posted by DU at 3:09 PM on September 12, 2012


pineappleheart: Just tell them you can't eat cilantro for ethical reasons, and then refuse to discuss it further.
posted by aubilenon at 3:12 PM on September 12, 2012 [13 favorites]


And they said genome-wide association studies were a tremendous waste of time. The fools.
posted by docgonzo at 3:13 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Clinatro tastes smokey-lemony-and yes a bit grassy to me. It's such an interesting mix but it's not a strong flavor so it's best as ...garnish.

Or reducing it and concentrating it until it's a delicious make-everything-better paste.
posted by The Whelk at 3:14 PM on September 12, 2012


So, genetical. Huh. Cilantro: human catnip.
posted by likeso at 3:16 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


Crazy_Yeti, that blog post isn't so nice... It's actually kinda odd that she's gone out of her way to insult people who dislike cilanto... Hinting that it's possibly racist? Dismissing studies that she hasn't read (I'll grant that they weren't referenced but still) ...
posted by cirhosis at 3:17 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


So now instead of someone spending 5 minutes explaining how much they don't like cilantro, I get to hear 10 minutes about their genetic abnormality?

I think you've got this exactly backward. It is not "normal" to prefer the taste of a noxious weed.
posted by R. Schlock at 3:19 PM on September 12, 2012


Does fresh ground coriander seed also smell/taste different to those with this mutation?
posted by TwelveTwo at 3:22 PM on September 12, 2012


So...A genetic test is nigh, so that we may eradicate the evil cilantro-haters from this world?
{burns voice} Excellent...
posted by Thorzdad at 3:24 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Nobody is addressing the fact that cilantro frequently impersonates parsley.
posted by scratch at 3:26 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


(becomes the Magneto of Cilantro Rights)
posted by The Whelk at 3:27 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


It is not "normal" to prefer the taste of a noxious weed.

Technically, about 74% of participants in the study reported liking cilantro.
posted by dephlogisticated at 3:27 PM on September 12, 2012


TwelveTwo, in my experience the Herb tastes like soap but the seed is completely fine... and most people I've talked to feel the same...
posted by cirhosis at 3:28 PM on September 12, 2012


Ok, so is this whole vocal-disagreement-about-cilantro a joke I've just failed to catch on to? There have been suspicions of a genetic basis for cilantro perception for quite some time. When people say "HOW COULD YOU HATE CILANTRO" or equivalent, are they just participating in a mock holy war in a similar spirit to friends teasing each other in harmless ways?
posted by Jpfed at 3:29 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Now I get to explain to these "people" who don't like cilantro that they're genetic deficients, but with evidence this time.
posted by cmoj at 3:31 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


It seems to be mainly the fresh herb that's an issue - I use coriander seed in cooking sometimes with no problems, and don't mind cooked cilantro (but please don't leave it whole; I don't need 4 inch long soggy stalks getting caught in my teeth) - but raw in a spring roll? Yeah, soap here.
posted by CyberSlug Labs at 3:31 PM on September 12, 2012


Dried cilantro/coriander makes a lovely minimalist decoration when put in a simple vase.

A way to prepare cilantro, perhaps, which is tasteful in its own way.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 3:31 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


(also: 5 parts black peppercorns, 3 parts white, 1 part each green, pink, coriander, and allspice in a grinder)
posted by CyberSlug Labs at 3:34 PM on September 12, 2012


This is an insanely important data point. Here's why. If the domain of the here and now (roughly: what you thing of as your experience, or, if you are given to over-intellectualizing, your mind, or, if you are over schooled, the ultimate target of a Husserlian reduction) arises from the embedding of an organism in a world, then differences in sensorimotor embedding in that world speak of genuine differences among us, and not just fluff.
posted by stonepharisee at 3:41 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Well, as an apparently separate issue from the gene that affects a preference for cilantro, it DOES contain substantial amounts of aldehydes, which are excreted as part of a natural repellent in some insects (such as stinkbugs) AND is a by-product of making soap!
posted by WaylandSmith at 3:45 PM on September 12, 2012


A nice blog posting on The Exceptionalism of Cilantro Haters

If by nice you mean "pretty shitty."

I love Vietnamese food, Thai food, and Mexican food. I cannot abide cilantro. I have tried and tried, because not liking it while consuming those foods is extremely difficult. I will try again. But It is nothing like not liking coffee. I know, because I used to not like coffee and do now. There are other foods I do not care for, but can tolerate. Cilantro is in fact different. The first time I ate something with cilantro in it, I told everyone else to avoid that dish, as it had something that had gone bad in it. It is different than things I simply don't care for.

I do not know if it is truly genetic, as I am not a genetic scientist. (I don't think the author of the "nice" blog is either). But things aren't as simple as the author of that blog post wants it to be, either.
posted by Bookhouse at 3:45 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Wait, what? There are people who dislike the flavor of cilantro? More importantly, there are people who think that cilantro has a flavor?

Both cilantro and ground coriander taste so little like anything at all, I've always assumed they were used entirely to add color and texture to foods without changing their flavor. Perhaps I should rethink that assumption when cooking.

I wonder how many other spices I've dismissed as too dull to bother with actually have interesting properties to some people.
posted by eotvos at 3:52 PM on September 12, 2012


I do not care for cilantro. It's just not yummy. And it makes me not be able to sleep at night.

Mint. Let's talk about mint now. It tastes like gasoline to me.
posted by Sassyfras at 4:04 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cilantro haters, please answer a question I came up with the other night: What do you think about shiso?

I only started wondering because shiso tastes awful to me and lots of people seem to like it.
posted by keep_evolving at 4:09 PM on September 12, 2012


Ok, the blog posting I linked to has some flaws, and the allegation of possible racism is a bit over the top. Sorry if I caused offense. What I liked about the piece (and the reason I linked to it) is the suggestion that even if something tastes awful to you at first, you can learn to like it, like this guy did. I think there's a lot of psychology involved in food preferences, it's a complex and subtle issue.
posted by crazy_yeti at 4:10 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


keep_evolving: I have a medium-strong dislike for cilantro, and am pretty much straight up neutral about shiso. To me it tastes more like mint than cilantro. I like mint in sweet things but not so much in savory things.

How about mangoes? Am I the only for whom one those taste like turpentine?
posted by aubilenon at 4:12 PM on September 12, 2012


I would like to invite all of the "it's all in your head, cilantro-haters" people to come over to my house for a dinner party. We'll start with some soap quesadillas, move on to a soap salad, then some nice soap spring rolls before moving on to the main course: soap soup with a side of soap.

You see, enjoying the taste of soap is purely cultural. With enough practice, you can suppress the gag reflex and really appreciate it.
posted by 0xFCAF at 4:14 PM on September 12, 2012 [8 favorites]


Hate soapy old cilantro... but cannot get enough coriander.
posted by Cosine at 4:14 PM on September 12, 2012


Mmmmm . . . mangoes. heaven on earth. except for that pesky allergy thing I get when I handle them - darn you urushiol!
posted by Sassyfras at 4:15 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


I live in the Southwest US and cilantro is a very common ingredient, but it is necessary for the dishes that call for it. My sister didn't like it and the recipes we cooked without it just weren't complete. Cilantro adds depth that a squeeze of lime doesn't match at all. I can't imagine perceiving it like soap/dirt/tasteless.

A taco is not complete without a liberal pile of cilantro on top. Sometimes it's just hot sauce and cilantro. Mmmmm... now I'm hungry.

(Shiso? Meh, I would probably like it if I ate more of it. Mango? It has this weird mystery spice + tangy flavor that makes my mouth all furry, but I always assumed I was allergic to it.)
posted by Vysharra at 4:15 PM on September 12, 2012


There are other foods I do not care for, but can tolerate. Cilantro is in fact different. The first time I ate something with cilantro in it, I told everyone else to avoid that dish, as it had something that had gone bad in it. It is different than things I simply don't care for.

I have a friend who has this issue with spinach. Cooked or raw, it tastes like rusty nails to him.
posted by MissySedai at 4:18 PM on September 12, 2012


A taco is not complete without a liberal pile of cilantro on top.

This issue is divisive enough. Can we please leave politics out of it?
posted by dephlogisticated at 4:22 PM on September 12, 2012 [14 favorites]


I think the thing which people who think other people can learn to like cilantro are missing is that those who don't like it have a totally different experience of cilantro. Thinking the soap tasters can learn to like cilantro with practice is a little like thinking a colorblind person can learn to see colors with practice.

We already know people see colors differently (colorblindness) and experience sounds differently (synesthesia), why should we be surprised that the tastes of things are perceived differently by different people?
posted by smcameron at 4:22 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


aubilenon: are you sure you haven't been eating Turpentine Mangos?

Try a different variety, like the Champagne Mango.

Although, in keeping with the "cultural bias" and "you can learn to like just about anything edible" (which does not include actual soap, sorry OxFCAF), note this quote:

The seedlings are far inferior, but still are eaten and enjoyed by millions of people in all tropical countries. Ask ten people who have lived for years in the tropics and nine of them will tell you that the turpentine mango is delicious, and they don't mind the turpentine flavor at all, in fact that they like it, but, of course, it is not to be compared with the improved mango.

Source: http://fcit.usf.edu/florida/docs/m/mangos.htm

posted by crazy_yeti at 4:23 PM on September 12, 2012


It tasted slightly lemony to me (but mainly inoffensive; I didn't like it cooking with it because it just didn't taste like much to me) until I got pregnant, and now for the last four years it's tasted intolerably of soap. Before I got pregnant, I was like, "Soap? Really? Soap?" and now I'm like, "SOAP! GAAAAAAAH. Soap."

Very interesting you started hating it when you got pregnant, Eyebrows, because cilantro has a reputation as an abortifacient (a category sometimes subsumed under the less immediately incendiary 'emmenagogue' [menstruation inducer], which it also has a reputation as).

and now, Mefites who like the stuff, including and especially one of you, I hope you will be able to forgive me for what I'm about to do.

Here is what Alan Davidson, beloved and revered (by me) original editor of The Oxford Companion to Food had to say about cilantro-- aka coriander leaves:
Both uses of the plant are linked by its characteristic and strong smell.The very name coriander is said to be derived from the Greek koris, meaning bed-bug.The foliage of the plant, and its seeds in the unripe stage, have an odor which has been compared with the smell of bug-infested bedclothes. However, this smell disappears from the seeds. when they ripen and is replaced by a pleasant, spicy aroma. The leaves, on the other hand, retain it. Europeans often have difficulty overcoming their initial aversion to this smell.
If this is true and the assertion that a mutation is a factor in aversion to cilantro, particularly the smell, is also true, I think it would be reasonable to guess that this mutation has been selected for because it facilitates an ability to detect and avoid bed bugs.
posted by jamjam at 4:23 PM on September 12, 2012 [5 favorites]


Data point: As a cilantro-disliker, I like shiso.
posted by Bookhouse at 4:23 PM on September 12, 2012


I am drinking delicious mango juice as we speak.

Okay. So, dill. I love it. My sister hates it, and has pretended to be allergic to it to avoid offense.

She loves vanilla as a scent. I like it just fine as a flavoring, but neither my body nor my house need to reek of it.
posted by likeso at 4:24 PM on September 12, 2012


I love cilantro, but I get why it annoys those who dislike it: it shows up randomly on everything.

If it was obvious what was going to arrive with cilantro at a restaurant I think it would be much less annoying. But so many places just put it on everything, like salt or something. I'm cool with it, but when eating out with those who aren't I get why it can be a Thing.
posted by wildcrdj at 4:26 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


The Oxford Companion to Food? What do they know about food in the UK? (ducks)
posted by crazy_yeti at 4:26 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Are you implying the British are fowl?
posted by TwelveTwo at 4:27 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


MUTANTS
posted by beaucoupkevin at 4:30 PM on September 12, 2012


Now they need to figure out what's wrong with people who don't like licorice.
posted by fshgrl at 4:34 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Oh, this is a great opportunity to link to one of my favorite reference sites, Gernot Katzer's Spice Pages - a really impressive work of scholarship, in my opinion. Here's his entry for coriander/cilantro.

Quote: There is, however, much dis­agree­ment about the flavour of co­riander leaves, roots and un­ripe fruits: Many people of Euro­pean her­itage find it dis­pleas­ing, soapy, like "burnt rubber" or even like crushed bed­bugs or the evil-smelling stink bugs living on rose bushes. There are, however, many Euro­peans who enjoy cori­ander leaves, and in Asia, Latin America and Africa, almost every­body loves them. These people would describe coriander leaves as fresh, green, tangy and even citrusy.

There is per­manent rumour that the ability to like or dislike coriander herb (cilantro) is genetically caused. I do not know whether this is true; in any case, the theory might explain that some Europeans and Northern Americans seem to like it from the beginning while others have a hard time getting used to it. Note, however, that almost the same is true for chile, which is used with discretion in Europe and, until recently, the Unites States, but which is, with some exceptions, much more popular everywhere else; yet I haven’t heard the claim that that is a genetic thing, too.

posted by crazy_yeti at 4:34 PM on September 12, 2012


And as Wick Fowler said of H. Allen Smith when he put cilantro in his chili, ' He ain't fit to tote guts to a bear"
posted by crushedhope at 4:36 PM on September 12, 2012


I'm personally a fan of cilantro, but I'm apparently one of the few people on earth who just hates shrimp, and people try desperately to talk me into just tasting the roaches of the sea because maybe I just haven't had good shrimp (this is a rehash of arguments about why I should try having sex with the ladies that I was endlessly subjected to back in the eighties, as well).

They trick me into eating the little nastybugs, act surprised when I hold up a shitty little curl of white horror on a fork, and still believe in their hearts of hearts that I'm going to surrender one of these days. I've given up on explanations and now just claim to be fatally allergic to shrimp, which seems to shut people up and inspire a bit of caution with the ingredients list. I get caught in a lie now and then (some things with shrimp components are just fine—it's the sweetness of deathly corruption and the nightmarish way that the meat sort of busts between the teeth like a wad of zit-plastered teenage skin), but it's easier this way.

Lately, my eye-rolling culinary fad is umami flavor. Yeah, it's fine, I get it, but Jesus Q. effing Kee-rist—stop making everything umamilicious. A little bit goes a long way, but at fad levels, it produces a taste in my mouth that's evocative of how it feels when you've had the flu for four days and have had nothing but soup until there's this weird salty/savory/sweat-from-the-taint-of-an-unwashed-stevedore-with-poor-urination-habits tone that just seems synonymous with sickness. I'm a fan of the savory, but everything in moderation, for pete's sake.
posted by sonascope at 4:39 PM on September 12, 2012 [9 favorites]


Oh, by the way, Gernot Katzer also disputes the "koris" (bedbug) etymology:

It is usually put into relation with koris [κόρις] "bug", because of the aroma of the leaves, but it is more probably a loan from an ancient Medi­ter­ra­nean tongue and might be dis­tantly re­lated to Greek karon [κάρον] "cumin" and Hebrew gad [גד] "co­rian­der".
posted by crazy_yeti at 4:41 PM on September 12, 2012


( joins Sonascope in the Freedom Loving Keep America Shrimp Free Party)
posted by The Whelk at 4:42 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


To me it tastes like soap, but, you know, nice soap, so I never minded it.
posted by kyrademon at 4:53 PM on September 12, 2012 [3 favorites]


I've always liked cilantro, but ever since I heard the "tastes like soap" thing, I have to admit that it does, if I think about it, taste a bit like soap.

Based on my self-reported, anecdotal, singular data point, I conjecture that some cilantro haters don't have the "hate cilantro" genetic difference, but rather thought it tasted kind of like soap the first time they tried it and have never been able to get past that association.
posted by treepour at 4:54 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


They trick me into eating the little nastybugs, act surprised when I hold up a shitty little curl of white horror on a fork, and still believe in their hearts of hearts that I'm going to surrender one of these days.

If you beat them over the head with their own severed arms, no jury in the world would convict.

My own grandmother did this to me with sugar-free stuff. I am horribly sensitive to aspartame. Migraine, vomiting, difficulty breathing, the works. She had this...thing...for products sweetened with NutraSweet, and refused to believe anyone could have an issue with it, and would continually throw fits if I refused to eat things with NutraSweet in them.

When I was pregnant with Elder Monster, she determined that she was going to prove that I was just making shit up. She and my Aunt hosted a baby shower for me, and unbeknownst to anyone, every dessert my grandmother had made, AND THE PUNCH, had NutraSweet in it. I had a slice of cake, tasted the aspartame, spat it out, and belted back a HUGE cup of punch to get the taste out of my mouth, before I realized that it, too, was poisoned.

Didn't get my finger down my throat fast enough to head off the reaction, alas. Even after a trip to the ER, she STILL insisted I was making it all up!
posted by MissySedai at 4:55 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Aspartame is not food. Chemical sensitivity is not the same thing as being a picky eater. And your grandmother sounds like a sadist!
posted by crazy_yeti at 4:59 PM on September 12, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm on the spectrum of not liking cilantro, but if it's in a small enough proportion I'll overlook it. Like Chipotle's rice. I'd like it better without, but it's still good.
posted by chimaera at 5:05 PM on September 12, 2012


Aspartame is not food. Chemical sensitivity is not the same thing as being a picky eater.

I know this. You know this. NORMAL people know this. But there are people who just will not countenance the idea that someone CAN'T eat something - be it chemical sensitivity, allergy, or just plain aversion - and they will try desperately to prove that they other person is just being unreasonable.

And your grandmother sounds like a sadist!

Yeah, she was a pretty terrible person. I stopped speaking to her after she used the N-word in my house to describe a dear friend (and invited guest!). She died two years ago, never having had the pleasure of knowing her great-grandchildren.
posted by MissySedai at 5:06 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


MissySedai, that is awful! When I was a child, some nuts would trigger migraines = killmenow kinda pain. Wow. Yep. Can't choose family.

Odd thing. Whenever I have folks over for dinner, I always ask if there are any real dislikes. When they are American, I ask if there are any allergies. There often are!
posted by likeso at 5:07 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Whenever I have folks over for dinner, I always ask if there are any real dislikes. When they are American, I ask if there are any allergies. There often are!

I do the same. There will be no trips to the ER when I'm cooking, dammit, and unless someone is allergic to everything, it's not that hard to accommodate them.
posted by MissySedai at 5:12 PM on September 12, 2012 [2 favorites]


Posted too soon. Meant to add: I've often wondered if it had to do with higher levels of chemicals (food additives, pesticides, etc.), or greater use of antibacterical soaps and antibiotics. Food allergies don't seem to be as common in Europe- at least, not in my cohort.
posted by likeso at 5:13 PM on September 12, 2012


A nice blog posting on The Exceptionalism of Cilantro Haters
posted by crazy_yeti at 3:08 PM on 9/12


Cilantro-haters are racists who discover they are mutants ! There's an X-Men movie parable in there
posted by Bwithh at 5:17 PM on September 12, 2012


I like cilantro, yet totally understand how it can taste soapy to someone. The aldehyde/stinkbug connection is new to me, but makes complete sense as well. Why the hell do I even like cilantro?
posted by mollweide at 5:19 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Curious. I've never heard it described that way. Do you like things that taste grassy?

Not the way cilantro does.
It's not grassy in a pleasant summery sense like you prefer, it's grassy in a chewing cud kind of a way.

Blearg.
posted by madajb at 5:27 PM on September 12, 2012


Cilantro tastes like an ill person's sweat.

Not like soap.
posted by Anything at 5:43 PM on September 12, 2012


I love cilantro, but I get why it annoys those who dislike it: it shows up randomly on everything.

What is annoying is that the cilantro-lovers aren't subtle about it. "You'll just love my salsa! It's 90% cilantro! By weight!"

Anyway, my characterization of the flavor of cilantro is "rancid". Literally- it tastes like oxidized oil.
posted by gjc at 5:57 PM on September 12, 2012


Add another to the list of haters of the devil's pubic hair. It doesn't seem like a food substance to me (though I have no particular problem with coriander seed IIRC), and I can find very small amounts of it in dishes, much to my dismay. (Salsas I can do but only if they're scalp-tinglingly hot as a distraction).

Fortunately I can make my preferences known in a more low-key way in more serious settings.
posted by Earthtopus at 5:57 PM on September 12, 2012


smcameron: "I think the thing which people who think other people can learn to like cilantro are missing is that those who don't like it have a totally different experience of cilantro."

I've never experienced cilantro hate except on MeFi (to be honest, I thought it was a MeFi thing like "pancakes on head" or "plate of beans", not a real-world phenomenon), but the minute I heard someone say it "tastes like soap", I realized that this was not a case of having a different appraisal of the same experience, but a case of having a totally different experience in the first place.

It's the polar opposite of my conversations with my wife about beer:
"It tastes strongly of hops, and it's kind of bitter, so it's great!"
"No, it tastes strongly of hops, and it's kind of bitter, so it's terrible"

If cilantro tastes like soap to you, then at least don't think of us cilantro people as "weirdos who like the taste of soap", but understand that, to most of us (a few masochists upthread excluded), it doesn't taste like soap.
posted by Bugbread at 6:06 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


It's funny when something has a je ne sais quoi to it that's not inherently appealing and still manages to be delicious. I don't get soap from cilantro as much as a sort of aluminummy metallic note, but I love it in context.

A good brie, to me, has a sort of taste analogue to the scent of freshly dug red clay with a bit of damp basement sniffishness in the finish. One of my favorite (if rarely indulged,because all my friends are spice-pussies) treats is the tea leaf salad from the Burmese restaurant that ascended to the status of my favorite DC-region restaurant like Lincoln's VP when my beloved Sabang went to eatery heaven, and as peculiar as it seems, the overall flavor profile of that dish is sort of a transposition of the scent of the cow palace at the state fair about two weeks in. It's shitty, in a way, but in that sonorous manner that herbivore shittiness has a certain summery goodness to it. Mind you, I grew up across the road from a steer farm, so I may have a less-than-common take on such things.
posted by sonascope at 6:06 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh, crazy yeti, thank you so much! I always thought it was just me that didn't like most mangos (because they taste exactly like turpentine) but I have very occasionally had a mango I loved, so I get suckered into eating the icky ones. Now I know why!


Mint. Let's talk about mint now. It tastes like gasoline to me.

Obviously you're a whole chromosome off.
posted by BlueHorse at 6:08 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Needlessly joining this thread to say that I am cilantro averse. I have only an observation and a question to add. The observation: WNI (in edition from the thirties) defined cilantro as "the inedible leaves of the coriander plant." My sentiments, exactly. (For those keeping score, I am slightly averse to shiso.)

I have discussed this dislike with a friend who is a chef by trade and enjoys cilantro but does not enjoy tarragon at all. I, on the other hand, love French tarragon. (I don't think anyone likes the poor substitute known as Spanish tarragon and it should be avoided.) Both of us eat most things and find this difference in our tastes interesting. Do any of the cilantro-averse here also happen to like tarragon or vice-versa?
posted by Anitanola at 6:37 PM on September 12, 2012


So now instead of someone spending 5 minutes explaining how much they don't like cilantro, I get to hear 10 minutes about their genetic abnormality?

No, see, when they start going off about how much they hate cilantro, you shut them down by calling them a genetic freak.
posted by asnider at 6:54 PM on September 12, 2012


Since I have no aversion to cilantro, would someone please identify a genetic disposition to my dislike of lemongrass, apparently the only trigger-flavor on Earth I prefer to avoid?
posted by halfbuckaroo at 7:02 PM on September 12, 2012


So now instead of someone spending 5 minutes explaining how much they don't like cilantro, I get to hear 10 minutes about their genetic abnormality? Yay!

Wait until they start telling you how they're a supertaster.

There's a big, big difference between fresh cilantro and days-old cilantro, which is mostly what you find in the grocery store. Those who say it tastes like dirt, earth, or nothing may not have eaten it cut fresh off the plant. The fragrance and flavor are very strong when fresh, but rapidly degrade.

I love cilantro, but don't force it on people.
posted by Miko at 7:02 PM on September 12, 2012


I didn't even know how I felt about cilantro till about a decade ago. I'd bought some herb plants to develop an herb garden in my yard to include a couple of cilantro plants. As I was setting them all out I went over to take a deep sniff of the cilantro (I generally love the smell of fresh herbs) and all of a sudden I found myself literally gagging in disgust. The smell of the leaves was not just soapy but a disgustingly soapy that reached into my olfactory system and tried to rip it out. It was not just bad, but nasty. I would rather smell dog poop, and I wish I was kidding.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 7:19 PM on September 12, 2012


I like cilantro (or coriander or pakuchi (as the Japanese call it) or whatever other name it has). But I can understand the revulsion. I have a distaste for a group of foods that share the same sinus-attacking qualities: wasabi, horseradish sauce, Dijon mustard. These are not foods to me, they are abominations. They shoot straight up my nasal passages and diminish the pleasure of eating. And other than that attack, I can't really discern any real flavor from those things anyway (well, ok, maybe mustard). Give me cilantro any day, but haters, I can relate, if for totally different flavor reasons.
posted by zardoz at 7:26 PM on September 12, 2012


I'm always happy to have people who don't like a food I like around, because more for me!

I like cilantro, I did go through a cilantro-averse phase in high school, because at my kitchen job, I had the lucky task of cleaning and picking over a case of cilantro every few days. I couldn't get rid of the smell - hands, clothes, inside of my nose were all permanently set to "everything smells like cilantro." I think I couldn't abide it until after college, even though I didn't have to clean cases of cilantro every day.
posted by rtha at 7:27 PM on September 12, 2012


I'd never heard of cilantro before I first went to Thailand. I just knew that something was making every meal taste like soap but somewhere along the way, I ceased to notice it and well, now I sometimes buy a bunch and just eat it for a snack.

I don't see the point of hot chili peppers though.
posted by TWinbrook8 at 8:08 PM on September 12, 2012


Bugbread: If cilantro tastes like soap to you, then at least don't think of us cilantro people as "weirdos who like the taste of soap", but understand that, to most of us (a few masochists upthread excluded), it doesn't taste like soap.

Yeah, I gather it tastes like lemon for you guys, some sort of citrus? Not for us. I'm okay with it, actually, despite it being soapy, but I would never, ever mistake it for anything even vaguely like citrus. And, from the way some people are talking, it sounds like there might be an even more extreme reaction -- maybe those of us who think it's soapy, but edible, have one odd chromosome, and the people who would claw out their own sinuses after smelling it have mutations on both sides?
posted by Malor at 8:36 PM on September 12, 2012


I think cilantro tastes like soap. Gotta say, though: I really don't mind it when it's used sparingly. Mmm! Soap!
posted by Sys Rq at 8:47 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Also: I love broccoli. Broccolini, though, can go die in a fire for all I care.

Also: Are papayas supposed to taste like some kind of horrible putrefied meat?
posted by Sys Rq at 8:55 PM on September 12, 2012


Hypothesis: People may, in some way, enjoy their food aversions. It has something to do with identity formation, or differentiating oneself from others. Seems to be a uniquely human trait ... (do other animals make such a fuss over their food choices? do they have such individualized tastes?)
posted by crazy_yeti at 8:58 PM on September 12, 2012


SysRq: Papayas have an unusual taste that takes a little getting used to, but "horrible putrefied meat" makes me think you're eating rotten fruit...
posted by crazy_yeti at 9:00 PM on September 12, 2012


To those of you that feel it tastes of soap but are ok with it... I"m cool with that and part of me envys you. I've tried to develop a taste for it. I love food, I love being adventurous with food. I'm totally the guy that will happily and with abandon eat a plate of some unidentified food put in front of him. I don't always enjoy it but it's worth exploring...

So I hate that there is something like cilantro out there that will make me gag at perfectly ordinary (to most) dishes... and hell large parts of multiple cultures foods.

So yeah there are unpleasant things that you can learn to enjoy, hell I'd say that 90% of stuff that people think of as snooty foods (wine, cheeses) or 'adventure' foods falls into that category. But yeah Cilantro is special... because it tastes so dramatically different to me then it does to most others it's not treated the same way as say a truffle or a super smoky tea. The unpleasant taste isn't generally there as an accent to something good. It's often the main flavour... and that makes me gag :(

That said the tiniest bit really does ruin food for me. It's just so overpowering and unpleasant.
posted by cirhosis at 9:22 PM on September 12, 2012


I haven't eaten any meat since I was 14 months old, but when I was in Central America, I had some opportunities to eat fresh papayas, and they sure did taste rotten to me. I was with other people and they said the papayas weren't off or anything.

Dried papaya is "fine" to me. Interestingly I have a friend who can't eat "anything scientifically classified as a fleshy fruit" - they all taste like rotting vegetable matter to him. Apples, oranges, avocados, eggplants, whatever. At one point his girlfriend made up and gave him some business cards for him that explained all this. He was thrilled because that conversation always goes the same way ("Well then how about olives?") So I imagine my experience with papayas was what he experiences with all those.

crazy_yeti: I have a ton of food aversions. I understand how one could be proud of them but more often I'm ashamed. Like I'm incompetent at eating, and have to order off kid's menus all the time. It is particularly difficult when on a date
posted by aubilenon at 9:22 PM on September 12, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh also, I dislike cilantro, and do think it tastes soapy. But evidently when I was a baby and my parents were bathing me, I liked to eat the actual soap. So I guess my tastes changed? Or something?
posted by aubilenon at 9:24 PM on September 12, 2012


Well, at least we all can all agree that truffle oil is an abomination, an active assault on both the nostrils and the tongue, and all together an eye watering monstrous affair?
posted by TwelveTwo at 10:08 PM on September 12, 2012


Just so you know I'm reading this thread and making a ...registry of the Cilantro haters for ....no reason....
posted by The Whelk at 10:09 PM on September 12, 2012


one atom of cilantro in the same room as me make everything taste really voothy, I guess you wouldn't know what that's like because its a special sensation that only I perceive. It's really rare, only I have it, though if Barack Obama had married Kirstie Alley their kids would have had a a 12% chance of inheriting it. Mostly it's not problem but I have to have injections into my tonsils and you can only get the medicine from Poland to that's kind of a pain, and sometimes I really miss burritos.
posted by compound eye at 10:12 PM on September 12, 2012


cirhosis: That said the tiniest bit really does ruin food for me. It's just so overpowering and unpleasant.

Yeah, I really wonder if there are degrees of this taste change. Cilantro lovers apparently mostly taste something citrusy, with slight notes of soap and dirt. I notice only a strong soap flavor, no citrus, but used sparingly, I actually rather like it. But it sounds like you're reacting much more strongly, because it takes quite a bit of cilantro to ruin a dish for me, where it sounds like even a little bit will make it inedible for you. So I'm wondering if I've got one mutated chromosome, and you've got two.
posted by Malor at 10:40 PM on September 12, 2012


Cilantro does have a soapy taste to me, but I've learned to tolerate it. On the other hand, I love the taste of coriander seeds.
posted by mike3k at 11:33 PM on September 12, 2012


Cilantro tastes like nothing.

I must be doing it wrong.
posted by Malice at 2:08 AM on September 13, 2012


I love cilantro. I also love French tarragon (and most other things anise-flavored).

I am SO GLAD to know I'm not the only one who hates papaya! Look, I'm an adventurous fruit-eater, and I even love me some nice durian, but papaya is just disgusting. And yes, I've had it fresh as well. Oh, this is such a relief.

Now, can we all agree goat cheese is sent by Satan to ruin otherwise delicious canapes and finger foods?
posted by olinerd at 3:22 AM on September 13, 2012


My mom's Peruvian-style chimichurri (yes, it's originally Argentinian. and this recipe probably comes from my Chilean great-gramma):

- half a medium onion
- 2-3 cloves of garlic
- 2 tablespoons of ají amarillo molido (or a couple of your favorite, fruity hot peppers)
- 2 tablespoons of whole cumin (or ground, really; to taste)
- juice of one lime
- salt and pepper to taste
- olive oil (see instructions)
- cider vinegar (see instructions)
- metric fuck-ton of cilantro (2-4 bunches, depending on how cilantro-y you like it)

1. put the onion, spices, hot pepper, garlic, lime juice, and a splash of the oil and vinegar into a blender and blend into a paste.

2. remove as much of the stems as you like from the cilantro and start stuffing it into the blender, one bunch at a time. Add oil and vinegar as necessary to keep the consistency of a thick sauce/ketchup

3. once all of the cilantro has been added, blend on high to achieve a smooth paste. Adjust levels of ingredients to taste. It should be spicy and slightly tangy.

4. Preferably, allow to sit overnight, as the raw onion changes the flavor of the sauce. re-check flavor and adjust to taste.

Served traditionally with BBQ'd meat (beef in particular), it also goes on EVERYTHING. Boiled potatoes, grilled anything, etc. Treat it like a cilantro-pesto and dress noodles with it. Use it as a flavor-base for stews. Add it in generous amounts to rice to get cilantro-rice. Mix it with sour cream or cream-cheese for a spicy dip. Use it instead of mustard in sandwiches. Mix it into pico de gallo.
posted by LMGM at 4:22 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


I like it.
posted by cilantro at 4:55 AM on September 13, 2012 [3 favorites]


People who think that cilantro tastes like nothing: Is that fresh or dried?

Penzeys Spices sells a dried cilantro that has nothing in common with fresh cilantro except for being green. It's completely pointless. I have sniffed and tasted samples from the display in one of their shops and it has no cilantro scent or flavor at all, good or bad.

Everyone seems to be taking this genetics finding as determinism, as though your genes equal your fate, but the genes being discussed seem to have only a tiny effect. "Eriksson and his team calculate that less than 10% of coriander preference is due to common genetic variants. 'It is possible that the heritability of cilantro preference is just rather low,' they say."

For me, as for many, cilantro is an acquired taste, but I still can't stand cilantro that's gone to seed, something which happens quickly in my climate. The smell of the plant's leaves becomes much more unpleasant once the flowers have started to form on the plant.
posted by Ery at 5:25 AM on September 13, 2012


Yeah, dried cilantro is a travesty and not worth your time. I've been herb gardening for years and I don't know a single gardener that bothers drying cilantro. It really has to be eaten very fresh.

I still can't stand cilantro that's gone to seed

Yes, like basil, it turns gross when that happens. Volatile oils fade from the leaves and the leaves get tougher, stringy, and bitter.
posted by Miko at 5:56 AM on September 13, 2012


I'm okay with coriander but I also think that cilantro tastes like dirt.

Oddly, I like it in prepared salad dressings (Trader Joe's has a good one) but I can't abide a huge pile of it on my food.

I also think spinach tastes like rusty nails. And Swiss chard and beets taste like dirt as well. Which means that I eat a lot of kale and collards to get my dark green leafies.
posted by elsietheeel at 6:06 AM on September 13, 2012


"People who think that cilantro tastes like nothing: Is that fresh or dried?"

Fresh from my garden. When I thought it tasted like slightly lemony nothing, I grew it in my herb garden because some recipes call for it and my husband really, really likes it. Back before I was aware that strong cilantro opinions were a thing, I thought people liked it because it added a different texture (pleasantly crunchy but so tiny! Slightly lemony with a fresh green taste because it was so fresh), since it just didn't have a ton of flavor to me.

Now (post-pregnancy) it tastes like soap. It's more gag-inducingly soapy fresh, but tastes like soap either way.

I dunno, we still grow it, since my husband uses it in salsas too spicy for me anyway, or adds it just to his portion if I make tacos or something. I wonder if, like most of my other pregnancy food-preference changes, it'll eventually fade, or if, now that I know the "soap" is there, I can't un-taste it and will always be picking that note out.

I actually don't mind it in small quantities where it's cooked and in with many, many flavors (I have a friend who makes a "taco soup" that has a little cilantro to add complexity to the broth. I can't pick it out there. Or in Q'doba's cilantro-lime salad dressing.); but even tiny quantities fresh are BLECH.
posted by Eyebrows McGee at 6:18 AM on September 13, 2012


Fresh from my garden. When I thought it tasted like slightly lemony nothing, I grew it in my herb garden because some recipes call for it and my husband really, really likes it.

Does he like the taste of this one? Because you could also try other varieties. There are many and they have quite a range of flavor intensity.
posted by Miko at 6:31 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


At first I hated cilantro, but after trying it enough times I now actually like it even though it tastes kinda soapy. Perhaps I have built up a tolerance over the years or something. Then again, I have always loved Thrills gum, and that stuff is advertised as tasting like soap.
posted by fimbulvetr at 6:37 AM on September 13, 2012


I just wanted to add to the shrimp derail. Every third-rate seafood restaurant has a "seafood platter" with shrimp, fish, and scallops. Can I please get extra scallops and no shrimp? No? Why the fuck not? Everyone else loves shrimp. You can give the extra shrimp to those freak shrimp lovers and they won't even miss the scallops.
I think shrimp are gross. Also, calamari, octopus, and disgusting goddamn escargot. Also, I do not care for okra.
posted by Cookiebastard at 8:21 AM on September 13, 2012


Interesting. I've always liked cilantro but I have a friend who can't stand it. When he said it tastes like soap I thought "wha??? that's crazy talk"--but then I meditatively chewed some and I could actually see what he meant. There is a kind of soapy tinge to it. Somehow, though, that note never predominates, for me, when I'm eating cilantro in combination with other foods (and, of course, one never simply eats it by itself). On the other hand, I don't think I'd ever describe it as "lemony." "Tangy"--yes, but not particularly citrusy. For me it's entirely sui generis: it tastes cilantro-y, and it's just a really nice contrastive note in lots of dishes.

Still, I'd never dream of trying to force it on someone who doesn't like it. De gustibus non est disputandum (as almost no one on the internet ever says).
posted by yoink at 9:16 AM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hypothesis: We live in a culture of such overabundance that people can afford to develop highly particularized food tastes. ("I simply cannot stand food X"!). If we were hunter-gatherers, or subsistence farmers, we'd probably eat anything that didn't kill us or make us sick.
posted by crazy_yeti at 9:45 AM on September 13, 2012


cilantro: "I like it."

You would, astroturfer.
posted by Samizdata at 10:06 AM on September 13, 2012


Cookiebastard: "I just wanted to add to the shrimp derail. Every third-rate seafood restaurant has a "seafood platter" with shrimp, fish, and scallops. Can I please get extra scallops and no shrimp? No? Why the fuck not? Everyone else loves shrimp. You can give the extra shrimp to those freak shrimp lovers and they won't even miss the scallops.
I think shrimp are gross. Also, calamari, octopus, and disgusting goddamn escargot. Also, I do not care for okra.
"


In for the shrimp, although shaking my head at the calamari/octopus hate.

Of course, shrimp makes me deathly ill, soooooo...
posted by Samizdata at 10:08 AM on September 13, 2012


If we were hunter-gatherers, or subsistence farmers, we'd probably eat anything that didn't kill us or make us sick.

I wonder about that. I remember my anthropology professor in my undergrad days who had worked with several tribes in Papua New Guinea saying that the concept of pregnancy-induced food cravings/distastes was utterly unknown among them and seemed kind of bizarre to them when she raised it. I guess that's one smallish anecdata point in favor of your hypothesis.
posted by yoink at 10:26 AM on September 13, 2012


I've always thought Cilantro tasted the way Band-Aids used to smell. Soap, not so much.
posted by kinnakeet at 10:49 AM on September 13, 2012


I love Vietnamese food, Thai food, and Mexican food. I cannot abide cilantro. I have tried and tried, because not liking it while consuming those foods is extremely difficult. I will try again. But It is nothing like not liking coffee. I know, because I used to not like coffee and do now. There are other foods I do not care for, but can tolerate. Cilantro is in fact different. The first time I ate something with cilantro in it, I told everyone else to avoid that dish, as it had something that had gone bad in it. It is different than things I simply don't care for.

I felt the same way. The same. And then prepared a big pot of Tom Kha Gai. Now I don’t love fish oil on its own, either, but its absence was conspicuous, so in it went. Cilantro, same story. I wasn’t able to get a tiny little bit of cilantro from the grocers, either. More like a small bushel. So I chewed on it for awhile to try to acclimatize myself to that awful flavour. Whether that herbal-implosion therapy did the trick, or the soup itself was so good, I now consider it essential. In tom kha gai. Elsewhere, not so much, but I do know that I trained myself to go from utter “can’t like this” hatred to some semblance of appreciation.

Still tastes metallic to me, but doesn't change the fact that I like the edge it gives to this soup. Now, lemony, I'd never heard that. Wouldn't it be interesting if people have come to like two sensorily different experiences from the same recipe. Except then I think: it's already got lemongrass.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:14 AM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


In the Olde Testament Cook Book, King Solomon suggested that cilantro should be served on the side. That way, those who don't like cilantro could still enjoy the dish, and those who like cilantro could add all they like. Problem solved.
posted by Daddy-O at 2:02 PM on September 13, 2012


I didn't taste cilantro till I was an adult -- but then fell completely in love with it. When I discovered it in Indian cooking, I was in heaven. I still ask for dhania chutney at Indian restaurants and get raised eyebrows (makes me wonder if there is some connotation to that word in Hindi).

But -- no problem with cilantro-hating mutants; more for me.
posted by Surfurrus at 3:06 PM on September 13, 2012



... and re: papayas ...

Also: Are papayas supposed to taste like some kind of horrible putrefied meat?

They contain high amounts of the enzyme papain which is a digestive enzyme and is used in meat tenderizers. We also use papaya to stop the pain of man-o'war stings (jellyfish) in Hawai'i. Can't say I ever tasted a bad one.
posted by Surfurrus at 3:06 PM on September 13, 2012 [2 favorites]


Surfurrus, THANK YOU for that detail about papayas. They've always smelled faintly of stomach-contents to me—which I have to admit is a bit of a deal-breaker—but the rest of my Latino family think I'm crazy for not eating it by the kilogram. I always got the oddest looks when I said it smelled like barf.
posted by LMGM at 3:45 PM on September 13, 2012


As for papayas: growing up I never encountered mangoes or papayas. I just sort of lumped them together as "one of those yellow tropical fruits that taste the same".

Oh, how I was wrong. So very wrong.

Mango is the queen of fruits. Creamy and sweet, I could eat mangoes all day. They may even be more delicious than pineapple, and that's one goddamn high bar. Papaya on the other hand...does it actually contain any sugar at all? A drier texture from mango, and no discernible flavor I could tell. Or I forget, it's been a while. But I've learned my lesson: mango and papaya? Night and day.
posted by zardoz at 8:53 PM on September 13, 2012 [1 favorite]


Maybe you've been eating the wrong papayas? I almost never see the kind (whose name I forget, but I recognize) I grew up eating in Hawaii - and I live in California; they were utterly delicious - sweet, not dry at all. My grandmother and aunt had a mango tree in their yard; there was a guy who lived behind our apartment building who had a lychee tree - he kept his German shepard chained to it so we kids wouldn't steal the fruit. My other aunt had a guava tree and a couple banana plants.

Now I'm all nostalgic. And hungry.
posted by rtha at 10:33 PM on September 13, 2012


Yes, rtha, there are a variety of papayas -- my favorite is the 'sunset' ones that are reddish inside and very sweet. We always fed our babies mashed papaya (along with poi, very nourishing and easily digested). I also recommend eating papayas with cottage cheese (yum!).

.... but don't think they would be good with cilantro (unless in a green papaya salad).
posted by Surfurrus at 11:31 PM on September 13, 2012


I think papayas are a bit tricky because if they're not ripe enough, they taste like wood, but if they're too ripe, they begin to have that rotting meat effect. You need to eat one just at the right stage of ripeness, when the sugars have all developed but not begun to ferment.
posted by destrius at 3:03 AM on September 14, 2012


The papayas I always encountered in (Canadian) supermarkets tasted like skin lotion to me, so I eventually gave up on them altogether. It wasn't until trying on in a tropical surrounding where it was grown that I discovered it could be this amazing, delicious fruit.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 12:44 PM on September 14, 2012


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