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I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor
April 14, 2010 6:52 AM   Subscribe

Cilantro haters, it's not your fault
posted by AceRock (188 comments total) 13 users marked this as a favorite

 
Weird. I adore cilantro. It makes me happy and I like to sniff it and chew on it and I love it in my food. I haven't been very successful growing my own, but I'm trying again this year. It's oddly temperamental, when it should be really easy to grow.
posted by PuppyCat at 6:59 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


We must go among the Cilantro-haters, earn their trust, marry their women, in time our differences will be forgotten,
posted by The Whelk at 7:00 AM on April 14, 2010 [29 favorites]


I disagree.
posted by saladin at 7:04 AM on April 14, 2010


... I always kinda liked that soapy taste.
posted by adipocere at 7:04 AM on April 14, 2010


What I find interesting is the suggestion that disgust when ingesting a foul, soapy plant is a condition to be apologized for.
posted by felix betachat at 7:05 AM on April 14, 2010 [35 favorites]


How can Julia Child and I be wrong?

If the flavor doesn’t fit a familiar food experience, and instead fits into a pattern that involves chemical cleaning agents and dirt, or crawly insects, then the brain highlights the mismatch and the potential threat to our safety.

posted by Pax at 7:06 AM on April 14, 2010


I think it's interesting that there doesn't appear to be a middle ground. I don't get the "soapy" thing. I have cilantro in the fridge - gave it a sniff test to check out the power of suggestion - still not soapy.
posted by PuppyCat at 7:07 AM on April 14, 2010


I love cilantro in fresh salsa...until I don't. I'll go for 6 or 8 weeks eating it that way every other night or so and then suddenly GET THIS SOAPY CRAP OUT OF MY SALSA!!! for 2 weeks. Then I'll be like "why on earth don't I have cilantro in here it'd kick ass then". Hormones?
posted by DU at 7:08 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


cool!
posted by H. Roark at 7:08 AM on April 14, 2010


I'm a convert. The first time I encountered the herb, I was nauseated. I couldn't even stand to be near it in the grocery store. But it's a part of so many interesting cuisines that I decided I needed to learn to like it. I put small amounts into strongly-flavored foods, like salsa, then gradually increased the amount over time. Now I grow it in my garden, and love to pick a stem and just chew it raw, unaccompanied.
posted by MrMoonPie at 7:08 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Interesting article; I sometimes find the aroma of cilantro vaguely reminiscent of stink-bugs and have heard at least one other person make that observation. It is not enough to make me dislike it however and there are a number of things I use it in on a regular basis. So the part of the article talking about cilantro and bugs made sense to me.
posted by TedW at 7:09 AM on April 14, 2010


I used to be a borderline-hater, but I made myself cook with it enough that I sort of love it these days.

Sadly, this same strategy has failed to produce in me any great love of eggplant.
posted by thivaia at 7:10 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I detest cilantro (also known as coriander leaf or asafoetida, depending upon the nationality of the cuisine). However, I do still eat in Indian restaurants, oddly enough. I am very careful about what I order.
posted by grizzled at 7:11 AM on April 14, 2010


I hated the stuff. Then, as a broke vegetarian student, I learned to tolerate, and then love cilantro through $1 Vietnamese subs. Now I love it in everything from pasta, to salsa, to curry, to soup.

Sadly, this same strategy has failed to produce in me any great love of eggplant.

Eggplant can indeed be nasty. Cook the hell out of it, with plenty of olive oil. Dry and undercooked eggplant is revolting. It should be mushy to be edible.
posted by molecicco at 7:13 AM on April 14, 2010


Flavor chemists have found that cilantro aroma is created by a half-dozen or so substances, and most of these are modified fragments of fat molecules called aldehydes. The same or similar aldehydes are also found in soaps and lotions and the bug family of insects.

What is the "bug family of insects"?

I had a five-year (or so) window of not being able to tolerate cilantro. It began when I worked in a kitchen where one of my jobs was to clean, stem, and chop a case of cilantro every other day. A case of cilantro is a lot. The smell and the taste became unbearable.

But it wore off and now I'm a happy cilantro consumer again. But I was never someone who thought it was soapy (or buggy).
posted by rtha at 7:13 AM on April 14, 2010


adipocere: "... I always kinda liked that soapy taste."

I'm going to hate myself for this but ...

Eponysterical!
posted by bwg at 7:14 AM on April 14, 2010 [11 favorites]


What is the "bug family of insects"?

I assume he's referring to the 'true bugs' or Hemiptera.
posted by jedicus at 7:16 AM on April 14, 2010


Hate cilantro, am in no way interested in getting used to it.

Can't stand the taste, both it and the odor makes me physically ill.
posted by bwg at 7:16 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Asafoetida is not cilantro. It don't mean a thing if it ain't got that hing.
posted by BinGregory at 7:16 AM on April 14, 2010 [11 favorites]


"Smells like a bug" to me sounds like "smells like a rock". (Regular) bugs don't smell.
posted by DU at 7:17 AM on April 14, 2010


grizzled: "I detest cilantro (also known as coriander leaf or asafoetida, depending upon the nationality of the cuisine)"

I'm fairly certain that cilantro is never called Asafoetida.
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:18 AM on April 14, 2010


It's reassuring when science confirms my biases.
posted by workerant at 7:18 AM on April 14, 2010


People who don't like cilantro are bad, possibly even European, people.
posted by Mister_A at 7:18 AM on April 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


Sadly, this same strategy has failed to produce in me any great love of eggplant.

The solution.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 7:20 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


If the flavor doesn’t fit a familiar food experience, and instead fits into a pattern that involves chemical cleaning agents...

…then it's probably my favorite brand of hot mango relish.

grizzled: asafoetida is not the same thing as cilantro.
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:20 AM on April 14, 2010


I can take it in small amounts. Cilantro, I mean. In salsa, for example Mrs. Q. bought a bottle of some cilantro dressing - ALL CILANTRO ALL THE TIME - from Trader Joe's and I about gagged.
posted by jquinby at 7:20 AM on April 14, 2010


I'm a convert, too. It tastes like soapy metal to me - did and does - but I have come to appreciate the taste of soapy metal under certain circumstances*. I myself don't choose to cook with it or grow it, and would prefer it kept out of salsa, but it does do a certain something to a spring roll.

*Circumstances = whatever is necessary to deliver my favorite Vietnamese restaurant's peanut sauce into my face.
posted by Lyn Never at 7:22 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I think I'm the only person I know who has no strong opinion of cilantro. I don't care for it in most things, as I think the flavor is a bit overwhelming, but I'll eat it. I've even cooked with it a few times. I'm just sort of "whatever."

I know that's wrong, and I need to pick a side and start to feel very strongly about it, but I prefer to save my rage for people who think Ralph becomes a literal viking when he sleeps.
posted by bondcliff at 7:22 AM on April 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


So there's
A) people who don't taste any soapy flavor, just deliciousness (me)
B) people who taste some kind of soapy flavor and ergo hate it
C) people who taste some kind of soapy flavor but have learned/come to like it

That third category is messed up. I mean, kudos for you for learning to like it, but that sucks.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:23 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I find that I can eat and even enjoy fresh, cold cilantro. The moment it gets hot and wilts, yuk. I have a favorite local Thai place. When I order, the lady behind the counter knows, "No cilantro. No cilantro!"

I am embarrassed by this. So I usually tell my girlfriend to pick up food on her way home from work. Yes, I am a coward.
posted by Splunge at 7:26 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I endured years of ridicule before finding out that there were others out there who hated cilantro and its soapy flavor. It was a revelation to discover that I was not the only one! I've trained myself to eat small amounts here and there, but only if there are a LOT of other flavors involved. Oddly enough, the soapiness comes and goes.
posted by ebee at 7:27 AM on April 14, 2010


I feel bad for the cilantrophobes. To the non-phobic it is one of the most interesting of fresh herbs. Spicy tomatilla salsa with lots of cilantro is quite the treat.
posted by caddis at 7:30 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I'm ok with cilantro. When I smell the fresh stuff, I do detect a certain soapiness, but it's not enough to turn me off. I don't notice the soapiness in taste though. Frankly on its own I don't think it really tastes like much at all. I mostly only really encounter it as a garnish on Mexican food.

(I love parsley, though. As a kid I used to eat the little sprigs of parsley on plates at restaurants. )

(And on the asafoetida thing - yeah, that's not cilantro. Guy at a local spice store gave me a whiff of it once - yikes! Vile, vile smell. It's quite aptly named. If you've smelled it, you'd never mix it up with cilantro.)
posted by dnash at 7:30 AM on April 14, 2010


If your parents didn't feed you enough pico de gallo growing up for you to love cilantro, I think that's a form of child abuse.
posted by 23skidoo at 7:33 AM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


Hi, I'm komara, and I'm genetically predisposed towards thinking cilantro tastes like soap. This is not the first time I've been to a Down With Cilantro meeting but it is my first time with this group. Thank you for such the warm welcome.

I'm here to tell you today about a magic food that can change your mind, and that food is pho. A Vietnamese beef and noodle soup, a delightful culinary repast that satisfies both body and mind ... and often comes with a garnish of cilantro on top. Never fear, it's easy enough to pick off with your chopsticks and throw on the ground.

But ... sometimes you miss a piece. Just one leaf. It won't ruin the entire bowl of pho, no sir, but it will make one mouthful taste a bit strange. This 'one leaf' may happen every time you order pho, but that won't stop you from devouring the whole bowl. In time, though, my brothers, I'm telling you, in time ... you may stop noticing that one leaf. You may stop being so careful about pulling every last bit of cilantro off of the top of that piping hot bowl of mouthwateringly good soup, and you know where that leads?

Let me spare you the details of this journey, let me take you straight to the conclusion, because I think you already know what I'm going to say. One day ... one day you will find yourself leaving every last bit of cilantro on top of that delicious delicious pho. You will find yourself thinking it's not worth your time to take it off of there, and that you don't really mind it anyway.

That is both a sad and glorious day indeed.
posted by komara at 7:35 AM on April 14, 2010 [11 favorites]


It was a revelation to discover that I was not the only one! I've trained myself to eat small amounts here and there, but only if there are a LOT of other flavors involved.

I guess I am the only one left. I refuse to train myself to eat this nasty weed.

I would not eat it in a house.
I would not eat it with a mouse.
I would not eat it with a fox.
I would not eat it in a box.
I would not eat it here or there.
I would not eat it anywhere.
I would not eat cilantro, god damn.
I do not like it, cilantro-hater-i-am.
posted by three blind mice at 7:36 AM on April 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


I have an aversion to cilantro, but it IS vital to good salsas and lots of Thai recipes. Certain foods just don't taste right without it.

What I object to is the recent, to me, trend of T.V. chefs tossing in whole bunches of cilantro to dishes that don't require the overload.

Would you put 2 cups of tarragon into a recipe that calls for say a tablespoon? Why do the clowns on T.V. think that cilantro is any different?

If your tomato based salsa tastes like cilantro and maybe some heat from peppers you're doing it wrong.
posted by Max Power at 7:37 AM on April 14, 2010


It might not be their fault, but it is their loss.
posted by tula at 7:38 AM on April 14, 2010


I hate cilantro. Ruins many great soups. I've tried to get in the habit of asking waiters if there is cilantro "in it".

The worst part about my deep disgust for cilantro is the fact that I LOVE parsley and they look so alike.
posted by JBennett at 7:38 AM on April 14, 2010


Cilantro love and hate previously. Be careful, the next guy to post about it will find that suddenly no-one has strong feelings about it anymore.
posted by BinGregory at 7:39 AM on April 14, 2010


I like cilantro. I don't go out of my way to put it in stuff, except for some dishes where it's essential.

Sadly, this same strategy has failed to produce in me any great love of eggplant.

I've hated eggplant ever since I was a kid, but last year I had some great eggplant lasagna (fried thin eggplant slices in place of the pasta), and I'm coming around. After almost 28 years. I still haven't tried plain stir fried mushy eggplant like my parents loved, but I'll probably be willing to try it again.

As for possibly genetic-based taste differences, I absolutely hate root beer. It tastes like medicine. And nasty medicine at that. Even in root beer float form, I found the nastiness of the root beer to overwhelm any positive influence the ice cream might have had.

The worst of all though has to be licorice/anise/whatever that black jelly bean flavor is. I've literally had to wash my mouth out before when I've mistook a black jelly bean for a purple one. Blech. Weirdly though, I'm fine with and usually like fennel seeds as a spice.
posted by kmz at 7:40 AM on April 14, 2010


dnash - it's called "Devil's Dung" for a reason :) But fry some up with onions and some whole seeds (cumin, coriander, fenugreek and black mustard seed) and you've got the beginnings of something amazing!
posted by Cat Pie Hurts at 7:40 AM on April 14, 2010


As a rule I stay away from soap (it tastes like cilantro!).
posted by mazola at 7:42 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


C) people who taste some kind of soapy flavor but have learned/come to like it


I love cilantro, but I've always had a similar reaction to cumin. To me, cumin smells like feet. Sweaty, pungent, feet. But when it's on food, I really enjoy the taste.
posted by Uncle Ira at 7:51 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


i adore it. Especially in salsa, where it cannot have enough.

I am fairly adventurous with food, in general, though. I tend to order things just because they look disgusting or weird-- this goes for everything from macrobiotic vegetarian stuff to a kfc double down (which is fucking delicious and much less gross than a Double Whopper, btw).

I am wondering how many people who dislike cilantro also prefer bland/comfort food in general.
posted by empath at 7:51 AM on April 14, 2010


Glad someone mentioned pho. Pico is great, yes, but missing out on pho's true flavor because of cilantro-aversion is so tragic I might shed a tear.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 7:52 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, Ira, cumin smells like BO but tastes like heaven.
posted by Mister_A at 7:52 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cilantro is awesome. To me, it tastes like soap, if soap were delicious.
posted by magnificent frigatebird at 7:53 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


I'm a cilantro hater. The stuff tastes nasty and it's all over my Mexican food these days, ugh.

I've heard the same sort of thing theorized about why some people think catfish tastes muddy and others think it tastes delicious.
posted by immlass at 7:53 AM on April 14, 2010


One evening, many years ago, I browsed a recipe on Epicurious for a bean-and-rice plate that called for cilantro. Diligent neophyte cook that I was, I perused the comments by other cooks, and came across an mysterious anti-cilantro site: nocilantro.com.

Until then, I'd had not a clue that cilantro might be hated upon, and even seen as the downfall of Mexican cooking.

I began to relate to my friends and relatives the tale of, and perverse delight in, finding this strange site. A handful of my kith and kin told me, to my surprise: they absolutely, positively cannot and will not eat cilantro. Each cited headaches and various ailments after masticating that gosh-darn herb.

I'd never have known otherwise until it were too late.

Thanks, Internet!
posted by Jubal Kessler at 7:54 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm. I love cilantro, but I also love violet-flavored candies and liqueurs. I'd never thought that I might just like the taste of soap.
posted by fiercecupcake at 7:55 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Fixed link: nocilantro.com
posted by Jubal Kessler at 7:55 AM on April 14, 2010


I've always liked the flavor cilantro adds while its being cooked, but I never liked the leaf itself.
posted by jlind0 at 7:58 AM on April 14, 2010


Cilantro is awesome and I've never thought it tasted like soap (really? soap?), dirt, insects, crawly worms, fungus, or any other of the reprehensible tastes implied by the article.

But then, I grew up with Mexican grandparents and their home cooking, so there you go.

The stuff tastes nasty and it's all over my Mexican food these days, ugh.

It's supposed to be all over Mexican food.
posted by blucevalo at 8:02 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I was a kid, my parents would use a chinese phrase to describe when I wouldn't eat some food or didn't like it -- literally translated to "doesn't know how to eat [x]" and would always refer to one's preference in food as learned: "You should learn to eat [x]. It's good for you."

I hated cilantro. Grossed me out. Soapy, burning, all those things that cilantrophobes describe. Every once in a while I'd try a dish with a bit of cilantro in it, thinking I'd magically like it, but it just wouldn't work for me. This went on up until my late 20's.

And then I tried Phở.

Right then and there cilantro had a place in my mind about how it's taste fit in with the rest of my flavour world. It all made sense. Cilantro made sense. Now I grow the stuff in pots on my porch so I can get fresh sprigs of it to throw into lots of things that I previously would not like cilantro in.

So there. I learned to like cilantro.
posted by Extopalopaketle at 8:02 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


I like this finding because it means that, instead of there being a simple difference of opinion about liking or disliking cilantro, it means that there is actually something WRONG with people who don't like it.

Yes, you are WRONG for not liking cilantro. Science proves it. Deal with it.
posted by Aquaman at 8:02 AM on April 14, 2010 [14 favorites]


I thought I remembered reading several months ago, an article which said that there is something wrong with people who DO like cilantro, in that we are missing some receptors or something.

And then several months before that, reading something that suggested there is something wrong with people DON'T like it, something akin to an allergy in some ways.

If it's genetic, it's kind of counterintuitive -- both my parents hate cilantro, but I love it.

However it works, it just means I don't have to share it with as many people.
posted by Foosnark at 8:11 AM on April 14, 2010


I'm agnostic about cilantro...don't love it or hate it, it's kind of soapy sometimes but not others. I can't stand asparagus or Brussels sprouts though, which makes me feel like some sort of foodie pariah.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:11 AM on April 14, 2010


I have a curry recipe that asked for cilantro. It was hard for me to chop and harder for me to clean out the blender after making the mess that it did. Finally, I just thought to myself, "what if I just don't put cilantro in the recipe?" I haven't missed it since.

Then there was the ice cream store I lived upstairs from that actually started selling a cilantro-flavored ice cream. I never tried it and had no idea why anyone would want to.

I like this finding because it means that, instead of there being a simple difference of opinion about liking or disliking cilantro, it means that there is actually something WRONG with people who don't like it.

No, this study shows that cilantro is some kind of insidious infection which actually damages your brain in order to get its victims to like it.
posted by deanc at 8:13 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I tried incorporating cilantro into my salsa, but my partners would pick it out and throw it on the floor. Eventually they wouldn't dance with me at all.
posted by weapons-grade pandemonium at 8:15 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


I'm with them, can't stand cilantro. wonder if it's a genetic predisposition. Kind of like how some people create nasty asparagus pee and others don't, or why some people can smell cyanide but others can't...
posted by Carol@ILPoisonCenter at 8:15 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can't stand asparagus or Brussels sprouts though, which makes me feel like some sort of foodie pariah.

Sprouts, when fried in butter and copious amounts of garlic, are quite delicious.

Then again, that is true of most things.
posted by The Whelk at 8:16 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


And then I tried Phở.

Phở is world-changing.

And for the record, I love cilantro, but I LOVE the lemony basil leaves in my phở.
posted by specialagentwebb at 8:17 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I had some pho the other day, and asked the waiter "how much would you consider to be too much cilantro?." He made a shape with his hands that was maybe about the size of a tennis ball. I then said "yes. that much is how much I want. thanks."

BECAUSE HOW CAN YOU NOT LIKE CILANTRO IT IS LIKE IF GOD(S) MADE A FOOD THE FOOD HE WOULD MAKE WOULD BE AMBROSIA ACCORDING TO THE GREEKS.
BUT THEN AFTER THAT T(HE)Y WOULD TOTALLY MAKE CILANTRO.
SECOND EVER, PEOPLE.
posted by The Esteemed Doctor Bunsen Honeydew at 8:18 AM on April 14, 2010 [11 favorites]


i learned to like cilantro, thru the salsa route. it didn't take long.
papaya is another story. i've had one or two good ones...this over many years...but the rest taste like turpentine to me. i wonder if i just pick bad papaya, or is it a genetic thingy too.
posted by billybobtoo at 8:19 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


FUCK YEAH CILANTRO isn't accepting excuses.
IF YOU DON'T LOVE CILANTRO WITH ALL YOUR HEART I WILL FIGHT YOU
NO JOKE

posted by finite at 8:19 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


I like this finding because it means that, instead of there being a simple difference of opinion about liking or disliking cilantro, it means that there is actually something WRONG with people who don't like it.

Yes, you are WRONG for not liking cilantro. Science proves it. Deal with it.


You took the right facts from the article, but drew the wrong conclusion! There are people who are genetically unable to properly taste! These people simply cannot detect the rancid, nasty taste of cilantro.

Science proves that people with defective genes enjoy cilantro.
posted by explosion at 8:23 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


I’ve never liked cilantro. However, unlike most people who could simply avoid it, I had no choice. You see, I am Indian. And Indian food does not EXIST without cilantro. It is in everything. My mother threw handfuls of it in just about every dish she cooked – dals, curries, meat dishes, biryani, pakoras...you name it, cilantro was there in abundance. This spilled over into non-Indian food as well. Omelettes with cilantro. Salads with cilantro. I couldn’t get away from it! Over the years I developed a reputation in my extended family as the freak...the only Indian they knew who didn’t like cilantro. They still laugh when they see me eat at family gatherings – my plate always has a sad little pile of picked-out cilantro on one side.

Now here is the funny thing. When I first moved out and started cooking on my own, I’d leave out the cilantro. And would complain to my mom that my food just never tasted as good as hers. Guess what I realized...yes, the cilantro was essential to the flavour of most dishes. So now, I cook with it. But I still pick it out on my plate.

What’s amazing to me is that my daugher also picks out her cilantro – to eat it first! And then she asks for mine. Weird, man. Just weird.
posted by yawper at 8:24 AM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


I love cilantro, and HATE parsley (while I don't throw it on the floor, I do make faces at it and move it as far off my plate as I can). It certainly makes for some interesting times at the grocery store when I have to figure out which bunch of green herbs is parsley vs. cilantro. Why must they stick those right next to each other all the time??

The thing that kills me about parsley is how often restaurants will just chop up a bunch of it and scatter it over my plate, leaving me to pick around it or try to scrape it off. Why do they do that? Does scattering parsley over the top do anything other than piss me off?
posted by bibbit at 8:25 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


So now, I cook with it. But I still pick it out on my plate.

You should make little bouquet garni bags for it...you would get the flavor and not the greens.
posted by JoanArkham at 8:30 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I can damn near eat cilantro like a green salad, I like it that much.
posted by nola at 8:33 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Was that the best photo of cilantro that the NYT could come up with? It's all pale and the edges are browning. I've got better looking cilantro in my fridge right now. I could go stick it in between two bars of soap and send them a replacement pic.

(But then my cilantro really would taste like soap and I'd probably not want to eat it. The soap however, would be slightly more edible AND fragrant.)
posted by iamkimiam at 8:35 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I may be defective in liking cilantro, if that is the conclusion, but it allows me to enjoy true Mexican food, Indian food, Vietnamese food, and I'm sure countless others, so I'm hardly upset about it. Maybe they can invent a miracle-fruit like pill that will show cilantro-haters what they're missing out on. Or everyone can rely upon the healing power of pho.
posted by Solon and Thanks at 8:35 AM on April 14, 2010


Kind of like how some people create nasty asparagus pee and others don't

Everyone creates nasty asparagus pee. But some people can smell it, and others can't.
posted by ixohoxi at 8:36 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Hmm. I love cilantro, but I also love violet-flavored candies and liqueurs. I'd never thought that I might just like the taste of soap.

You are me. Do you also like jasmine tea? We should meet and form a group.
posted by Summer at 8:38 AM on April 14, 2010


papaya is another story.

And mangoes. Yuck-o-rama.
posted by blucevalo at 8:47 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Eggplant can indeed be nasty. Cook the hell out of it, with plenty of olive oil. Dry and undercooked eggplant is revolting. It should be mushy to be edible.

Yes, or if it's marinated in something tangy then grilled, it's pretty damn good.

I like cilantro, but I grew up in NM eating hot salsa.
posted by krinklyfig at 8:48 AM on April 14, 2010


And mangoes. Yuck-o-rama.

Wow. Really?
posted by krinklyfig at 8:49 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


When I go to the grocery, I pick a little leaf of cilantro off the bunch and crush it between my fingers so I can sniff it while I do my shopping.

(I've had this name for years, by the way, and I think it predates Metafilter's cilantro thing. I know it has nothing to do with me but I do kind of take it personally when people say OH GOD I HATE CILANTRO I WISH CILANTRO WOULD DIE. It hurts, guys).
posted by cilantro at 8:54 AM on April 14, 2010 [14 favorites]


We're obviously not going to settle this. Perhaps we should move on to why persimmons taste and smell like a bucket of warm monkey spunk?
posted by Lentrohamsanin at 8:54 AM on April 14, 2010 [6 favorites]


Recently I've gotten myself good and addicted to the food at a very authentic hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant that makes these tacos al pastor which are piled high with gorgeous, fresh, tasty cilantro. Sublime. Absolutely nothing better can be eaten for $2.

You all are missing out.
posted by contessa at 9:03 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


This was an interesting link and I'm astonished at how strongly people feel about cilantro -- but not about the love of pho, which sits victoriously on the chest of lesser soups, grinding its knuckle into their eyesocket, hissing "howdya feel about pho now? Howabouts now?"

But I'm so embarrassed of that ugly jumble of pop neuroscience. That guy basically said a bunch of stuff everybody thinks but can't prove about evolution, and threw in the word 'brain' every so often. Then he told an anecdotal personal story, for which I hope his colleagues tease him eternally. "Deans, I'd like to introduce Dr. Gottfried. He's famous for his study of how his brain thought cilantro was icky, but then eventually liked it."
posted by Valet at 9:07 AM on April 14, 2010 [4 favorites]


Okay, so maybe there's a convenient explanation for people who cannot stand cilantro's awesome delicious grandeur. But what about people like me who love cilantro more than life itself? The first time I had it -- in some manner of homemade Asian soup -- I was like HOLY SHIT, THIS IS AMAZING, I HAVE TO GET MORE OF IT. Sadly, I didn't know what it was until years later, so it was really up to happenstance when I'd get to taste it and then I was like OH MY GOD GIVE ME MORE OF WHATEVER THIS IS. Now that I know what it is, I use it whenever I can.

And no, I've never felt the desire to eat soap or bedbugs.
posted by Afroblanco at 9:11 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Wow. Really?

Yeah, I know. But I like mango yogurt and ice cream. Go figure.
posted by blucevalo at 9:12 AM on April 14, 2010


I'm not anti-cilantro. I mean, I hate it. I think it's truly blucky -- the bluckiest of foods, in fact -- but I'm not opposed to its existence, nor to its consumption by people who do not experience its bluckiness.

However, I believe very strongly that if it's included in a dish, it ought to damn well be listed as an ingredient on restaurant menus. It's not something you can insert into a plate of food and then casually neglect to mention. There are some ingredients that once can reasonably assume are present in a dish, and they therefore do not need to be listed in the description of that dish. If I'm ordering spaghetti with a red sauce, you don't need to tell me that there's garlic in it. I know enough about spaghetti with red sauce to avoid it if I'm garlic-averse. But if I'm ordering minestrone and you decided to get all creative and 'fusion' that day and you chopped up a shitload of cilantro and you put it in that otherwise passable minestrone, you better goddamn well mention that today's minestrone features cilantro. Because really, who would ever fucking think that that green herb in their hearty Italian soup is fucking cilantro?? And how can you ever prepare yourself for that supersensory, full-body cilantro shock when you're staring into your minestrone and you think you're seeing basil -- or, at the very least, parsley???

So, use it if you want. Overuse it, like every other fucking restaurant does, if you want. But at least give me a fucking heads up.

Cilantro disclosure, people. It's the true path to peace.
posted by mudpuppie at 9:17 AM on April 14, 2010 [9 favorites]


And mangoes. Yuck-o-rama.

Wow. Really?


Yeah, i dunno what it is about mangos-- they have like a 'grass-y' flavor, for lack of a better term. I like them with sticky rice, tho.
posted by empath at 9:20 AM on April 14, 2010


Soap? The hell? That's the first time I've heard it described as "soapy". Meat + Iron. Which may or may not be "buggy", I'm not sure. But I've sure as hell never gotten a "soapy" impression from cilantro.

It's always among the first words I learn in another language, so I can tell people cooking/brining me food "NO _____!"

Some dishes, though, disguise it well, but I hardly think that counts as liking it nor adapting to it.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:28 AM on April 14, 2010


And what's this "outspoken minority" stuff? How small a minority is it? Seems like every other person shares the hate.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:31 AM on April 14, 2010


Two words: Acquired, Taste.
posted by polymodus at 9:36 AM on April 14, 2010


The most important thing
I've learned about hing
is that if you keep it in a jar
inside another jar
it doesn't stink up the damn kitchen.
posted by zamboni at 9:43 AM on April 14, 2010


The solution to keep everyone happy is simple. Prepare the dish without cilantro, but have available for those who like it. Denigrating those who are on the opposite side of the cilantro love/hate is not the solution.
posted by Daddy-O at 9:46 AM on April 14, 2010


The article is titled "Cilantro Haters, It’s Not Your Fault" and then goes on to largely discuss that the passionate disdain for cilantro is really just a food-preference. A common one. But not anything particularly mysterious.
posted by desuetude at 9:50 AM on April 14, 2010


"Cilantro Haters, It’s Not Your Fault"

Actually, it is all your fault and now mommy and daddy are getting a divorce.
posted by wcfields at 9:58 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Also, this may be the first disagreement with Julia Child I have had.
posted by wcfields at 9:59 AM on April 14, 2010


So what this article is saying, basically, is that cilantro-lovers are more highly evolved and civilized than cilantro-haters, who have not cultivated an expanded repertoire of taste experiences, and fall back on hard-wired defense mechanisms that prevent them from fully enjoying life.
posted by gyusan at 10:00 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Also they hate puppies and rainbows and 1940s musicals.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:07 AM on April 14, 2010


Summer, I don't like jasmine tea, but I love rose-petal-and-chocolate tea.
posted by fiercecupcake at 10:07 AM on April 14, 2010


The solution to keep everyone happy is simple. Put cilantro in everything until the haters refine their palates enough to appreciate it. Evolution marches forward!
posted by gyusan at 10:10 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cilantro is delicious. I can kind of taste the soapyness, especially on wilted cilantro, but I've moved from only vaguely appreciating it to using it in a huge portion of what I cook—mostly because I cook a lot of Mexican food. The easiest is black bean tacos, with some avacado, cilantro and lime. Easiest thing in the world, delicious, and really well-balanced flavorwise. I also found that MOAR CILANTRO was the missing ingredient in my ranchero sauce after going over to a friend's house and having his mom's recipe. I'd been tossing in, like, an eighth of a cup for a pot of the sauce, and he chopped up a whole bunch, and it was like, yeah man, this is delicious. (The other missing ingredient was cotija cheese, which is fantastic and salty. If I get around to it, I might try using it instead of feta in some greek dishes.)
posted by klangklangston at 10:10 AM on April 14, 2010


I used to be okay with cilantro, until people overdid it and put loads of it in food. It just overpowers everything, and so now I hate it.

But I like circus peanuts.
posted by chocolatetiara at 10:19 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like soap.
I like metal.

I still hate cilantro.
posted by spinifex23 at 10:23 AM on April 14, 2010


papaya is another story. i've had one or two good ones...this over many years...but the rest taste like turpentine to me. i wonder if i just pick bad papaya, or is it a genetic thingy too.

N.A. papayas: taste like skin lotion.
fresh papayas in SEA: sweet and wonderful.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:24 AM on April 14, 2010


Me: "Two steak tacos, NO. CILANTRO. PLEASE."

Server: "Cilantro? Ok!"

Me: "No, no cilantro, PLEASE!"

Server: "Oh, NO cilantro. Ok!"

I happily return to my conversation and frozen margarita thingie. A while later, food comes. The server places the plate in front of me with two lovely tacos, a side of beans 'n' rice, and A PILE OF CILANTRO.

I tear up, knowing I have to make a decision: A.) keep the plate or B.) send it back.

A.) If I choose to keep the plate, I will have a deeper problem. I know that under that massive pile of green bedbug-tasting shrubs is even tinier pieces, just lurking about my taco and mingling around with the steak.

I can't have this, as the lurkers will cause the entire taco to taste like a punch in the sinuses. So I go into a nearly OCD fugue of picking out every single little leaf and stem. Which RUINS the structural integrity of the taco. GRAR.

B.) If I send it back, it will take probably a good extra 30 minutes to get my tacos back. By then, everyone will be done eating. And there's a good chance that the server will just scrape the cilantro-mountain off and hand it back, not knowing that I will still find the little remnant lurkers. Also GRAR.

(Oh, and I grew up in Mexico and South America. I did not learn to like the stuff. Obviously.)
posted by functionequalsform at 10:24 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I never had a problem with papayas until some friends in Mexico had me eat the seeds to deal with some GI distress.
Now the smell and taste of the ripe fruit alone makes me wretch.
I don't have any problems with green papaya.

But ripa papaya? Evil.
posted by Seamus at 10:27 AM on April 14, 2010


Rippa papaya - The ICP fruit that kills for fun.
posted by Seamus at 10:28 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


But I like circus peanuts.

Oh you're the one.
posted by shakespeherian at 10:34 AM on April 14, 2010


We are here at Taco Grande, where we've secretly replaced the fine cilantro they usually use with live bedbugs. Let's see if anyone can tell the difference!
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 10:35 AM on April 14, 2010 [5 favorites]


I love cilantro. I'd rather talk about what vile, alien things mushrooms are. Disgusting.
posted by item at 10:35 AM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


I know someone who can;t eat mushrooms. Why i ask.


"Because . mushrooms ...have ...SPORES."
posted by The Whelk at 10:37 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cilantro and arugula are both tastes that require some acquiring. I (finally) love them both.

Julia Child is overrated.
posted by mrgrimm at 10:42 AM on April 14, 2010


I know most people on here are joking about the whole "making people eat it till they like it" but seriously stop it. Believe me I've tried to enjoy it, I've tried to get used to it, I've tried to just plain ignore it. There is no food that is better with it in it for me, there are a couple ways to sneak some in that won't make me gag but really why the hell bother.

It simply does not taste good. Not in any way.

And no I'm not a picky eater. No it's not that I haven't been exposed to the right food. No I won't get over it if I give it a chance.

One little bit in a delicious bowl of Pho makes a bowl of soapy tasting crap.

Seriously just get over yourselves... It's nice that you like Cilantro... but for me it's crap. Don't try to change my mind.
posted by cirhosis at 10:59 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Julia Child is overrated.

You, sir, go on The List.
posted by mudpuppie at 11:14 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I want to make cilantro soap.
posted by aniola at 11:16 AM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I love the stuff when used appropriately. A little advice for every half-ass restaurant chain and television cook:
Putting a pile of cilantro, accompanied by ginger and lime, on a dish does not make it "Asian".


papaya is another story. i've had one or two good ones...this over many years...but the rest taste like turpentine to me. i wonder if i just pick bad papaya, or is it a genetic thingy too.
posted by billybobtoo


I too have struggled with this very problem shortly after moving to Hawai'i. My wife was born and raised here and we have a papaya tree in our yard. She loves the stuff for breakfast.
While I don't hate it, I definitely prefer not to have it. Guava and passionfruit are another story entirely . . .

I can't stand asparagus or Brussels sprouts though, which makes me feel like some sort of foodie pariah.
posted by JoanArkham


My standard recipe for making someone like brussels sprouts (and most other unpopular vegetables):
Dice and render about a quarter cup of bacon in a pan.
Sautee vegetables in the bacon fat with salt and pepper.
(optional tiny squeeze of lemon)
Enjoy.
posted by kaiseki at 11:19 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I like cilantro well enough in small amounts... but there's definitely a threshold (low for me) where it just gets cloying and fills my sinus cavities with a weird, unpleasant twinge.

The Whelk: I am similarly conflicted about mushrooms. Love em on pizza, but those great big portabella caps really kind of freak me out. I mean, look at the gills!
posted by usonian at 11:21 AM on April 14, 2010


I'm not crazy about cilantro. I like it in small amounts, in certain foods and dishes, but I'm never like OMGTEHCILANTROIZAMAZING! It also doesn't smell like soap at all to me.

But alfalfa sprouts smell like pure evil. They are disgusting, and one smell of one sprout in a sandwich or salad will make me repent ever having ate at all that day. Why? Why do people eat those disgusting things? I don't know how to describe what they smell like, but maybe mealworm excrement or a rats anus. They smell like something definitely in the ass aroma family. Ugh.
posted by raztaj at 11:29 AM on April 14, 2010


So there's
A) people who don't taste any soapy flavor, just deliciousness (me)
B) people who taste some kind of soapy flavor and ergo hate it
C) people who taste some kind of soapy flavor but have learned/come to like it


D) People who don't think it tastes like soap(wtf? Soap?) at all, but can recognize its grassy, bland, moisture-sucking nastiness from just one bite, delicious pho or not.
posted by madajb at 11:35 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Weird. I hate cilantro, but my identical twin brother would probably sprinkle that crap on his corn flakes.
posted by The Potate at 11:39 AM on April 14, 2010


Only 118 comments so far? Come on, people, we need everyone on MetaFilter to post their personal opinion of cilantro. Because this summer at the mandatory 11th anniversary meetup everybody's getting free pizza!!! and we need to know how many cilantro pizzas to get and how many to order with pineapple and brussels sprouts instead.
posted by decagon at 11:43 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I just came here to say, fuck you cilantro, I want my $5 you asshole!
posted by Pollomacho at 11:48 AM on April 14, 2010


But... but... I don't have your five dollars! *cries, runs away*
posted by cilantro at 11:53 AM on April 14, 2010 [8 favorites]


*angry mob gives chase*
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 11:56 AM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Cilantro haters, it's Food preferences are not your anybody's fault.

FTFY.
posted by l33tpolicywonk at 12:01 PM on April 14, 2010


Anyway, cilantro is tasty and little more need be said *shifty glance*

But papaya is another story. I ate papaya once. Let me tell you about that.

I was about eight years old and in day care. A few of us were gathered around a table doing a project with construction paper. Whoever finished first was to win a treat. A chunk of papaya, to be exact. We all thought it looked sort of slimy and gross, but the kind old lady who had brought it assured us that there was nothing to fear. "It's delicious! It's nature's candy." Well, all right.

I finished my project first and was awarded the papaya chunk, which I bravely popped into my mouth. Oh dear.

This was not "candy," nor anything remotely similar. Candy, as a rule, was tasty; this was rather more like eating an obese cockroach, one that had just been exterminated with Raid. I remember a distinct sense that my life as a food-consuming organism was over, that I would never be able to eat again, so great was the insult I had paid to my digestive tract. Then, with such alacrity as would have awed Pheidippides himself, I bounded across the room and puked into the recycling bin.

I don't think any of the other kids tried the papaya.

In retrospect, that was probably the experience that taught me the logical flaw in the appeal to nature. Fuck "nature's candy." If nature was such a good confectioner to begin with, why did man have to start making his own candy? Think about it.
posted by decagon at 12:17 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Never eat anything described as "nature's candy" and never vacation anywhere described as "the Paris of the..."
posted by JoanArkham at 12:37 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Cilantro is the most vile tasting herb in the entire universe. Mint is also vile, but not as vile as cilantro.
posted by crankylex at 12:40 PM on April 14, 2010


Cilantro is the most vile tasting herb in the entire universe. Mint is also vile, but not as vile as cilantro.

And ...bam we have a foolproof cylon detector.
posted by The Whelk at 12:46 PM on April 14, 2010 [10 favorites]


I'm just here to say that I love cilantro but am firmly on the mango hatewagon. Between their slimy texture and the gross skunky taste, I'm sad that they've become such a trendy recent food fetish.

Also, I hate that American cuisine is so... I guess immature would be a way of putting it, that we must be continually subjected to these species of trend-food fads. I don't care WHAT it is, or whether or not I like it (sundried tomatoes, cilantro, mangoes, merlot reduction, jerk sauce, pancetta... the list goes on and on) - it's a sure bet that if over half the dishes in some "fusion" restaurant come drenched in some trendy foodie fad ingredient, then in general I'll find the cuisine there to be as lazy and unimaginative as I imagine the head chef is. It's the culinary equivalent of a thirteen-year-old girl's bedroom that's been wallpapered in tweenybopper posters, and it's embarrassing.

the same applies for burnt, over-roasted coffee beans and horrid, flabby, overly-oaked chardonnay...
posted by lonefrontranger at 12:46 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Others have addressed that hing is not the same as cilantro (or coriander), so I'll skip straight to defending it. Hing may smell bad raw, but it's wonderful cooked, and utterly essential in many Indian recipes — it's the heart of that "Indian restaurant smell", contributing to that "I don't know what that is, but it smells so good!" feeling as you walk in the door. I loves me some hing.

Speaking of Indian restaurants, cilantro-haters should stay far far away from the green (haree) chutney. Restaurant menus may commonly describe it as "mint chutney", but by ingredient proportion it would be more accurately called "cilantro chutney". Chef and cookbook author Suvir Saran says it's essential to include the cilantro, as all-mint chutney tends to be bitter.
posted by Lexica at 12:50 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I've noticed that as I get older, I start liking stuff I didn't like in the past. Raw tomatoes, smoked salmon, sour cream. Cilantro is something that I was never able to deal with. No one in my family can either, so there's a definite genetic component.

I remember going to a great Pho restaurant in San Jose in the early eighties, long before cilantro was that sprig on the corner of your plate. I loved everything about Pho, except the cilantro.

I didn't know what it was at first, but I nibbled it and discovered that it was the culprit. So early on was this that no one could tell me what it was. I ordered my Pho 'without that green thing' in it. Still do.

Also, have to take it off my cheap Vietnamese sandwich.

Guys, just as I wish I could like avocados, I wish I could like cilantro, but I just can't.

Oh, and I'm not going to keep trying it to see if someday I grow accustomed to it. Didn't work with caviar, not going to bother with cilantro.
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 12:57 PM on April 14, 2010


I am utterly mystified at the mango- and papaya-hate. Happy, since, well, more for me! But still, mystified.
posted by rtha at 1:01 PM on April 14, 2010



(And on the asafoetida thing - yeah, that's not cilantro. Guy at a local spice store gave me a whiff of it once - yikes! Vile, vile smell. It's quite aptly named. If you've smelled it, you'd never mix it up with cilantro)

You, sir, are wrong. How could you deny the awe-inspiring deliciousness of Brinjal Bartha served with a nice Papaya chutney.

Flame roasted eggplant, asafoetida, coriander,cumin AND papaya ,asafoetida, coriander,cumin: it could be the nuclear option of unpopular tasty goodness.
posted by tallus at 1:29 PM on April 14, 2010


Flame roasted eggplant, asafoetida, coriander,cumin AND papaya ,asafoetida, coriander,cumin: it could be the nuclear option of unpopular tasty goodness.

Not unless made it into trail mix.
posted by jquinby at 1:32 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


whoa. who knew there was so much HATRED in the world?

and nobody mentioned cooked carrots. how they taste like skunk and mush between your teeth like baby poo.
or mayonaise, and it's smell of vomit warmed in the afternoon sun - a sulfuric pit wafting steamily on a cold winter's day.

or pate? how it has the texture of cellulite and the taste of pig toe jam?
posted by crash blossoms at 1:34 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


I must go and try some pho. I love cilantro so much that when I go to Salsarita's I tell the young man behind the counter to put as much cilantro as he can on my burrito and he puts a whole fistful on the thing and with the beans and the rice and the pico de gallo it is the best thing in all the lands.

I also wonder why we always have this fight and not about brussel sprouts. Are they just so unloved that there is no argument about it? I like brussel sprouts. They taste like little bits of the first few days of spring.
posted by winna at 1:42 PM on April 14, 2010


Cilantro. Tastes Like Cat Piss.
posted by stormpooper at 1:43 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Oh gods, there are so many comments I want to respond to... so here it is, all mashed up:

I love violet candy and jasmine tea. Can I join that group and try some of that rose&chocolate tea?

Cilantro, oh, my love I sing to thee! I'm from the U.S. Southwest, so I probably tasted it first in homemade salsa. I later discovered the Ambrosia* that is Thai food, which I think I would now cease to exist if it suddenly disappeared! Unsurprisingly, Indian dishes, chock full of cilantro, are on my favorites list too.

I buy a bunch about once a month, for both cooking and for salad. I know it's an elitist thought, but I always feel sad for a person when (s)he says cilantro tastes like soap (or dirty feet, as I've also heard.) Sometimes I grab a little as a breath freshener (which, I was told, is what the parsley on your plate is for.)

*God(s) didn't have to create cilanto second, as it's an ingredient for Ambrosia.
posted by _paegan_ at 1:58 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


My, my, my. This is a fun thread.

I like cilantro a lot, fresh, in salsa or on tacos, or on curried squash soup. It smells lovely. When dried, it's useless. I understand the soap connotation, but the overall deliciousness wins. It's not too hard to grow, though it gets leggy.

Papaya. No. I tried, I really did, but it doesn't taste good to me. Mmmmmanngoes, yummy. I will eat mangoes as often as possible. Slippery, sweet, but sometimes also tart, smoky mangoes are the sexiest fruit. If I could have just 1 food, can it be mangoes? Please? Foods that combine mangoes, cilantro, lime and maybe some black beans are so fantastically fresh and good.

But eggplant. Why is is it that when you say you don't like eggplant, people try to convince you to like it by putting in otherwise delicious foods, and telling you that you'll like it. If you take eggplant, coat it with breadcrumbs, deepfry it, cover it with tomato sauce(lotsa garlic) and cheese, broil it, and serve it to me on a toasted baguette, I'll peel off the coating, sauce and cheese, and eat it on the baguette and still be annoyed at the lingering eggplant taste. I've tried it. Many times. It tastes bad to me. I prefer not to eat it. So why on earth do people insist on trying to make me eat it? I won't make you cilantro-objectors eat cilantro. If you let me know, I'll make you some salsa without it. I won't even make you eat squash, brussel sprouts, or arugula. You may have some other delicious food; more squash for me, yay.

I am now really hungry, and I have no cilantro in the house, so I will go eat a mango, if it's ripe.
posted by theora55 at 2:09 PM on April 14, 2010


Oh yes. In furtherance of my cilantro/coriander outrage, I just this weekend past purchased a small coriander plant from the market. I brought it home, de-potted it, shook out all the dirt, and placed it on my desk, where I am deriving a great deal of pleasure from watching it slowly die.
posted by turgid dahlia at 2:20 PM on April 14, 2010 [7 favorites]


Cilantro. Tastes Like Cat Piss.

Now here is someone who has cultivated an expanded repertoire of taste experiences.
posted by gyusan at 2:21 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


Oh god. I like cilantro a lot, but...

The first time I ever made lasagna, and I mixed up whether I was supposed to put parsley or cilantro in the filling. I used cilantro. Oh oh god, oh it was bad. Possibly the most elaborate disgusting thing I have ever cooked, tied with the time I forgot to put the sugar in the rhubarb pie. Also bad.

I've gotten better since then though...
posted by Tesseractive at 2:48 PM on April 14, 2010


Maybe it's all the soap I was forced to eat as a child in some misguided attempt to clean up my pottymouth but you can put me squarely in the camp of Cilantro==goodness.
posted by Fezboy! at 3:45 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


The first time I ever made lasagna, and I mixed up whether I was supposed to put parsley or cilantro in the filling. I used cilantro. Oh oh god, oh it was bad. Possibly the most elaborate disgusting thing I have ever cooked, tied with the time I forgot to put the sugar in the rhubarb pie. Also bad.

I once tried to make homemade ravioli without letting the homemade pasta rest long enough to bind into a pasta, rather than an eggy goop. I realized my mistake when the ravioli turned into a bubbling pot of nastiness the moment they hit the water. Even the dog wouldn't eat them. I have never been brave enough to try again.
posted by winna at 4:02 PM on April 14, 2010


Cilantro..............Yes
Arugula..............Yes
Eggplant............Meh
Parsley...............Meh
Cumin.................Yes
Papaya................Ick
Mango................Yes
Brussels Sprouts.Yes
Asparagus..........Yes
Circus Peanuts...Meh
Violet Candy.......Yes
Jasmine Tea........Yes
Soap....................Ick
Bed Bugs.............Ick
Pâté...................OMG YES YES YES ~ swoon~
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 4:05 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


What I'm struggling with is the claim that cilantro tastes "like bedbugs" when, on the one hand, I assume no one actually knows what they taste like, and on the other, that description seems so right.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 4:17 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


My cousin hates cilantro and can't share my burrito when we're at Qdoba. Unlike the cilantro aversion described in the article, it tastes like "burning" to her.
posted by clarknova at 4:24 PM on April 14, 2010


From this thread I can conclude one of two things. Either, a) contrary to what I have been led to believe, cilantro is not the same thing as coriander, or b) American soap smells and tastes fucking divine.
posted by anagrama at 4:25 PM on April 14, 2010 [2 favorites]


Sophisticated palate, NYC food snob here -- LOATHE cilantro and am in constant conflict with other unsufferable types on this topic. Thank you for this, it made my day, talk about Most Emailed.
posted by thinkpiece at 4:31 PM on April 14, 2010


bibbit: "I love cilantro, and HATE parsley"

Let me tell you about this one time when I accidentally put like 3 bunches of strange looking cilantro into the cuisinart along with those lovely tomatoes and garlic and onions. It was strange looking cilantro. Guess what? Well, it wasn't strange looking cilantro, it was parsley, as you have probably guessed by now, and it was the worst salsa ever. Worse than Taco Bell.

The tears were not because I had been chopping onions.
posted by Barry B. Palindromer at 4:31 PM on April 14, 2010


I could loll about in a field of cilantro, and be as a cat to a field of catnip. If I'm cooking with cilantro, I will occasionally succumb to the urge to just grab the whole bunch and take a healthy bite. But I, too, am a convert. I had a plate of vegetarian enchiladas one time, that were pretty heavy on the G*d Weed, and dind't like them much at all, and I recall being bothered by that strange unpleasant flavor for a good while that day, and into the next. Not soapy, just... weird. About 2 weeks later, out of the blue, I suddenly HAD TO HAVE MORE OF THAT NOW. Been hooked ever since.
posted by Devils Rancher at 4:37 PM on April 14, 2010


If you were an herb of low habit with cushiony looking leaves, it might be very much to your advantage to contrive to have an odor like bedbugs in a world filled with heavy, sleepy mammals possessing good senses of smell.

But what interests me is the possibility of an interaction between bedbugs and cilantro in individual humans.

If you've ever had more than a few bedbug bites, are you more or less likely to enjoy cilantro?

If you have an allergic reaction to bedbug bites, would eating cilantro possibly lessen that reaction in a parallel to a classical desensitization strategy? (The implications of the Indian folktale about the flea and the bedbug might incline very slightly in the yes direction).
posted by jamjam at 5:36 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


Not that anyone probably cares, but add me to the list of cilantro-ists. I can tolerate a small amount, but more than that and I want to gag.

It's tasty as a barely perceptible accent, as many things I don't normally like the flavor of are. Otherwise, it's gross and I wish my SO didn't love it so much.

Now, I loves me some rosemary and most everything one might consider "spanish" or "latin" culinarily, but that cilantro... Urgh..

Pate? Excellent. Most fruits, even the odd ones are at least interesting to have every once in a while. Basically, I'll eat almost anything. Except. CILANTRO.
posted by wierdo at 6:05 PM on April 14, 2010


If you cilantro haters out there feel stigmatized, I'm formally outing myself as someone who, though otherwise fairly omnivorous, thinks BEER tastes putrid. Let the character assassination begin.
posted by tula at 7:05 PM on April 14, 2010


I think chocolate occasionally tastes the way poop smells. Hasn't stopped me from filling my tummy with it tho.
posted by contessa at 7:31 PM on April 14, 2010 [1 favorite]


tula wrote: "If you cilantro haters out there feel stigmatized, I'm formally outing myself as someone who, though otherwise fairly omnivorous, thinks BEER tastes putrid. Let the character assassination begin."

Most beer is in fact nasty. There do exist good beers that don't make me gag, however. Almost all beers are shit once they've been bottled. Out of a keg with clean lines into a clean glass, there are a lot of beers that are utter swill in bottles that taste pretty good. Killian's, for example is not very good at all in a bottle, barely more tolerable than Bud or Coors, but take a draw out of a keg and let it warm up a hair and it's really good.

Yuengling lager is also surprisingly good on tap.

Neither of those are what I'd call "good," however, merely tolerable. There are a lot of good microbrews around, though.

It's kinda like coffee. When all I knew was the drip Folgers that most people drink, I thought it was nasty. Get some decent coffee and use a Moka pot to brew it, and suddenly there's much less "gack!" involved. When all I knew was Bud Light, I hated beer.
posted by wierdo at 8:10 PM on April 14, 2010


I my world all beer is awful. On a blazing hot day, with Mexican food, at an English pub, Belgian beer fresh from the tap, regardless---just horrific. It's my disability.
posted by tula at 8:22 PM on April 14, 2010


If you've ever had more than a few bedbug bites, are you more or less likely to enjoy cilantro?

This thread is weird.

I think chocolate occasionally tastes the way poop smells. Hasn't stopped me from filling my tummy with it tho.

This requires clarification.
posted by Durn Bronzefist at 9:06 PM on April 14, 2010


This requires clarification.

Fill tummy with chocolate, not poo.
posted by contessa at 9:17 PM on April 14, 2010


I can't remember the taste at this moment but I do recall defending it a couple of times so I must like it. It's been a while since I've had it.

Incidentally, cilantro is called パクチー in Japanese, and is connected mainly with Thai cooking, and a good percentage of Japanese folks detest it as well. Must be a universal thing.

And as for the "soapy" taste...doesn't it make more sense that soap makers have taken fragrances and yes, even flavors, from elsewhere and put them in the soap, not the other way round? I never had Jasmine tea until I was an adult, and I thought "whoa, it tastes like soap!", but the Jasmine tea flavor was first by thousands of years, long before soap makers thought to put it in their product.
posted by zardoz at 9:38 PM on April 14, 2010


In my world all beer is awful.

Guessing you can't take the bitter. I used to be the same way. Honestly, my advice is to stay the hell away from fancy beer and drink terrible watered down swill like PBR or Milwaukee's Best, or maybe Corona w/lime -- ignore the dirty looks from beer snobs. That was the only way I could drink beer for the longest time until i killed enough tastebuds to be able to handle 'real' beer like IPA and Guinness.
posted by empath at 9:58 PM on April 14, 2010


This requires clarification.

2 Smells, one food.
posted by empath at 9:59 PM on April 14, 2010


contessa wrote: "Fill tummy with chocolate, not poo."

Isn't it disturbing to think you're actually doing both every time you eat chocolate (or anything else, for that matter)? Filling your tummy with chocolate, and simultaneously with poo?
posted by wierdo at 10:02 PM on April 14, 2010 [3 favorites]


I put cilantro on everything. Literally everything. It's replaced lettuce in sandwiches, that's how much I mean everything.
posted by diocletian at 12:20 AM on April 15, 2010


Guessing you can't take the bitter.

Nope, it's not the bitter. I love bitter marmalade, arugula, tonic water. The smell of a beer, Corona included, makes me wanna retch, and I just can't imagine what other people are tasting. Trust me on this, after over 25 years of enjoying all kinds of alcohol---whiskey, Scotch, tequila, absinthe, rye, etc., I quite sure I just don't like beer. For me it doesn't require fixing. But I won't let my friends mention my aversion at a bar anymore, for fear of another well-intentioned bartender taking my case on as a personal challenge and serving me his best xyz beer, only to have me sip it and wince, then gulp some water down to wash the taste out of my mouth. I'm a brewer's heartbreak.

So while I don't really understand cilantro hate, I've got to accept that different people can taste the same things very, very differently.
posted by tula at 2:11 AM on April 15, 2010 [2 favorites]


Tula, I am exactly the same: I love plenty of bitter things, I love all kinds of alcohol, yet I can't stand beer. My spousal unit is forever buying expensive foreign stouts and then making me taste them, "Here try this one! Chocolate and raspberry, it's so good!" and I taste it and it tastes like beer. This is then followed by a conversation about how isn't it great that I don't like beer because more for him, etc. Until the next time he tries a new beer and then he is all, "Try this one! It tastes like coffee and almonds!" and I dutifully take a sip before gratefully going back to my pink Gin and Tonic.
posted by Secret Life of Gravy at 5:55 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


re: beer hatred, from what I understand (my wife), it's the "horse piss" aspects of beer that are so offensive. Maybe it's the hops?

Anyway, instead of drinking "swill" (which I think is a mischaracterization, but nonetheless), cut a nice IPA with Sprite or 7up or (Ale 8!)and call it a Shandy. Granted, you won't like it as much as wine or liquor, but if beer's all you got ...
posted by mrgrimm at 9:07 AM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


Secret Life of Gravy, nice to know I'm not alone. I had to sample all kinds of brews before mr. tula finally gave up trying to convert me. We shake our heads in wonder at what each other's taste buds are tasting. I tell him if I had to create a liquid that he would have as negative a reaction to, I'd start with some old green stinky water from a vase of flowers left out too long, then add some of the liquid when milk goes really chunky....in a nice pint glass. "On a hot day, with Mexican food....oh man, there's nothing like it!!"

Hops sure don't help, but I've had wheat beer and beer-similar drinks with no hops, and I don't like those either. Every once in a while we'll find some weird thing like a barley wine or lambic or mead or something that I could drink if I were really, really thirsty and there wasn't anything else available. But never for pleasure. I like hard ciders, if they don't taste too much like beer.
posted by tula at 10:46 AM on April 15, 2010


tula: I wonder if it's the by-products from beer yeast fermentation that put you off... Although they're all Saccromyeces, beer yeast strains differ from wine (and to a lesser degree, cider). But to go from Bud to Belgians to barley wine, that's quite a spectrum. Curious indeed...
posted by slogger at 11:28 AM on April 15, 2010


I am a special beer-hatin' snowflake.
posted by tula at 1:39 PM on April 15, 2010


I am the second person in this thread to feel neutrally about cilantro. It tastes like soap, but not badly enough that I throw a fit and throw it on the floor about it. I can tolerate it sprinkled on top of things. (I used to do regular mandatory potlucks with a cilantro fan with a temper. Even if I did feel like throwing it on the floor, I wouldn't have done it around her.) On the other hand, one time at another potluck I mistakenly ate a salad that had waaaaaaaaaaay too much of the stuff in it, and then it was soapy overkill.

But really people, why can't we all accept that some people have different taste buds than others? Some people can't stand chocolate. I'm one of those freaks who can't stand coffee no matter how many kinds I've tried of it. Are the cilantro-lovers seriously gonna break out a lynch mob on the other half of the world? Come on.
posted by jenfullmoon at 1:47 PM on April 15, 2010


Are the cilantro-lovers seriously gonna break out a lynch mob on the other half of the world? Come on.

Not if we lynch them first.
posted by komara at 1:52 PM on April 15, 2010


Guava paste. God, why not just eat gritty, jellied rubber? Just thinking about it makes me angry. And Good N' Plenties. An abomination.

On the other hand, cilantro. Arugula. And eggplant! I like bitter tastes. I like stinky cheese. Just don't come near me with your got-damn guava paste. You hear me, gramma?

I was extremely unsettled by the knowledge that asfoetida is the same thing as cilantro, and that some people don't make stinky pee. Thank god these things are not true.
posted by staggering termagant at 1:56 PM on April 15, 2010


Looks like I am the one Mefi outlier who lurves cilantro, mango, papaya AND persimmon.
posted by special-k at 3:14 PM on April 15, 2010


Nope, special-k, I'm with you. But I can't stand anything in the squash family, zuchinni, pumpkin, none of that. Or sweet potatoes. Loathe them.
posted by MrMoonPie at 4:25 PM on April 15, 2010


Me too with cilantro, mango, papaya AND persimmon, and but I also like squash and sweet potato, etc. How about spicy mango salsa with a little cilantro in it? Yum. And I love Fuyu persimmons. Oddly, so does one of our cats.
posted by tula at 4:44 PM on April 15, 2010


I hated cilantro the first few times it snuck into my food. I thought it tasted like the smell of burning plastic rather than soap, Over time my taste has changed to the point where I love a certain amount in salsa and pho. If I get something that is overly cilantro's the burning plastic taste returns. I can also relate the taste of something over cilantro'd to the smell of stink bugs. The right amount of cilantro = good. Too much = windex
posted by Carbolic at 4:56 PM on April 15, 2010


I'm joining special-k and tula in Outlierland, and I'm superhappy that tula doesn't like beer. More for me and special-k! (tula, I'll bring spirits, because I like them too.)
posted by rtha at 5:45 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


MrMoonPie will be there as well, of
course. I'll eat the sweet potatoes, and zucchini is good fried.
posted by rtha at 5:47 PM on April 15, 2010 [1 favorite]


All these things you speak of in this thread? I love them all. Especially cilantro and papaya. Whiskey and jack fruit are the only two things that will not willingly pass these lips. Whiskey tastes like poison and jack fruit? It's like you never stop chewing the nasty shit! Gross, the both of them.
posted by msali at 7:30 PM on April 15, 2010


I love everything mentioned in this thread thus far.

tula/rtha: You and I are soulmates.

msali: I lurve jackfruit (whiskey goes without saying). My folks fed me a ton of jackfruit when I was a puppy. Now I am tempted to get jackfruit curry takeout from the Malaysian restaurant down the street. omg. nOM!
posted by special-k at 8:05 PM on April 15, 2010


I will drink your whiskey portion, msali.

I have never had jackfruit, I don't think.

I love fresh lychees.
posted by rtha at 9:37 PM on April 15, 2010


Sometimes I grab a little as a breath freshener (which, I was told, is what the parsley on your plate is for.)

Does anybody else do this? Thanks to paegan's comment, a tentative, romantic kiss immediately ruined by cilantro breath now tops my list of hypothetical dating nightmares.
posted by cirripede at 10:10 PM on April 15, 2010


I detest cilantro (also known as coriander leaf or asafoetida, depending upon the nationality of the cuisine). However, I do still eat in Indian restaurants, oddly enough. I am very careful about what I order.

Actually asafoetida is a kind of plant belonging to genus ferula. It and cilantro both belong to the FAMILY apiaceae, but they aren't the same.
posted by liketitanic at 7:51 AM on April 16, 2010


I've given up on trying to convert my wife to a beer drinker, but still try to talk her into tasting, or at least smelling, any brew I happen to pick up for myself. The faces are just too hilarious! She knows this, though, and is usually a pretty good sport. Anyone else ever noticed that Peroni has a definite, albeit mild, skunk odor? Not at all present in the taste, thankfully.

One taste I don't care for is mango - it tastes to me the way that insectiside smells. I don't worry about it much, though, as most raw fruits and veggies provoke a mild or moderate(depending on what I'm eating) allergic response, so I generally avoid most of them. Cooked, though, I'll eat damn near anything.
posted by owtytrof at 8:04 AM on April 16, 2010


I am going to try to find a jackfruit to taste, will report back.
posted by tula at 9:59 AM on April 16, 2010


For a long time in the '90s, I dreamt of developing non-alcoholic bourbon, so I could drink it all day at work. The yearning has returned.
posted by mrgrimm at 11:11 AM on April 16, 2010


I just thought I'd mention that my derby team practices in an area surrounded by agricultural fields. Last night they must have just harvested about fifty acres of cilantro. The smell as we burned around the track was amazing (IMO).
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 3:08 PM on April 16, 2010


Whoa, a gajillion comments and no mention of blue-cheese hate?

I am here to volunteer my blue-cheese hating services.
posted by The ____ of Justice at 11:42 AM on April 19, 2010


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