The Evil Herb
Call it whatever you want - cilantro, coriander, Chinese parsley, etc. I hate and abhor it. To me and about 4-14 percent of the population, it tastes like soap or something worse. In my defense, it seems there is a genetic explanation for cilantro-haters, a olfactory-receptor gene called ORG6A2, which picks up on the smell of aldehyde chemicals found in soap and, you guessed it, cilantro. I've always felt vindicated that Julia Child, my long-time culinary hero, hated it, too. TV chef Ina Garten also shares my disgust for this herb. I can't even stand to be near it in the produce section of the grocery store.
I live in Texas, which is loaded with Mexican restaurants of every stripe, from traditional Mexican fare and Tex-Mex to fast-food chains like Taco Bell, Taco Bueno and others. I actually grew up loving Mexican foods in, of all places, Toledo, Ohio. It seems that Mexicans who came north to pick tomatoes in Northern Ohio sometimes stayed to open restaurants. Our family favorite was Loma Linda's, a tiny place near the airport. The small lobby was usually crammed with people who often waited an hour or more to be seated, enjoying a margarita or two (or three) and their famous nachos. I don't remember cilantro being used in their dishes, though.
My son-in-law Reagan loves to tease me and says I moved to the wrong state if I hate cilantro so much. It's ubiquitous here, so I have to be very careful when ordering food: no cilantro! The times I've forgotten, I'm reduced to picking the leaves and stems out of my entrée. And its not just restaurant food. You know those prepackaged salad mixes? Almost all of them contain cilantro. Yuk. Soon, I will be putting an herb garden in my new standing planter. As the old Simon and Garfunkel song goes: parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme, but no cilantro.
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I'm Chris Barabasz, retired from a 35-year career managing communications for health care development (that's fundraising for you civilians). I'm a wife, mother, grandmother and freelance writer. My husband Andy and I moved from Delaware to Texas to be closer to our daughters and three adorable grandchildren.