Cilantro, Coriander, Coriandrum sativum, Chinese parsley or dhania – Kingdom: Plantae – Order: Apiales- Family: Apiaceae – Genus: Coriandrum – Species: C. Sativum – Also Known as The destroyer of; perfectly good tacos, pad thai, carne asada, salsa, guacamole, banh mi, the top of indian food, and now that beautiful mothers milk known as hummus.
No cilantro? Asked every waitress at every restaurant since I was cognizant enough to realize it was the culprit behind my tacos tasting like soap, after which they looked my mother for reassurance as if I was faking it. This is a question which has followed me, especially considering the fact that I am a brown guy who comes from a culture that all but worships the great green satan. I would say that it is a perfectly easy relationship: I ask for it to not be included in my food, I don’t buy it to cook with, I stay out of its way, it stays out of mine.
You may be reading this and thinking to yourself, what is this guy’s fucking problem? I love cilantro; I wish it were in everything yada yada yada yada….For you oh my skeptic friend of poor taste, I would initially like to point out that the queen of all cooking, the late Julia Child was also not terribly keen on it, so much so that, as she admitted in an interview with Larry King , she would throw it on the ground whenever she encountered it. Until now I never questioned why people were always surprised that I am not a fan. Now that I asked the question has been put out the answer is literally at my perfectly tanned arms.
According to the studies conducted by the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia and referenced in an NPR segment and a New York Times article, the aversion to the green devil plant is caused by genetic luck of the draw. This particular genetic variation makes individuals vastly more sensitive to the chemical makeup of the plant, which carries distinctly soapy aromatic characteristics.
Take a moment and imagine every time you craved some dope barbacoa tacos the taquero at your favorite spot shredded ZOTE on it before serving you. Nine percent of 25,000 polled reported that it tasted like soap. If this statistic is extrapolated to the general population that means that I am in quite the minority.
Though, I am reassured that there is a significant population that if you, the reader of this humble article, happen to work or are involved in the foodservice industry and someone asks that a certain ingredient be omitted, please do not scoff or be shitty about it — even if they happen to be brown. You wouldn’t roll your eyes at someone with a severe peanut or seafood allergy…would you?
My name is Claudio A. Cortes, I am a brown American that is physically disgusted by the taste of cilantro, and I am proud of It.