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Two articles on cilantro, taste, and your genes…

September 15, 2012

Here are two related articles from NPR on the subject of Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum), exploring why some people hate it while others love it and how your genes may play a role in determining your preference…


Article #1 From NPR (December 26, 2008)

Getting To The Root Of The Great Cilantro Divide

I hate cilantro. As far as I’m concerned, it should be wiped off the face of the planet. And I’m not alone in my extremist views.

“It has that same sort of acrid sweetness of death,” according to my friend Jason. “It’s got this evilness to it,” my friend Wendy concurs.

For people like us, the smell alone is enough to send us running in horror. But why? What fuels the great cilantro divide?

My quest for answers began with the Internet. It was there that I learned (from questionable sources) that our hatred arises from the fact that we are supertasters. Gifted (or burdened) with a “supersensitive palate,” we are some of the rare beings who are tuned into the true nature of this nasty green beast.

Follow this link to read full article on NPR


Article #2 from NPR (September 14, 2012)

Love To Hate Cilantro? It’s In Your Genes And Maybe, In Your Head

by Michaeleen Doucleff

There’s no question that cilantro is a polarizing herb. Some of us heap it onto salsas and soups with gusto while others avoid cilantro because it smells like soap and tastes like crushed bugs.

Some people despise the lacy green herb so much that there’s even an I Hate Cilantro website. There, cilantrophobes post haikus expressing their passionate anger and disgust at the leafy green: “Such acrid debris! This passes as seasoning? Socrates’ hemlock!” writes user Dubhloaich.

But what separates the cilantro lovers from the haters? Is it hard-wired in our genes, as Harold McGee suggested a few years ago in the New York Times, or can we learn to enjoy cilantro if we associate its flavor with fresh fish tacos or bowls of spicy pho? It’s probably not so simple.

Read full article on NPR’s food blog: Love To Hate Cilantro? It’s In Your Genes And Maybe, In Your Head

3 Comments leave one →
  1. September 15, 2012 10:08:53 pm

    Ok so I used to be a hater but now I like it. I won’t say I “love” it, BUT (and here is the crux)… a lot of cuisines that use fresh coriander (the Aussie word for it!) rely on that acrid taste to balance out the dish. I eat it because it “works” with the dish, NOT because I love it. Husband Steve HATES it…but he also HATES rhubarb. Another polarising vegetable source. Add Durian, mango, broad beans, Brussels sprouts…the list goes on…what about broccoli? A whole family can be divided by its likes and dislikes Spencer…I personally think that you are looking for an excuse to legitimise your dislike ;). Remember…you need to look behind any scientific study to see who funded it…methinks that this one was funded by a coriander hater…supertasters? Bollocks! 😉

    • September 16, 2012 10:08:28 am

      Wait, no! I absolutely love coriander leaves (cilantro) and will eat it straight in large handfuls. I was devastated this summer when it was too hot to grow in Greece. My mom also saw this article and reminded me that she used to absolutely hate it but now can’t get enough. Interesting…. As a side note, here in Greece where I’ve been spending a bit of time over the past year, the leaves (cilantro) are very difficult to find and not commonly used in cooking whereas the seeds (which we call coriander in the US are abundantly available.

      Thanks for the comment and if you feel inspired to submit a haiku, please feel free!

      • September 16, 2012 10:08:06 am

        Why thank you…I will submit 2 (unbiased ;))

        Coriander no
        I cannot stand your taste now
        I would rather die

        Cilantro is great
        Feathery Flavour packed joy
        A Mexican dream

        Balance 😉

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