Why So Much Cilantro Hate?

Tue, Apr 20, 2010


Some people out there don’t like cilantro. In fact they seem to really hate it (funny to find this out after just featuring coriander). The people who dislike cilantro aren’t just people who don’t have a passion for food, but seems to come from people with varying degrees of food love.

Even Julia Child said to Larry King when he asked what foods she hated, “Cilantro and arugula I don’t like at all. They’re both green herbs, they have kind of a dead taste to me.” She even said that she would “pick it off and throw it on the floor” if it were in her dish.

According to an article done by the New York Times there are so many people out there that shares the same dislike of the leafy green part of the coriander plant that Julia Child did that there is even an “I Hate Cilantro” Facebook page and an I Hate Cilantro Blog.

Luckily, there are plenty of people out there that love cilantro and use it frequently in their food. Asian and Latin American dishes seem to be on top of the list, with the Portuguese (one of the few people in Europe that don’t find the herb offensive)  high up there on the same list.

Wondering why so many people loath the herb? Well apparently it’s genetics, in part. The other thing is that it seems to remind people of a soapy smell/taste. The chemicals that make up this smell/taste is actually found in soaps as well as the bugs that cilantro got its name from because of the smell.

Cilantro is in fact an acquired taste that seems to become more appealing the more times people try it. This explains why those that have a lot of cilantro in their diet enjoy it much more than those that don’t.  If you know of someone who doesn’t like cilantro, but you do, there is a way to help get them used to the herb. Crushing the leaves allows the flavor to become much more mild and smell to be almost non-existent.

So lets try to get rid of the hate for cilantro and try to give it more love by finding ways to incorporate it into dishes that are easier on those sensitive palates!

Photo by Emily Barney

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This post was written by:

Rochelle - who has written 324 posts on Made in Kitchen Blog.

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One Response to “Why So Much Cilantro Hate?”

  1. Ginali Says:

    Yep, I happen to be one of ‘those people’ who hate Cilantro. But I’ll throw you a tasty bone; I can tolerate small amounts, very small amounts when as you include in your article – the cilantro has been broken down or blended. However, I can’t stand anything of the Cilantro powders some ethnic restaurants are using or in fresh raw heaping amounts.

    Appallingly, I’ve seen it added to coleslaw and other types salads… The fact is that Cilantro is overused and it feels intrusive, if not abusive, to be expected to LOVE it just because so-called trendier palates dictate. It overwhelms dishes and ruins the foodies’ experience. Since everything from Mexican to Asian food is now liberally steeped in it, I always say “NO CILANTRO Please” but inevidibly, I’m told sorry, it’s mixed in. If I really want something I’ll have to pick it out. UGH.
    Take a faint soapy bitter taste and mix it with an unwashed armpit and that’s how it tastes to me.

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