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Sunday, May 30, 2010


Why is it that every time I go to purchase cilantro, it seems to be labeled coriander?  This has bothered me for some time.  Why do I even call it cilantro if it is so ubiquitously labeled otherwise?  Ah, the questions of life.


As I usually do when I have such a profound conundrum, I googled it.  And what I found surprised me.  Well, the answer to my initial question didn't surprise me - that was actually what I had suspected all along.  The whole plant itself is called coriander, the leaves of the plant are cilantro, and the seeds of the plant are called coriander as well (coriander seed to be correct).  It's both a herb and a spice.  Loves it.

[found here]

So now onto the surprise.  Apparently there are only two kinds of people in this world:  those who like cilantro and those who detest it to the very core of its herb-and-spice being.  This dichotomy is big news - it has made it to the NY Times, NPR and the Wall Street Journal.

Now the detesters don't seem to be merely 'picky eaters'.  The detesters apparently count among themselves such culinary icons as Julia Child (evidence here, about 2/3 of the way down) and maybe-not-so-iconic-but-reality-TV-famous-chef Fabio Viviani (evidence here).

Word on the street is that some people just cannot taste the fabulousness that is cilantro - instead they taste soap!  Urggh.  Or some other unpleasant flavour.  Might have something to do with those people's ancestry, genetics, tastebuds or sniffer.  I'm not citing any research here - this is just a synopsis of what I've read on the web.  My heart aches for you, cilantro-haters.  At least you don't know what you're missing. 

I am 100% on the LOVE side of the fence.  The more, the better.  If you put cilantro in an omelette, I might just eat it.  See a few of my favorite cilantro-containing recipes here and here and here

Other interesting pages I found on my surf:

Cilantro Martini!!  Definitely going to try this. - a whole online community of detesters!
Cilantro Pesto recipes galore - this one looks delicious
Handy tips on how to freeze your leftover cilantro

Now, quick unscientific poll:  tell me in the comments which side of the fence you sit on. 



Hogie said...Best Blogger Tips

Big fan.

Once upon a time, the fanciest meal I could make was brown rice, egg, chicken, tomatoes and cilantro and I made it for a girl I was trying to impress. Must have been good because she kept dating me.

Laura said...Best Blogger Tips

You had me at 'cilantro'.

Tidyowl said...Best Blogger Tips

I thought Mike was out at "c". I love cilantro and just had some delicious fresh salsa yesterday and it was the best part.

Steph C. said...Best Blogger Tips

I am also 100% in love with cilantro. However, I know someone who doesn't like it at all and is the least pickiest eater I know! Therefore, your summary seems to be very accurate. I will ask her if it tastes like soap.

Margie said...Best Blogger Tips

I like cilantro in Salsa, but fresh cilantro not the paste kind.!

Michelle O'B said...Best Blogger Tips

I also love love love cilantro. My little cilantro plant is growing like mad in my garden.. Thank you beautiful, sweet sun!

nat said...Best Blogger Tips

I am just reading this now, so funny that you posted it! I read the NY times article recently and also just googled and found out the cilantro vs. coriander thing - I had figured it was an American/British difference but now I join the informed!

I am also a cilantro LOVER, my mom is a hater but I understand it better now. ;) We are growing cilantro from our balcony now... so fresh!

Anonymous said...Best Blogger Tips

I actually cannot eat an omelette without cilantro (coriander leaves). try it, it tastes amazing!!!

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