Cilantro and Five Other Foods That Divide Us

Categories: Complaint Desk

DillPlant.jpg
Lauren Drewes Daniels
Dear Dill, you're pretty and all with your yellow flowers, but you still suck.
This weekend I was walking past a friend's garden and noticed a beautiful row of dill plants. Atop each long, thin stem was a flurry of yellow trumpet flowers, and I thought, "I always say I hate dill, but really I'm probably being too harsh. How can something so beautiful be so bad?"

So I pinched off a few sprigs and, with an open mind, inhaled the scent. Then promptly threw it on the ground and walked away thinking, "How can anyone like that?"

Then another neighbor walked over to pick cucumbers from the garden. I told her how much I hate dill. She said she loves it and puts it in everything, including the cucumber salad she was about to make. I told her I was more of a cilantro girl. She told me her husband hates cilantro, which is why she uses dill so often.

I love fresh, fragrant cilantro. It's a staple. I'll eat it straight off the stem. But I realize that cilantro is one of the most polarizing foods out there. You're either on the team or you're not.

In a New York Times article in 2010, Harold McGee studied cilantro haters. Turns out he found their complaint may be legit because cilantro has some similar properties as soap, called aldehydes, and they can trigger more of a reaction (or repulsion) in some people's brain paths than others.

There are a few other foods that arouse palate-aversion in people.

1. Coconut
I've met people who get borderline violent at the sight of coconut-anything, either based the texture of the dry flakes atop a pie or the flavor.

2. Tofu
A big texture-food that conjures up a lot of ill will is tofu. Grilled tofu appeared in a "seafood" dish at a Chinese restaurant recently and I honestly had an urge to throw it across the room. I've never caught any of those new tofu fish off the pier. Biting into that unexpectedly soggy texture was gross. OK, maybe I'd had a few drinks and wasn't inspecting things well, but still that was mean.

3. Sour cream
Sour cream is another texture-based foe. Sometimes it's solid, sometimes more of a liquid. You're either at peace with it, or you tell waiters, "Please, don't even put the sour cream on my plate." (Look, there. They put the damn sour cream on my plate.) The same texture issue doubles for cottage cheese. It's hard to tell your mouth what to expect.

4. Mayo
Then there's mayo. Most jars I buy play out a lonely existence hidden on a lower shelf and expire after I've used only a few tablespoons to make tartar sauce. With all that said though, I love tartar sauce.

5. White Chocolate
Last but not least, white chocolate. If cocoa isn't involved, I don't see the upside. No matter the taste of the confection, by name, it's a lie. Perhaps if white chocolate renamed itself, like how North Dakota wanted to change its name to just "Dakota," it would have a better rap. Otherwise, it's just a scam.


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14 comments
Texascheibel
Texascheibel

I love cilantro, but I read somewhere that cilantro smells like bed bugs. Thankfully I've never smelled bed bugs. But, it did give me a little issue with cilantro for a few months after I read that. 

Muchopoblano
Muchopoblano

I like all of those! I'm one of those freaks who loves mayo on my fries too. Chili peppers and the amout that goes in can cause wars. Don't forget the Coke or Pepsi thing. I am a Coke girl ....yuk Pepsi!

Justin Julian
Justin Julian

I'm an avid cilantro hater.  I call it devil weed.  It was intensified while living in California.  Those bastards put it on EVERYTHING.  And it's something they never tell you, like you're supposed to assume it'll be in every damn dish out there.  Even got it on a burger once, unannounced.   Sour cream is all in how it's handled.  Serve me a Mexican dish with a big glop of it inside or out, and I'm going postal.  It's just terrible cooking to put a big glop of -anything- inside or outside a dish.  Eating a perfectly balanced and spiced burrito and WHAM: wall of sour cream. Well, there goes the texture, flavor, and spice, now I just taste sour cream.  That said, I'll do serious damage to sour cream chicken enchiladas when the sour cream is used IN the sauce. My coconut hatred is all about the texture.  Pencil shavings.  Flavor is fine, the texture is just atrocious. Overall, I hate any ingredient that dominates a dish where it isn't the intended primary flavor.  Green onions are a huge offender here.  Sprinkle fresh green onions on the wrong dish, and all you're gonna taste are those onions.  Same for onions on many other dishes.  That's my primary beef with cilantro: unless you're a wizard of a chef, all you get by adding cilantro is several bites of any dish that just taste like cilantro.  There's no grace in it, just BAM minty death weed.  You can tell a well-made salsa when there's cilantro, but you never taste it over the top of the rest of the ingredients.   Most importantly, I have -never- tasted a dish that was worse for lack of cilantro, onions, sour cream, coconut, etc.  It seems like the most obnoxious and intrusive of ingredients only add to a dish for those who already enjoy those ingredients.  (Obvious exclusions being cases where that's the point, such as coconut cream pie or the aforementioned sour cream enchilada sauce.)

Sthornton
Sthornton

I'm surprised goat cheese is nowhere on anyone's list. My husband has the same aversion to goat cheese as cilantro. To him it's less soap-y, more "too metallic-y." I love both. 

Liz G.
Liz G.

I love the flavor of coconut, but the texture to me is like chewing on someone else's fingernails. Ick.

just sayin'
just sayin'

Yeah, fuck menudo. I dated a mexican girl that sold me on menudo since it is supposed to be the mexican hangover remedy. She didnt mention that shit is loaded with hominy. Hominy is fucking disgusting. Ive never tried it, but I have to think that if I ever ate ear wax it would taste exactly like hominy.

fgsfds
fgsfds

A certain percentage of people have a genetic variant that makes cilantro displeasing to them because of the soapy taste that one poster mentioned- Thankfully I'm lucky to not have that problem.  Another genetic variant causes people who eat beets to have bright pink/reddish urine afterwards too. 

Mervis
Mervis

Yes, looks like the toilet after a good night of drinking.

Josh's broken records
Josh's broken records

Melikey the hominy...Mrs. Josh's makes a bad ass dish with corn and hominy and cheese and sour cream..mmmm

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