Look at it Sitting There All Green and Leafy Like it Owns the Place

baby in bath

That’s right, cilantro/coriander leaf tastes like soap to us haters of it. Soap! Who wants to eat soap?!

A few weeks ago, I posted about 21 things I hate or just don’t like very much, which may or may not be irrational. Generally people agreed with my list of dislikes, except for number 8, “Cilantro/coriander leaf” (just to clarify, in the US they call it cilantro, here in the UK, we call it coriander. In the US I believe they do call the seed of the plant coriander, but we call the whole plant, seed and leaf, coriander. Got it? Anyway, it’s the green leaf I hate).

These were the cilantro-based comments:

“Do you really hate cilantro (coriander leaf) so much? I absolutely love it…there’s no accounting for taste!”

“I must enter my strong objections to #8. Cilantro is a fine herb”

“These are terrific, except the cilantro one. I’m sorry. It’s an essential component in my husband’s very delicious salsa”

“I do, however, enjoy cilantro!”

“The only thing I can’t agree with on this list is coriander / cilantro! Really? That’s one of those herbs I can’t seem to grow, but can’t live without either”

“Except for coriander leaves. I have no strong opinions on coriander, though, oddly enough, my sister also hates it”

“WOW!!! Every single one, we have in common! Except for the cilantro.”

“Agree with every one, except I love cilantro. (And that’s a very rare thing, when I’m the one defending a green, leafy food.)”

“I love cilantro, but everything else – yes!”

I even received a rare comment via email from a friend (he will verify the rarity) –

“It is rare that I feel that I must respond to your blog but  …….How can you not like coriander?  I shall never read your blog again (sob …)”

(See how he verified the rarity).

That's right! Cut it up! Chop it into tiny little pieces! Destroy it! Oh...I see, it's for your dip. I feel silly now.

That’s right! Cut it up! Chop it into tiny little pieces! Destroy it! Oh…I see, it’s for your dip. I feel silly now.

And then when I was waffling with Mike, cilantro came up again, and we had these comments:

“But we really must talk about your hate of cilantro.”

“I, OTOH, would love to eat cilantro every day.”

“Vanessa, you don’t like cilantro? You have wounded me to the core”

I’ve noticed this before with cilantro (I’m going to stick with calling it cilantro on this post, seeing as the majority of my followers are from the states), it always brings out quite extreme reactions in people, it’s definitely a love it or hate it thing. There is no indifference to cilantro. Well, except for that one comment I posted up there from someone who said they had no strong feelings about it. Except for that one. Hmmm, time for a poll I think, please vote:

I do happen to know at least two other bloggers who also speak of a strong aversion to this green leafy pest. I won’t name them though *cough* Carrie Rubin and She Drives a Vegetable Car *cough cough*  and if you do an online search for “I hate cilantro” or similar, you will find a wealth of haters. A wealth I tell you! We are not alone.

So what is this witchery contained within these seemingly innocent green leaves to bring out such reactions in people? Hatred amongst some, disdain for those who hate it amongst others. Is there an alien connection maybe? Or are the Government involved in some kind of conspiracy here? Or…or…oh wait, no, Jilanne Hoffman reminded me that there is  apparently a genetic reason for this hatred. It’s true, read all about it here.

It's all to do with our jeans apparently. Who knew!

It’s all to do with our jeans apparently. Who knew!

According to…people who know about these things, it’s possible to build up a tolerance to it by regularly eating it, I’m considering doing this because honestly, it seems to be making its way into more and more dishes (Hmm, I might have to revisit the alien and government conspiracy ideas again, because really, it’s EVERYWHERE). So should I see if I can get to tolerate, maybe even like, it? What do you think?

Do you have any interesting cilantro stories to share? Or actually I’ll take anything herb-related. Or food-dislike related. Or let me know if we ARE related.

Photo credits:
Soap eating fido – photo credit: Smabs Sputzer via photopin cc
Cut up cilantro – photo credit: PetroleumJelliffe via photopin cc
Jeans – photo credit: snaps via photopin cc


85 responses to “Look at it Sitting There All Green and Leafy Like it Owns the Place

  1. I think we’re related…


  2. Let me take a trip to Colorado and I’m sure I can come up with an interesting herb-related story.


  3. In your survey, you forgot to include “What is it?”

    There’s a groundswell of backlash developing for cilantro. Long time coming, in my mind. I had to build up a tolerance for beer. That’s the last time I put myself through something like that.


  4. I love cilantro but had a roommate when I was younger who cooked with coriander – the seed, (large amounts of it) every day. Now, I love coriander and used it as a season myself but when I smelled it every day and it began to permeate the walls and the very air I breathe, I started to get physically ill over it. It got to be so bad that I had to move out. Other than the smell of coriander in cooking, he was a perfect roommie! 😦 It has been many years since that event and I can now enjoy coriander in cooking again…on an occasional basis…and in normal measurements! 🙂


    • Ha! I’m quite happy with coriander seed, I like the occasional curry and it’s good on there. I guess anything in excess can put you right off though! It’s the leaf that does me in every time. I can detect even the tiniest piece in a dish, I’m genuinely interested to know though if the tolerance can be built up, if I do that, I will report back at some point (that’s something to look forward to right? Right?!)


  5. I heart the cilantro. I eat it with everything….I may also just chew on it once in a while for the taste and breath freshening properties. (ok breath freshening properties I may have made up–but I stick by it.)
    HOWEVER—my body hates its guts. No matter what I eat in on or with, I can guarantee, that is going to be a heartburn night. Luckily I am all smart and I take my cilantro with a prilosec on the side. But god forbid I forget…….


  6. Hahaha, that’s so funny V-J. Love coriander, as we call it here in Aus, nothing like a great handful tossed into a curry before serving. yum ~smacks lips in anticipation~


  7. My phone app won’t let me take the poll, but you already know how I feel about that soapy plant (thanks for the mention!). Waiters give me strange looks when I order my taco or Southwestern salads without it, as if I’m a looney tunes. Well, perhaps I am, but I’ll hold my ground: no cilantro for Carrie!


  8. I have too many views about too many things to take a strident opinion on the matter, I’m afraid. That said, I don’t eat cilantro and would not be able to identify it in a police lineup. I guess that steers me a bit closer to the anti cilantro camp, yes?

    And I do have a certain vitriol for Brussels sprouts. Does that help?


    • I think it puts you in the indifferent camp! And funnily enough, brussels sprouts are also something that can be strongly disliked for genetic reasons (google it!), something about the bitterness in them that can be tasted by some people but not others. So it kind of does help!


  9. I’ve never eaten cilantro often enough to build up an opinion, but I did buy a bunch once and put some in a salad and I was not impressed. I never bought it again. So I support you! I do like Brussels sprouts and all the related vegetables of the cabbage family, however.


    • Ok, so you’re almost a hater of it but not quite! I too like brussels sprouts and all the related vegetables too! I haven’t forgotten about coming over to check out your latest blog post, I need to see if I can get your posts to show up in my Reader, I do all my blog accessing through my Reader.


  10. Have you read about “super tasters?” People who have a greater than average taste bud count find bitter greens more bitter. It’s also an awesome test for persnickety kids that don’t want to eat anything: they might not be picky little jerkface eaters, but carry a more sensitive palate than these wacky cilantro enthusiasts. I don’t understand why so many swoon for cilantro, when for quite a few of us, it tastes like candles.


    • I haven’t heard of super tasters, no! For me it is just cilantro I have the problem with though. I’ve always thought that children have more sensitive palates though, I assumed our palates wear out like everything else as we get older! Candles, I hadn’t thought of it as tasting like candles, I’m not sure I know what candles taste like, I need to rectify that…


  11. If it weren’t in salsa, I would have no idea what it is. I’ve never tried eating it on its own. Maybe I actually do dislike it but don’t know b/c it’s always masked by all those other flavors? I’m not sure I’m brave enough to try it entirely on its own.


  12. And I hate it.
    Flames on the side of my face.
    Hate it.

    Rock on cilantro hating sistah friend!


  13. Hee hee – this was a great post, Vanessa. 🙂

    I actually have two stories about coriander/cilantro. One is that there’s a DC comic book character – the Teen Titan Starfire – whose real name is Koriand’r. I don’t know if Marv Wolfman (her creator) thought us readers were just too stupid to figure out she’s named after an herb just because that herb isn’t widely used here in the US, or if he really thought he was being clever. Her sister’s name is Komand’r (like Commander, because she became the leader of the planetary army..ugh). I guess it could have been worse: they could have been Koriand’r and Kyoomin or something. Then, they would have been the Spice Girls! 😀

    The second story is a more personal one. Would you mind if I write it up in some fiction and link back to your post here? I owe you for the inspiration, after all!


    • The Spice Girl ending to your first story there made me laugh! I felt like the inspiration for that punchline didn’t come to you till the end, and you were very pleased with yourself and so put that BIG smiley! 🙂

      And yes of course, I would be delighted if you were to write up the other story in some fiction and link back here! I’m intrigued and can’t wait to read it!


  14. I came to coriander relatively late in life. And have been making up for that ever since. Can’t get enough of the stuff. Plus, it has to be good for you. Like everything green, except maybe green jelly.

    Hey, those polls were fun! I hope they encourage you to give coriander another go. Try it in guacamole, maybe, with a margarita or two to help it all on its way.


    • There’s a definite love/hate thing with the coriander isn’t there! More than with other herbs I would say. I’ve previously hated it in guacamole too, I’m thinking if I try the experiment I might just eat one leaf a day on its own to get the full effect, and then I’ll be able to easily see if the bad effect weakens over time (hopefully not too much time!), good plan with the margaritas though, that’ll help wash it down!


  15. Maybe my genes are too Libra-like to come down on one side of the debate or the other. 😉 I can handle it in dishes, but I’d never go out of my way to add it to one. Being an archaeologist and genealogist, I wonder why there is this difference. Is it like lactose intolerance, which is found in cultures that were NOT cattle herders? Do people from areas where coriander/cilantro is native tolerate it better?

    I voted for “don’t bother.” Life’s too short to spend time trying to develop a “like” for something we don’t really need! 😀


    • Libra-like genes? Is that a thing?! 😉 I have no idea about whether there is a native toleration link, interesting!

      My reason for wanting to build up tolerance is that every so often I end up in a situation where I have been given some food that has it in it, and so I’m faced with either not eating the food at all, or trying to pick the bits out, and it’s kind of rude to do that in front of others! I’m not a picky eater, and most things I could eat to be polite even if I didn’t like them, but with this I just can’t! Also, I’m genuinely interested in finding out whether the tolerance building works.


  16. We use cilantro in just about everything ( never heard it call coriander…now I know what those cook books are talking about…)
    I know Carrie’s feeling on this subject!
    But why bother eating it if you don’t like it? One of the pleasures of being a big person – nobody can make you stay at the table and clean your plate…although if you put it on food, would that be an easy way to lose weight? Now there’s a thought. You could be the new diet guru! (talk shows. Free travel – cool!)


    • The reason for bothering really is partly to avoid those situations I do find myself in now and again where I am given some food that happens to contain it, and I simply can’t eat it. If I was a fussy eater in general then it might not bother me, but because it’s only this, it does, but mostly I think I am just curious about whether the tolerance building works – can I fight genetics? We’ll see…Ha! And are you suggesting I need to lose weight?! 😉


  17. I can take it or leave it, I guess. I do have a wonderful salsa recipe that calls for cilantro, and I feel like it’s that ingredient that makes the salsa so…salsy!! But, I don’t use it in most of my recipes so I don’t feel a kinship with it like some of these diehards. I think I only use it in Mexican dishes, which I don’t make that often, cuz, well, I’m a Yankee and I just don’t do Mexican the way it ought to be done.


    • You’re pretty much in the indifferent camp then. I do really like salsa as long as it is minus the cilantro! Mexican, Thai and Indian restaurants are the three places where I have to make absolutely sure they understand my dislike for it. I’m more likely to get caught out in other places though where I wasn’t expecting it and so didn’t mention it!


  18. Loving the polls … more polls …


  19. Cilantro is totally wasted on me. I don’t like it. I’ll never try to like it. And when it’s listed in a recipe I ignore it. It’s just gross.


  20. I can take cilantro in small doses, well-spaced, about once a year. Ha ha.


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  22. Okay well in the US we do call the seeds coriander, and I do not care for those. I DO like the leaves, cilantro. I also hate licorice. Am I going to be alright?


  23. I love that the wee Cilantro plant has such power. 🙂 Perhaps it is its distinctive taste, it stands out in the crowd, makes itself visible to the taste buds that sets it apart.


  24. Cilantro has an interesting taste. To me, can it be too dominant, so the balance is most important. Meanwhile, I can’t stand the taste of another “c” … caraway!

    The negatives you received reminded me about President Bush (41, the dad). During his terms, he stated he didn’t like broccoli … and many went nuts …. so much of an uproar that he responded by explaining he didn’t have anything against broccoli or people who like broccoli, but he simply didn’t like to eat it … end of story! … and that is you with cilantro.


    • Yes I find it too dominant too, even if it’s a tiny piece – I wouldn’t mind a dominant taste if it was a good one though! It’s funny how people can have such strong views over food likes and dislikes! I belive the Queen never publicly states what foods she likes or dislikes for fear of either offending people, or in the case of stating a preference, being served it for ever more wherever she goes!


  25. Maybe I’ll have to get some cilantro??? I’m not sure I’ve ever had it. There are too many green things in the world. They all look alike


  26. Still laughing my ass off over this one & planning on sharing it with Inion when I’m thru…yes! It’s that damn good! Now it’s time for Mathair to go on a rant….so here we go! For freaking real people??? Leave the lady alone! I mean there are so many fu**ing herbs, food and other shite out there to bit** about that you really have to bother this beautiful woman for not liking Cilantro? I tell ya Vanessa….We’re a Cilantro Eating clan in this house, but after reading your post, I’ve decided to ban that shit for at least a year to show solidarity to you my dear, and any other poor blogger who get’s bullied into eating an herb that they just don’t like! So here’s what I’m going to recommend.
    Let’s start a Cilantro Hate Group and meet once a month at an online forum where we can sit around and bash the herb Cilantro. It’ll be great, we’ll Skype and show eachother live forced eating’s where we try to overcome the disgust, but end up vomiting from the herb! We’ll start the group like this: “Hi……my name is Mathair of Inion N. Mathair….and I’m a Cilantroholic! I used to eat Cilantro, until one day when I realized it was destroying my life. And nothing but a wannabe Parsley!!”
    Not quite as sexy as Rosemary and always trying to compete with basil, it really is a pathetic herb! We’ll share phone numbers for emergency mission calls where members have fallen off the herb-wagon and are eating pasta with Cilantro and need to be talked down from the herb ingestion! So…whatcha say, Vanessa? Are you in? Can’t wait to hear from you so we can get started right away. Now if you’ll excuse me, my family and I are having a show of herb power by burning a Cilantro field!!! lmfao~ Great freaking post girl as always! 😉


    • Haha, I love this Mathair – you like cilantro but you’re going to show solidarity you’re going to ban it from your house and start a cilantro hate group! This is fantastic. I can’t even write a comment now worthy of your big campaign here but just know that I am laughing with delight! (And can I have photos of the cilantro field burning?).


  27. I can’t stand cilantro. I even have that listed on my twitter profile. Ha! It’s awful and I don’t get it. But I will say, the more I’ve come into contact with it, the more I can tolerate in very small, VERY SMALL, doses but never will I enjoy it. 🙂 Thanks for this!


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