*Or, “I Hate Cilantro”
Hold on while I get my soapbox out of the pantry and drag it to the middle of my kitchen. Okay, all set: I hate cilantro. I’m one of those people. You either love it or you hate it; there is no halfway. The divide is so stark that there have been studies done to see if there is a genetic root of the preference. People who hate it very often say it tastes like soap. Or dirt. Or old gym socks. I don’t think cilantro tastes like any of those things. It has a fresh, herby taste. A terrible fresh herby taste that destroys everything it comes into contact with. It is the Rogue X-(wo)Man of the culinary world, killing everything it touches. When I am tucking into a nice Indian dish and taste a hint of cilantro, I actually get a little choked up as I realize my curry has been tainted. The choking is both figurative as I instantly grieve for my prospective meal, and literal as my throat actually tries to reject the cilantro taste.
There is actually a latitudinal swath of the globe where cilantro is present in most dishes. Let us call it “The Cilantro Zone”. It certainly includes Mexico and Central America, North Africa, the Middle East, India, and Southeast Asia. Notice that in these areas you also find some of the most richly nuanced flavors in the world. Curries! Salsas! Stir Fry! Pho! Stews! All of my favorite things! Except for that one little issue of the cilantro! Therefore I have been running through my Trusty Roommate Chad’s Indian cookbooks to find some recipes that I can make myself, omitting the cilantro. Watch this space for them, there have to be a few right? RIGHT?! Excuse me while I push the soapbox back into its corner.