Cilantro haters, come out of the closet! You were born this way

by JEFE BOYARDEE on September 12, 2012 in Cultura

Cilantro is a key ingredient in Mexican cooking. The herb flavors Thai and Indian and Middle Eastern food too. But some people just can’t stand it and insist it smells/tastes like soap and looks “green as old vomit.”

You people — it’s OK. You can come out of the comida closet now. You were born this way.

From Nature.com:

A genetic survey of nearly 30,000 people posted to the preprint server arXiv.org this week has identified two genetic variants linked to perception of coriander, the most common of which is in a gene involved in sensing smells. Two unpublished studies also link several other variants in genes involved in taste and smell to the preference.

…Dislike of coriander has long been thought to be a partly inherited trait and not just an artefact of cultural practices and exposure to the herb. Charles Wysocki, a behavioural neuroscientist at the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, says that surveys of hundreds of twins he conducted beginning in the early 2000s at the annual Twins Days festival in Twinsburg, Ohio, suggests that coriander preference is influenced by genes. He found that about 80% of identical twins shared the same preference for the herb. But fraternal twins (who share about half their genome) agreed only about half the time. “Strong evidence suggests there’s a heritable component to the reactions that people have to cilantro, whether you’re a hater or a lover,” he says.

Some people hate cilantro so much they built and populate a website called IHateCilantro.com where they post anti-cilantro haikus:

putrid herb from Hell
the very thought makes me sick
get me the poison
– Rkgarr

I hate cilantro;
It tastes like a slum sewer
And smells like one, too.
– ChaplainDave

Ruiner of pho.
I shall banish thee from Earth.
I will burn thee up.
– Yusopogi

green as old vomit
coriander sativum
tastes of anarchy
– Y2ksurvivor

Cilantro lady by appthing. Botanical illustration (1885) by Prof. Dr. Otto Wilhelm Thomé. Hat-tip to BoingBoing for the estory.

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{ 1 comment }

The Real Tijuana September 17, 2012 at 9:43 AM

Hernán Cortés was known to dislike cilantro. But he evidently tasted it after the plant had bolted, at which point the leaves become very bitter. Always pick your cilantro before it starts to flower.

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