Cilantro can be used as a garnish or for seasoning, but surprisingly, a significant number of people hate the little green sprig. Even the queen of the kitchen, Julia Child, used to despise it!
Cilantro is the tiny tree-looking leafy part of the coriander plant. It’s often used as an ingredient offering zesty flavor in Caribbean, Southwestern and Spanish dishes. It’s even used in dressings, fruit salads and with steak and chicken entrees.
But some people just can’t stand it. They’ll pick it out of their Southwestern-style rice and beans dish or pluck it from their salad.
In fact, Julia Child once told Larry King in a 2002 television interview that cilantro had a dead taste to her. She would even pick it out of a dish and throw it on the floor, she said.
So researchers decided to delve into this phenomenon a bit further.
It turns out that four to 14 percent of all Americans hate cilantro. They say it tastes like soap.
How is this so? Well, it all boils down to genes…
Scientists studied 2,000 twins at the National Twin Day Festival in Twinsburg, Ohio. A whopping 80 percent of identical twins either detested cilantro or they loved it.
So scientists then analyzed 30,000 people’s genomes and identified those who said cilantro made salsa taste like bubble bath.
It turns out that these people all shared one particular gene sensitive to the chemical aldehydes. Others also agreed that cilantro made salsa taste soapy, so scientists declared that there must be other genes factoring into their sense of smell.
Wow, talk about interesting!
Cilantro has its haters, but it also has a fan club. Which side of this debate do you fall onto? Are you a cilantro lover or think it belongs on the floor like Julia Child used to believe?