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December 21, 2016

That Awful, Awful Herb


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Sage Advice

[Open Thread until ace shows up]

Many years ago, my parents took the family out to a Mexican restaurant, and it was a miserable experience. I love Mexican food, but I thought that the restaurant forgot to rinse off the plates after washing them, because the whole meal tasted like soap. I figured it was probably the residue of soap left on the plates that caused my poor dining experience.

Later on, of course, I found out that the item I ordered had been loaded with fresh cilantro. That was the way it was normally prepared.

But I thought, do people actually eat this stuff? Why would you eat something that tastes like soap? I just couldn't understand it.

The answer, of course, is because SCIENCE!

There’s a scientific reason for all that loathing: 10% of the population was born with a genetic defect variant. Researchers looked at the genetics of about 14,000 people and found a DNA variation believed to be the root cause of the soapy smell and taste some people associate with cilantro.

In other words, my genes are messed up. Figures. And I marvel at the incredibly detailed science behind it:

The science of smell is fascinatingly complex and not entirely understood, but the current hypothesis is that having a C instead of an A in a specific location close to the OR6A2 gene, slightly alters the shape of the receptor molecule encoded by that gene, and allows cilantro molecules to activate receptors that in the rest of the population are only activated by soap/bleach/death molecules.

My kids hate me. As it happens, Mrs. Muse and I are both in the 10%, so she never used fresh cilantro in any of the food she served. And when my kids got out on their own and started sampling other cuisine, they were all, like, "what makes this Thai dish taste so wonderful?" And then "well, why didn't I find out about this before?"

So I have a question for you 'rons and 'ettes:

1. Do you think cilantro taste like soap?

2. If you don't think cilantro tastes like soap, how would you describe the taste to those of us for whom it tastes like soap?


Meanwhile, those of us who are genetically predisposed to dislike cilantro can sit back and enjoy some anti-cilantro haiku, courtesy of probably should be a finalist in the "They Have A Site For Everything" awards, http://www.ihatecilantro.com:


A perfect taco
Soiled by your presence
I wish death on thee

Spring roll in my mouth
Evokes such unbridled hate
Into my napkin

Soapy cilantro
The herbal potty-mouthwash
Invites me to curse

Horrifying herb.
Any recipe it's in.
It's all I can taste.

Vainly had she searched
For her people, those who knew
The taste of green soap

Insidious leaf
I detect you in smallest
Of small quantities

Sink full of dishes
wrapped into my tortilla
please hold the bubbles

Cilantro garnish:
Like sprinkling soap flakes onto
a once-lovely dish.

The next time I hear,
"But you'll like it in this dish!"
I will shank a bitch.

"No cilantro, please"
Yet I know when it arrives
It will be present

I hereby declare this to be an Open Thread

digg this
posted by OregonMuse at 12:30 PM

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