Why You Hate Cilantro

Someday I will share my fajita marinade recipe, which is heavy on the cilantro, but only when I'm sure you're urbane enough to handle it

I absolutely love cilantro, but then again I have a marvelously sophisticated palate and a gustatory open-mindedness that allows me to enjoy most flavors, even those from societies I am not genetically or culturally predisposed to be fond of. Those of who you dislike cilantro and feel perhaps a bit ashamed of that fact are in luck: Science says there may be a hereditary reason for your aversion.

The senses of smell and taste evolved to evoke strong emotions… because they were critical to finding food and mates and avoiding poisons and predators. When we taste a food, the brain searches its memory to find a pattern from past experience that the flavor belongs to. Then it uses that pattern to create a perception of flavor, including an evaluation of its desirability.

If the flavor doesn’t fit a familiar food experience, and instead fits into a pattern that involves chemical cleaning agents and dirt, or crawly insects, then the brain highlights the mismatch and the potential threat to our safety. We react strongly and throw the offending ingredient on the floor where it belongs.

So, really, it’s not that you’re an unrefined hick, it’s more that your genes are lacking in culture. The article suggests several options by which you can allow yourself to appreciate the subtle majesty of cilantro, but it seems like a lot of work and we know you’d be much happier sticking to regular parsley, right? I wouldn’t trouble yourself too much about it, you boorish culinary xenophobe.