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Cilantro - Love it or Hate it?

I'm curious about the upsurge of using cilatro as an ingredient or garnish. Over the past 10 -12 years, it's become the new parsley, with all the celebrity chefs as well as "everyday" restaurant chefs using it in abundance; although, some of them are beginning to acknowledge that there are those who don't actually worship it as do others.

Personally, I cannot abide it - the taste or even moreso, the aroma. Am I that much in the minority?

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  1. I HATE it!! Have tried it over and over, both at home, in restaurants, and in Mexico, Spain,and Morocco. Just can not abide it. Don't get its popularity.

    1. I hate it. I think we are missing an enzyme so it tastes gross. I've heard that at least, might not be true.

      1. You are not in the minority at all. There is even a site I think it's call Ihatecilantro.com or something like that.
        I cannot get cilantro in my little hick town and a lot of recipes called for it. I didn't even know what it was.
        My darling daughter sent me up some seeds and I grew my own.
        After they got big enough, I tasted a leaf. OMG Sunlight dishwashing soap. It took hours and hours and a mickey of rye to get the awful taste out of my mouth.
        I committed herbacide on that devil's weed.

        Edit. Just checked on that site http://www.ihatecilantro.com/

        1. I love it. But I know that many people can't abide it. Too bad. Lots of Asian and Latin American dishes would taste quite inauthentic without it.

          1. Have replaced every parsley recipe with cilantro, love it. When plating soups and pastas that have cilantro, use uncooked as base and the cooked on top, cannot get enough.

            1. Yes, you are in the minority. A small percent of the population perceives a soapy taste with cilantro but they tend to be vocal but obviously it is much less then 25% so you are in the minority.

              18 Replies
              1. re: KTinNYC

                "Obviously". 25% is the rough estimation I've seen for years - while it's a minority, of course....

                And the best replacement for cilantro is celery leaves.

                1. re: Karl S

                  Ah, I like the celery leaf idea. Although I rarely have celery :)

                  1. re: c oliver

                    I'm not wild about celery leaves- wed taste and texture. Love celery, though

                  2. re: Karl S

                    I've never been able to find a credible source for the percentage of people who have this aversion to cilantro so I just made up the number. I'm pretty certain it's lower than 25%. If you can cite something solid I'd love to see it.

                    1. re: KTinNYC

                      So, you don't know it's smaller than 25% - obviously, either. I read this estimate back in the pre-Internet days in cooking literature, but I have no citations to offer.

                      1. re: Karl S

                        I don't. My number is completely anecdotal.

                        1. re: KTinNYC

                          So it's not obviously lower than 25%

                          1. re: Karl S

                            You honestly believe more than one in four has this aversion?

                            1. re: KTinNYC

                              1 in five or 1 in four easily - it's hardly an uncommon aversion.

                              1. re: Karl S

                                As others have also pointed out, it's cultural and therefore locational. Maybe in the US (or even Europe) the dislike of cilantro is 1 in 4 or 5.

                                In Mexico, Latin / South America, and Asia, it might be one in I-don't-know-how-many-thousand.

                                And all you people who don't like cilantro, no doubt you inhale blissfully on stinky cheese?

                                1. re: Rasam

                                  Stinky cheese is different from cilantro - different palate enzyme issue. It's not the issue of smell.

                                  1. re: Karl S

                                    The palate enzyme may be different, but how can you say it's not the issue of smell?
                                    The stuff reeks, and I sense that through my nose as well as via my mouth.

                                    Unless you are saying cilantro is not sensed through the nose, which a lot of people here seem to be experiencing.

                                    1. re: Rasam

                                      Well, smell and taste are related, but the primary issue of cilantro for many that I know is what it does on the tongue and palate - mere smell alone is not the primary problem, though smell can remind people viscerally of what they experience in their mouth.

                                      1. re: Rasam

                                        {for some reason, a reply of mine to another comment appeared here in error.)

                                  2. re: Karl S

                                    No way the number is that high. No chef or restaurant owner would serve food that 25% of their customers couldn't eat. This is common sense. In fact, a server at a Mexican or Asian restaurant could probably give us a better idea of how many people request their food without it, or send their food back because it tastes like soap. Anyone?

                                    1. re: dvsndvs

                                      I don't think the server would have a very accurate estimate either. The people who have this aversion may just ignore the cuisines they know contain cilantro or they have ordering strategies for dishes they know do not contain cilantro.

                                      1. re: dvsndvs

                                        Yes, but that's not a statistic that's reliable. You would need to look at the general population. People who go to those restaurants like the food; that's why they go.

                                        It's also worth noting that in many restaurants serving dishes in which cilantro is a part, the cilantro is often more of a garnish or late-cooking-stage add-in, chopped up and thrown on top just before the dish comes out of the kitchen. It is usually not a problem to ask the server to "hold the cilantro", as I have had to do for my husband--actually, that's usually "please put the cilantro on the side", as I do enjoy it.

                                        In Toronto, where I live, there are many restaurants where more than 25% of Torontonians wouldn't eat. Not just because of ingredients, but price (too high or too low), and other factors. However, restaurants continue to do well, since they can't accommodate anywhere near this percent of the population. What percentage of people do you think are attracted to vegetarian restaurants? Yet, Toronto has quite a few, and they can do very well.

                                        That said, this writer says that food scientists put the number at 15%. Don't know where she got that information.


                                        A possible genetic link to the unpleasantness?

                                        "The investigators found that identical twins almost always had the same degree of pleasant/unpleasant perception of cilantro. However, there was very little agreement among fraternal twins. Wysocki says since identical twins share the same genes and fraternal twins share about 50 percent of their genes, the findings strongly suggest a genetic link to how a person perceives the smell of cilantro. Next, the researchers would like to obtain DNA samples from the twins to look for specific genes that may be responsible for like or dislike of cilantro."

                        2. re: KTinNYC

                          To me, cilantro is marginally soapy, though it doesn't bother me enough to make me not want to eat it; in fact, I like cilantro where appropriate. My husband, on the other hand, perceives a strong metallic taste with cilantro, and I can't even sneak it, finely chopped, into dishes. It is frustrating having a spouse who cannot abide an ingredient that is so common, and adds so much distinctive flavour to healthy recipes I want to make!!!!

                        3. i do know some of the people to whom it tastes funny but i feel bad for them. :) it is my FAVORITE. that and ginger. i mean i could probably just eat a handful of it. and i love the smell. ina garten (whose one of my favorites because her recipes actually turn out great for me) hates it though. and says so unabashedly. so her recipes never have it.

                          4 Replies
                          1. re: AMFM

                            I have heard that there are 'cilantro cultures' vs 'parsley cultures'; i.c. cuisines that rely on one vs. the other. There are a few foodways (not too many) that use both.

                            I know that in non-cilantro cultures there are a small percentage of people who find the taste objectionable because of their genetics; and yes, they are a vocal minority.
                            I've never come across their counterparts in cilantro cultures (e.g. know any Thai, Mexican, or Indian people who hate cilantro?).

                            Count me in as one who loves the fresh herbal taste and aroma of cilantro. I like to mince together cilantro, basil, and mint and sprinkle on lots of items. I love to float sprigs of cilantro on soup and breathe in the released fragrance.

                            It took me a while to appreciate parsley (too bland), until I had good tabbouleh. I like basil better than parsley; also chiffonaded and sprinkled on hot soup. But I don't have and never had any active dislike of parsley.

                            1. re: AMFM

                              Also Julia Child did not like Cilantro.

                              1. re: billieboy

                                Her loss. :)

                                And cilantro is not a hallmark of French cuisine, so she could get away disliking it.

                                But you couldn't do without it in Indian, Thai, Mexican, and many other cuisines. French cuisine is not the be-all and end-all of great food.

                            2. I love it...but I love parsley too. I have not switched out cilantro for parsley in all of my recipes, either. Parsley <I believe> packs a better nutritional punch than cilantro which is important to me and I use it almost like a lettuce now in my salads, love it dipped in hummus. Cilantro is more of garnish for certain dishes, but I use it abundantly in those dishes because I do love the flavor.

                              10 Replies
                              1. re: Val

                                I love cilantro and parsley also. Wouldn't even consider switching them out as the flavors are totally different. Totally. If I didn't have one in the house, I wouldn't use the other.

                                1. re: c oliver

                                  Hate it.......No matter what you have to eat, if it has cilatro on it, that is all I can taste..Much too strong. The first time I tried it was a genuine Mexican taco. They put cilantro on it and that is all I could taste. I gave it a fair shake and tried it again, and again,. Same results. Too overpowering of an herb.

                                  1. re: c oliver

                                    Cilantro is a distinct taste by far CO. I hate to say one sub one for another but when calling for cilantro in most cases you should use cilantro but for less flavor you could get away with parsley. But if it calls for parsley, DON"T use cilantro.
                                    Just my opinion.

                                    I keep dried parsley as a back up. Usually my dried fresh parsley, so I feel a little better about it.

                                    HONESTLY, I couldn't live without either. I LOVE cilantro and use it all the time. I grow all fresh herbs in my garden.

                                    1. re: c oliver

                                      I love cilantro too!
                                      Except for the time, I mistakingly bought it rather than flat leaf parsley ... (Hey I must've had a cold ?)
                                      I got quite the shock when I took a hearty bite of my prepared dish!
                                      Ughh - it wasn't good!
                                      It was quite a shocking taste when you are expecting the delicate taste of parsley!

                                    2. re: Val

                                      Started by hating the taste years ago. Soapy, you bet. Now I love it. Couldn't live without it. Mexican, Thai, as part of a paste for meat, a garnish/flavour enhancer for salads... all sorts of uses in the kitchen. House just wouldn't be a home without it. Swap it for parsley? I don't think so.

                                      1. re: Googs

                                        it's interesting. i DON'T like parsley much. i like it in cooked dishes (love ina's spaghetti and meatballs - from rao's - for one) but not that much in raw applications. i love a lot of middle eastern cuisine but i don't really love any tabbouleh. even those others think are good. to me - IT is too strong. way stronger than cilantro. interesting how everyone's taste buds are a bit different.

                                        1. re: AMFM

                                          AMFM- I'm with you, CANNOT stand parsley (especially the curly version), it tastes like dirty grass to me. And when I was young I didn't like cilantro. Now I enjoy cilantro but still can't abide parsley. Weird.

                                        2. re: Googs

                                          Googs, same with me. I thought it was nasty the first few times and now I can't get enough! Too bad my husband HATES it.

                                          1. re: invinotheresverde

                                            You and I are in the same boat with our husbands!!! ARGH

                                            1. re: Full tummy

                                              My DH hates oregano. But he will eat pizza or pasta when we eat out. I tell him they put it in their sauces all the time. If I try to sneak it into my sauce at home, he can tell it and doesn't like it. Go figure.

                                      2. Is there anyone else out there that once hated it but grew accustomed to it and now enjoys it? That's my story. First ate it in food a Thai nurse brought into the hospital where I worked, and had to be polite but was miserable. Same thing when a friend cooked a huge batch of oysters an hour out of the water and grabbed cilantro instead of Italian parsley to go with them. But that was years ago, and just like coconut, I have come to love it.

                                        11 Replies
                                        1. re: lemons

                                          I don't mean to sidetrack, but I was this way with celery. Hated it first few times: strong and unfamiliar taste. Then over time I have grown to like it a lot.
                                          Olives too, disliked them the first few times; now am totally addicted to them.

                                          1. re: Rasam

                                            Must try that. I will try to get used to the flavour by munching on a bar of ivory soap every day :-)

                                            1. re: billieboy

                                              bb, I'm right there with you on this one. The mere smell reminds me of something akin to a soured dish cloth. There is no way I could ever get past that - and the foul oder (to my olfactory senses) does preclude any chance of good flavor. :/

                                              1. re: CocoaNut

                                                I hated it as a kid and would try to pick it out of salsa. Sometime in college I started to find it less objectionable but preferred it wasn't in my food. I like it now. I didn't try to overcome it, btw. It just happened at some point.

                                                1. re: megmosa

                                                  I was the same way, hated cilantro when I was young (pre-teen), but somehow came to enjoy it. We'd go to a local mexican place and I'd always order the carne asada, which had cilantro. I think I'd ask them to leave it out, but it was premade or something and would always have flecks in it. So I spent most of my time removing miniscule bits of cilantro. I think I finally got tired of the intricate surgery I had to perform on my dinner (we ate there A LOT), and just started eating it. I enjoy it now as much as any other herb, but it's not my favorite so much so that I seek out recipes with it (that would be basil). So yeah, I overcame it naturally.

                                          2. re: lemons

                                            I'm the same as you and several others on this thread. I hated cilantro when I was a kid (and I wasn't a very picky eater)--the taste seemed to travel through my mouth and up my nose and overwhelm everything. Now I can't imagine a bahn mi without it.

                                            1. re: pickledginger

                                              Just have to say that when I first glanced at your screen name I read it as "pickledinger." WAY more fun that way :)

                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                Haha, that _is_ great. I was hoping for a relatively foolproof screen name, but your way of reading it makes me smile.

                                                1. re: pickledginger

                                                  Funny how the brain works. There's a thread by someone who wants to replace her old, cheap pots and pans. S/he referred to them as "crappy pots" and I see that in a different light than intended. And somehow "pickle dinger" sounds a little dirty :)

                                                2. re: c oliver

                                                  yeah, pickledinger sounds like a game we might play out in the back yard in the huge brand-new frigidaire delivery box. ah, the first taste of privacy! you show me your pickledinger? ;-).

                                            2. I'm like Googs: hated it years ago.
                                              I remember my first exposure to it. We were at an ubiquitous Vietnamese restaurant and each ordered dinner # such and such (soup, spring roll, grilled chicken or beef or shrimp or combination thereof).
                                              I asked the waiter to substitute a small tonkinese soup over the included house soup and pay whatever difference (i hadn't had a Tonkinese soup up to that point). My buddy said yeah, me too, and so did his girlfriend.
                                              "And you, ma'am" the waiter asked my girlfriend (now wife)
                                              "No, not me, I'll stick to the house soup".
                                              So we're thinking we're cutting edge, trying new and exciting, etc etc.
                                              The waiter brings our 3 tonkinese and 1 house soup.
                                              We all dive in.
                                              We look at each other, and same as billieboy, think we're slurping dishwater.
                                              The wife had the last laugh that night as she really enjoyed the cilantro-less house soup.

                                              That was maybe 20 years and over 7000 meals ago.
                                              I've come to really appreciate and like cilantro. And yeah, many dishes just wouldn't be the same without.

                                              Parsley....maybe not so much.

                                              1. The thing I have found is that the dislike of cilantro is not like other food dislikes. I am not a picky eater by any means. Just a couple of things I don't like but don't make a big deal about it. But people who don't like cilantro absolutely HATE it and are very vocal about it.

                                                9 Replies
                                                1. re: billieboy

                                                  hi there,

                                                  there's a great article titled, "Getting to the Root of the Great Cilantro Divide," that indicates that perhaps the reason many people don't like cilantro is because they are "non-tasters," as opposed to "super-tasters." Check it out:


                                                  As for me, can't get enough!

                                                  1. re: chinkyeeboy

                                                    No time to find but there's thread going right now about supertasters. Really interesting.

                                                  2. re: billieboy

                                                    Re: being very vocal about disliking cilantro: I think it's an attempt to stake out a cultural space.

                                                    For e.g., people who dislike stinky cheese are frequently criticized as not being widely exposed to gourmet food, unappreciative of the finer things of life, etc.

                                                    Cilantro haters don't want to be seen that way, so they try to be the first to make a loud noise about it.

                                                    Cilantro is a wonderful flavour and an essential element in so many world cuisines, but not in mainstream US. It's hardly a passing fad.

                                                    Disliking cilantro may be genetic, but it ultimately is personal. There's nothing objectionable about cilantro itself, and disliking it makes as much sense as disliking garlic.

                                                    Disliking garlic used to be common in Anglo-based cultures until after WW-II. Garlic was seen as stinky, characteristic of "lower classes" or "undesirable immigrants" (i.e. from non-Anglo backgrounds, usually Mediterranean, Eastern European, etc.). You come across so many references to this in period novels, for e.g.

                                                    Fresh basil used to be seen as pretty unusual too (e.g. that movie IIRC called "First Night")

                                                    Now garlic and basil are seen as pretty mainstream. And cilantro will get that way too. And I bet that as the numbers of people who have exposure and get used to it goes up, the numbers of people who find it "genetically" soapy-tasting will go way down.

                                                    1. re: Rasam

                                                      Actually, I think it has more to do with the the fact that people who like cilantro tend to luuuuuv it, and are rather imperialistic about favoring it in cooking. The cilantro haters have to articulate stronger boundaries in order to be heard, as it were.

                                                      Also, the dislike of cilantro by many appears to have a physiological rather than psychological root (an enzyme issue in the palate), so don't expect commonality to make this issue disappear.

                                                      1. re: Karl S

                                                        I think most people who grew up with it use cilantro judiciously. Those who see it as a trendy or fancy ingredient might over use it just like they do any other "hot" ingredient like balsamic vinegar, sun-dried tomatoes or truffle oil.

                                                        1. re: KTinNYC

                                                          It's not that cilantro is fancy. Rather, it's a bold flavoring. And American palates coarsened by decades of processed foods tend to relish MORE! BIGGER! BOLDER! FLAVORS! Our foods tend to be overseasoned in the past half generation. Cilantro, like capsaicin, is one of the crutches for that.

                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                            I don't find cilantro more bold than say, dill, basil or flat leaf parsley.

                                                            1. re: Karl S

                                                              It's interesting that you perceive that American palates have been "coarsened by decades of processed foods", and that's why they want bigger ... bolder etc. flavours.

                                                              I saw it more as American palates are opening up to more world cuisines which tend to be bolder and use spices more.

                                                    2. There is asian ( don't know which country, maybe VietNam) that makes a side dish/condiment of almost pureed french shallots and cilantro, equal amounts of each with just a little salt and lime juice. Killer, killer kick ass delicious. Love cilantro!

                                                      4 Replies
                                                      1. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                                        That sounds great. How do French shallots differ from "regular"?

                                                        1. re: c oliver

                                                          French are the standard "regular" ones, there are different types grown all over, some very bitter some almost tastless. I grow them in the summer (huge yeilds), run them through a meat grinder and freeze them in 2oz. portion cups. never had luck with cilantro, I just buy it.

                                                        2. re: mrbigshotno.1

                                                          That sounds really good, and like a first-cousin to the Indian green chutney (chutney made of pureed cilantro + a little onion, ginger, green chillies, salt, lemon juice, smidgen of sugar). Sometimes yogurt / buttermilk is added.

                                                          It morphs into mint chutney when a little mint is added to the puree.

                                                          It's your basic dip for pakoras, samosas, found in every Indian restaurant, and it's sprinkled on chaat, etc.

                                                          1. re: Rasam

                                                            and i could also eat that with a spoon! but i HATE the tamarind one. i just think it's all personal and while i agree that it is a value to learn to live with things, i just think that the whole idea that it makes you better or worse than someone else (based on palate) if you like something is silly. and Rasam - that's to the thread as a whole. obviously you're not saying that!

                                                        3. I'm a hater, but I don't think it tastes like soap. On the contrary, it tastes like the world's worst BO.

                                                          I thought cilantro had its fifteen minutes about ten or fifteen years ago. For awhile it seemed like no pasta dish was safe. The stinkweed scourge seems to have subsided in recent years. It's still in many Asian dishes but I just pick it out.

                                                          1 Reply
                                                          1. re: little audrey

                                                            Have you tasted the world's worst bo? (sorry, couldn't resist )

                                                            It seems to be the herb people have the strongest feelings about. They either love it or they hate it. Not much middle of the ground responses, at least in my circle of friends. I love it.

                                                          2. You are in the minority, but you are absolutely not alone, not even here. I Loathe the stuff. So do the folks at www.ihatecilantro.com

                                                            Tastes like somebody soaked pennies in dishwashing liquid, AFAIC.

                                                            1. I think it's a cultural and cuisine thing. If you grow up with it, it's usually less of an issue. The popularity of it with chefs is the influence of Asian and Latin cuisines. It really depends on how you use it. As a straight garnish...frankly who eats it? As a not so well thought out element in a non-traditional way, it can stand out.

                                                              I have no problem, wouldn't think of many things w/o it. I'm wondering if people notice it first after tasting it alone, then notice every time after that when it's used as an element, like in guac?

                                                              Side question to all: Anyone that hates it, do you like stinky cheeses as well?

                                                              4 Replies
                                                              1. re: ML8000

                                                                There is no such thing as stinky cheese. All cheese is food from the Gods.
                                                                Except processed cheese which, of course, is not cheese at all. :-)

                                                                  1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                    I'm not a fan of stinky cheese but I have no issue w/ coriander aka cilantro aka Chinese parsley. I can eat coriander sprigs w/o a problem. OTOH, some people can stuff stinky cheese that smells like butt up their nose and be happy...which was my point in asking.

                                                                  2. re: ML8000

                                                                    As said earlier, l love it, and live on strong cheeses

                                                                  3. It could also have to do with the freshness of cilantro. At my local Asian market, I always see miraculously tender and sweet cilantro leaves that people buy the bunch, but outside at some restaurants, I see some really old, rough cilantro that tastes incredibly sour and bad. And I love cilantro! It might have to do with the general quality and how prevalent it is in some areas.

                                                                    1. The regularity with which this topic comes up on CH, and the many responses it STILL elicits, is fascinating.

                                                                      Maybe I'm just such a super-person overall, but I used to hate, hate, hate that stuff. Went to Thailand and ordered everything without. Now I like it, especially in dishes from Asia or Latin/South America where it is called for. Without it, the dish would just not be the same.

                                                                      But I still don't LOVE it. I don't sprinkle it on everything that holds still '-D

                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                      1. re: linguafood

                                                                        I think that's one of the keys...how it's used and in what. Coriander in traditional dishes work well and it's been hundreds of years like that. In new stuff...maybe not.

                                                                      2. Cilantro? Love at first bite. The latest New Mexico magazine has a recipe for lovely light green cilantro crepes filled w/ fried shrimp for artsy tacos. Yum. A taco w/out cilantro is not a taco. My science wonk SIL says the dislike of cilantro is a genetic defect. Sorry bad cilantro dudes; you lose.

                                                                        6 Replies
                                                                        1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                          Is that taco recipe available? That sounds like a fun artys-fartsy dish, doesn't it?

                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                            Dunno, I get the mag. If its not on line, let me know and I'll post it.

                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                              I'll check later. Time for a cocktail in the hottub. Ya know how decadent we Californian are!!!

                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                Yeh, I had to shovel 2' of snow off my roof today.

                                                                                1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                  We were dealing with that a couple of weeks ago but can't get on the roof. Had an ice dam bad enough that when it fell it took out part of our cedar fence :( But where you are is entirely different breed of winter-animal than Lake Tahoe.

                                                                            2. re: c oliver

                                                                              I have a great seafood shrimp taco with avacado, onion, roasted tomatoes, a lime cilantro and some fresh mango. I can look it up when I get home. Still at work.

                                                                          2. I love it, my husband hates it.

                                                                            1 Reply
                                                                            1. I love cilantro and it was love at first bite. I grow it and about 25 other herbs in my organic garden. Could not cook without any of them. Each has its place in whatever cuisine you're cooking, and each contributes its own particular flavor to the dish.
                                                                              Ya gotta edumacate yer palates, people.

                                                                              7 Replies
                                                                              1. re: Gio

                                                                                I've grown cilantro easily but it bolts so easily. I just seems easier for me to buy it. But rosemary??? It grows into shrubs. I've been know to take it as a hostess gift. I go at it with the pruning shears - sometimes even the loppers :)

                                                                                1. re: c oliver

                                                                                  There is a recent cilantro variety that is more resistant to bolting than the traditional plants.

                                                                                  Cilantro is about as noticeable as tan walls and carpet. I love coriander, garlic and ginger, but cilantro doesn't taste like anything to me.

                                                                                  1. re: Kelli2006

                                                                                    weird since coriander is the same plant. funny how taste buds are. it is strong to me - but not overly so like it can be in a bad way to people. literally i love the smell, i could add it to anything (ok well not anything) and have been that way for years and years.
                                                                                    but i can't seem to grow it - will have to check out the new variety.

                                                                                  2. re: c oliver

                                                                                    easy to start new rosemary plants to give as hostess gifts. just get little pots and stick a little branch in potting soil in each one. they'll "take" and then you have easy, cute hostess gifts, wrapped with a little raffia ribbon, or french ribbon, for da "fancy" ladies.... ;-).

                                                                                    1. re: c oliver

                                                                                      Rosemary overwintering indoors. Not quite hearty enough to be in ground in southern Connecticut. Very fragrant if you brush against it!
                                                                                      I'm about to put it out...

                                                                                      1. re: Scargod

                                                                                        Good idea. Although I love the taste and in small doses, the smell, if I get it on my skin, it causes a rash. So I always wash my hands and arms right away after pruning.

                                                                                    2. Hate it...even the smallest amount of it can ruin an otherwise amazing dish for me. Particularly detest it in my fresh salsa...kills it for me!

                                                                                      1. I love it so much I even stop by the veggie section at the store just to smell it! (no worries..I don't sneeze on it..lol)

                                                                                        1 Reply
                                                                                        1. re: staarlite

                                                                                          I'm with you. I grow it and use it all the time. But some dishes it is meant for and some not. But I regardless love the taste.

                                                                                        2. I never heard of cilantro until I worked in Arizona for a while 30 years ago. I like it in Mexican dishes, but don't use it in most other cuisines.

                                                                                          1. Question for those who know:

                                                                                            Cilantro is the leaf of the coriander plant. It's also called coriander leaf.

                                                                                            Coriander *seed* is also a spice. The leaf and the seed have completely different taste profiles and can not be substituted for each other.

                                                                                            Is the same true of parsley, rosemary, other herbs? Is there a use for the seeds? Do they taste different from the leaf?

                                                                                            I know basil seeds are used in one or two Indian dishes (desserts).

                                                                                            3 Replies
                                                                                            1. re: Rasam

                                                                                              I don't know of other herbs that both the seed and the spice are used as flavorings.

                                                                                              Im probably very wrong.

                                                                                              1. re: Rasam

                                                                                                Dill seed and dill leaf are also used, though not as dramatically dissimilar.

                                                                                                Celery seed is not the seed of the plant we use for celery stalks and leaves.

                                                                                              2. Cilantro is delicious.

                                                                                                1. Love cilantro, hate topics on love or hate___.... I'm never posting on one again (?)

                                                                                                  1 Reply
                                                                                                  1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                    VERY true, Scargod; the topic makes as much sense as "I love/hate garlic" or "coffee" or "sugar" or similar.

                                                                                                    I've yakked an incredible amount on this thread, but it is really a nutty one :)

                                                                                                    It's odd that this one ingredient seems to provoke chatter, while other equally bold tasting ingredients don't.

                                                                                                    I too will bow out now.

                                                                                                  2. I don't see why it should upset anyone that some people don't like cilantro. It isn't like secondhand smoke...if you want to put a mound of it on your taco, go for it, doesn't bother me.

                                                                                                    1. In an earlier post I said I hated it. I can clarify that by saying that I hate it when it overtakes a dish. I actually have some fresh cilantro in my fridge for two recipes I'm making this week. But I will use it in a subtle, not overpowering way. I prefer to taste the dish as a whole rather than ewwwww cilantro (or any one ingredient really). And I do not think it's cultural; I am the unpickie-est person I know, raised on a variety of foods.

                                                                                                        1. Scargod, this truly is any innocent post/question - at least on my part - and I see it as a very appropriate topic. I hate cilantro – that is a very true statement. I hold nothing personal against the little plant, just the manner in use abundance. It keeps showing up in foods where it has no business. Last week, I was at a small, local Italian restaurant and it was used in the alfredo sauce! Having eaten a couple of very good meals there before, I’m going to give them the benefit of the doubt and hope that whoever did the shopping that morning intended to pick up parsley and grabbed a bunch of cilantro in error.

                                                                                                          That said, I was curious to know if people (and I understand this is a world-wide board) in VAST majority like cilantro to the degree that it is being used as some would use salt and/or pepper.

                                                                                                          While seemingly not in an overwhelming majority, one thing is clearly obvious as evidenced in this thread. There are people who are passionately in "love" with the little green leaf.

                                                                                                          16 Replies
                                                                                                          1. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                            Using cilantro like salt and pepper makes little sense. You wouldn't use thyme, parsley or other herbs like that, except in some situations. In Asian and Latin cooking cilantro is never the feature but rather a compliment or element. However like so many trends in the U.S., it's often over done at first and with little sense of proportion or traditional use. I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't use it like this but a little restraint and caution isn't a bad thing. Going for the pop and boldness can become trendy...nothing wrong with this but it sort of points to flavor of the month. Personally I think balance is the key.

                                                                                                            1. re: ML8000

                                                                                                              That would makes sense if this were, say, 1995, when cilantro was well into the trendy phase. Now it's just become a crutch or the many addicts just overuse it. We are *well* past the trendy stage with this ingredient.

                                                                                                              1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                I guess as someone who grew up with it, I never saw the trendiness come in 1995 or go. Out in California I've never noticed it or seen it listed as an ingredient on high end, low end or cutting edge places, from 1995 onward. Or perhaps I just wasn't paying attention.

                                                                                                                Frankly the idea that it's new, weird or different is fascinating since to me it's basically parsley. From my perspective if you're over-using it, it's still trendy or a bit odd. Maybe "trendy" isn't the right term so I'll just over-used, non-traditional, out of place or balance. I do get what you're saying about crutch.

                                                                                                                I'd apply the same criteria to any herb, technique, etc. I mean hell when people start putting lemon grass on everything, including drinks, you have to wonder. Nothing wrong with new uses but at a certain point you roll your eyes and frankly I'm rolling my eyes a bit with this whole discussion.

                                                                                                                1. re: ML8000

                                                                                                                  Well, I think these conversations in the context of restaurants will become more pointed in the near time as a greater proportion of diners who bother to eat out may not want to risk $$ on the chef's judgment on the use of such crutch ingredients.

                                                                                                                  1. re: ML8000

                                                                                                                    OH, LORD!
                                                                                                                    "There's no liking the taste of cilantro".
                                                                                                                    "It keeps showing up in foods where it has no business."

                                                                                                                    People, there are LOTS of folks that like cilantro. It's no NEW FAD to me.
                                                                                                                    I grow it. I don't mistake it for parsley, like what seems to have happened at a restaurant that was mentioned. Shame on the cook (or Chef) that did not taste what they were preparing!
                                                                                                                    It has a faint reminiscence of soap.... My mom (once), washed my mouth with soap, for cursing. Damn that woman! I miss her so!
                                                                                                                    Embrace cilantro. It is so good with the right food! I want a lingua taco so bad!

                                                                                                                    1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                      If it calls for cilantro you could use parsley ... if it calls for parsley don't use cilantro. It isn't a sub but on the right dish it is excellent.

                                                                                                                      1. re: kchurchill5

                                                                                                                        Celery leaves make a better substitution.

                                                                                                                        1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                          Oddly enough, although I hate cilantro (aka the devil's weed), I like celery leaves very much.

                                                                                                                          1. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                            The next marketing trend. Cilantro flavored Bud Lite

                                                                                                                            1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                              I could happen and wouldn't surprise me if it did! LOL!

                                                                                                                              And as to the cook/chef who didn't do a taste test - My God, smelling it would have been a dead give-away.

                                                                                                                            2. re: Karl S

                                                                                                                              I do use celery leafs, never thought as a sub. but I do them quite a bit

                                                                                                                          2. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                            Not sure where you're coming from but coriander aka cilantro is aka as Chinese parsley.

                                                                                                                              1. re: billieboy

                                                                                                                                Too many answers/thread to follow. I think I have to check out on this thread...although someone probably is thinking up cilantro soda or something. Too bad it doesn't have anti-ox properties. (that's a joke, sorta)

                                                                                                                                1. re: ML8000

                                                                                                                                  Cilantro yogurt health food. Leaves your bowels "soapy" clean?

                                                                                                                    2. re: CocoaNut

                                                                                                                      Did you read all of the other ca. dozen or so threads on this exact same question? Do a search on it, and you 'll have an abundance of input.

                                                                                                                    3. One of the very popular local dishes at night markets in Taiwan is a sort of ice cream burrito. Made of a thin wheat crepe, shaved peanut candy, ice cream, and cilantro.


                                                                                                                      Yeah, sometimes even locals ask for it without the cilantro.

                                                                                                                      1 Reply
                                                                                                                      1. re: huaqiao

                                                                                                                        Hey! I'm gonna make some cilantro ice cream!

                                                                                                                      2. Good npr link upthread. (The gas chromatograph can't lie.) Those of us who like cilantro and find it exquisitely, elusively savory -- as truffles, or garlic, are savory -- must remember that some people truly are not tasting the same thing we are. This doesn't seem to extend to the seed (coriander), used in lots of cooking and seldom controversial.

                                                                                                                        I don't know about "trendy." Cilantro is ancient, in cooking of several regions long popular in the US, and lately US cooks experiment with everything. To the comment "at a small, local Italian restaurant [cilantro] was used in the alfredo sauce!" note that "Alfredo sauce" is a US invention, not too old either -- I remember before it. It certainly was unknown to the actual Alfredo de Lellio, whose "Fettuccine al Triplo Burro Maestose" dressed the noodles first with heart of best Parmesan, then a special triple butter, and salt. (According to Accademia Italiana della Cucina.) No cream, no "sauce." Alfredo in turn was just making a fine version of classic Roman Fettuccine al Burro.

                                                                                                                        7 Replies
                                                                                                                        1. re: eatzalot

                                                                                                                          Re your first paragraph, I used to actually like the smell of skunk!!! And I read an article years ago in the WSJ or NYT or some such that there are a small minority who like the skunk smell. I got over that when one of my dogs got sprayed bigtime :) So there's not liking the taste of cilantro as someone can not like the taste of anything. And then there are those who aren't tasting the same thing that we are.

                                                                                                                          1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                            A whiff of skunk through an open car window in the country, nice. A skunked German Shepherd (poor boy!) trying to get into your bedroom for reassurance, not nice at all. That being said, it was love at first bite for cilantro and me. No such thing as too much, at least raw (it can be a bit overpowering cooked). Favorite potato dish: boiled potatoes dressed in butter, lemon juice, a bit of the zest, and cilantro leaves stirred in at the last minute. Have 2 good friends who can't abide it so don't cook with it for them.

                                                                                                                            1. re: buttertart

                                                                                                                              You hate the smell of skunk, wait till you taste epazote. Smells like a skunk broke wind.

                                                                                                                                1. re: EWSflash

                                                                                                                                  Yow! I don't mind (rather like) the smell of skunk outside, but a skunked dog inside the house is a misery, for him and you. And epazote is OK by me too.

                                                                                                                              1. re: c oliver

                                                                                                                                c oliver: reformed skunk lover! LOL.


                                                                                                                                query, will tomato and cilantro bath remove the skunk-stink?

                                                                                                                                1. re: alkapal

                                                                                                                                  Obviously I haven't visited this thread in a while. I have a "recipe" of hydrogen peroxide, Dawn and something. When I get up, I need to look it up. But the only thing that's truly and completely worked for us.

                                                                                                                            2. Always disliked it and think it tastes like soap

                                                                                                                              1. I love it, it smells great and have a very fresh taste.

                                                                                                                                  1. In my family, the women, including me, love cilantro, and all the guys hate it! To me it is the most delicious, fresh-tasting addition to soups, salads, etc.

                                                                                                                                    1. If I was dying and knew I could be saved from eating Cilantro, I'd rather die.

                                                                                                                                      2 Replies
                                                                                                                                      1. re: retsnom

                                                                                                                                        You must of had a near-death experience from eating cilantro at some point?
                                                                                                                                        I wished I could think of hyperbole to match yours...
                                                                                                                                        I know! If I were dying, I wish the last thing I could have is cilantro intravenously. While I eat a lingua taco.

                                                                                                                                        1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                          i COMPLETELY get your hyperbole. but in iv form i couldn't taste it or smell it. mmmmm..... :) :) :)

                                                                                                                                        1. I recognize the soapiness of cilantro, but I love it anyway. Asian food and Mexican food are just empty without that extra dimension. The aroma is just heavenly.

                                                                                                                                          3 Replies
                                                                                                                                          1. re: stricken

                                                                                                                                            Cilantro soap. Is there such a thing? I could bathe with it, wash my clothes with it, wash fish and fowl in it. Cilantro shampoo? Cilantro scented candles....

                                                                                                                                            1. re: Scargod

                                                                                                                                              Even cilantro in Scotch sounds good to him and me.
                                                                                                                                              The Cilantro Brothers

                                                                                                                                              1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                Put that in bourbon and count me in :)

                                                                                                                                          2. I love cilantro but my dad hates it. I always have to forego the cilantro dishes if we're dining out together.

                                                                                                                                            1. I LOVE cilantro, my parents love cilantro, and apparently, that's very unusual for Korean people. Koreans love pho, but mostly hate cilantro, so you'll see Koreanized pho joints occasionally. I guess my parents have some recessive gene or strange enzyme that makes us freaks of Korean nature.


                                                                                                                                              1. Please add me to the top of your "HATE IT" list. I can't even associate the flavor of cilantro with something as clean as soap. Truthfully, some variety of really nasty filth would better fit my description of it. I readily acknowledge that a lot of people must like it; but, chefs, please take note, whenever you add fresh cilantro to anything on the table, you are instantly ruining the dining experience for a lot of us. I suggest that fresh cilantro be offered as an optional condiment (since it's when it is served fresh or not thoroughly cooked that it usually retains it's offensive flavor). That should be a quick and simple solution to the whole problem.
                                                                                                                                                Here's another note to chefs: If you are truly wanting to create and present authentic, full-flavored Mexican or Tex-Mex cuisine, adding cilantro throws you way off course. The coriander plant is not even native to the Western Hemisphere. In my region (Texas) it starting showing up in salsas about 25 or 30 years ago. Cooking shows were beginning to fill the airwaves. Then, a new generation of (perhaps well-meaning but pitifully misguided) chefs got the idea it was fashionable to garnish everything with cilantro. For me, and many others, it was (still is) a very bad and entirely foul-tasting decision. Now we have a whole gereration of both cooks and diners who (thanks to TV celebrity chefs who live a long way from Mexico) think cilantro has always been an essential ingredient in Mexican-type dishes. It even started showing up in Mexican markets and restaurants to serve the tastes of some American tourists. This seemed to validate the notion that cilantro is an authentic ingredient in Mexican food. Frankly, I wonder how often cilantro is used to mask the flavor of poorly prepared or otherwise inferior food. For certain, it's addition ruins what might have been some really delicious food. Regardless, no cilantro for me, please!

                                                                                                                                                8 Replies
                                                                                                                                                1. re: sixfoot12

                                                                                                                                                  Cilantro is used in authentic Mexican dishes. Guacamole is a prime example. Of course you could leave it out to your taste, but just because it isn't native to the New World doesn't mean it's not authentic. That would be like saying tomatoes and polenta are not authentic to Italian food, or hot chiles are not authentic to Thai or Indian food. That said, I understand that the scope of the sense of taste is, at least to some extent, genetic. So some may love cilantro and others hate it. I'm in between: started out hating it and now love it.

                                                                                                                                                  1. re: PAO

                                                                                                                                                    """Guacamole is a prime example. """
                                                                                                                                                    wow, PAO, you'd better duck after invoking the "g word"! ;-)).

                                                                                                                                                    1. re: PAO

                                                                                                                                                      I was taught by my New Mexican in-laws to add ground up, not powdered, celantro seeds to guacamole. I thought everyone did until I moved out of NM. I have a good Texas chow friend, Dogracs, who never uses celantro sed in his Tem/Mex food. I was very surprised that he had no celantro seed at all in his kitchen. I use a lot of it. I just made a green chile tomatillo soup w/ both celantro seeds and fresh celantro.

                                                                                                                                                      1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                        My sense is that cilantro is a reletively recent south-of-the-border incursion. It is certainly not part of the traditional Tex-Mex I grew up on.

                                                                                                                                                        I suspect it is far more traditional in Indian food than Tex-Mex.

                                                                                                                                                        1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                          Funny, I was taught to add celantro seed to guacamole and some red chiles sauces by my in-law very old New Mexican family. I'm aware of the food migrations of cilantro (taco al pastor being a Lebenese influence on Mexican food for example) but still associate it w/ New Mex food, use it and enjoy the flavor.
                                                                                                                                                          Food is very personal and w/ lots of associations. for the life of me I can't remember black beans or poblano chiles in NW New Mexico in the 60's and 70's!

                                                                                                                                                          1. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                            Yeah, black beans are another parvenu. Seemed to arrive in Texas coterminously with cilantro. Now, cilantro seed (coriander seed?) I know nothing about in the context of Southwestern cookin'. May well be a Mex/New Mex staple of long root. But again, coriander seed is something that you see frequently in Indian food, usually in tandem with ground cumin.

                                                                                                                                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                                                                                                                              Yup, basic ingredients in Indian curry. Without the Moorish influences on the Spanish, we wouldn't have Mexican cooking as we know it.
                                                                                                                                                              Heading to Huntington Beach and San Diego in Feb for a refresher on So Co Mexican food. I will be interested to see how much celantro is used.
                                                                                                                                                              Say hi to Nancy Griffith for me.

                                                                                                                                                        2. re: Passadumkeg

                                                                                                                                                          Not in re guacamole, but coriander seeds or ground coriander are really good in mushroom preparations.

                                                                                                                                                    2. My daughters & I love it. My husband and mom hate it. They say it has a soapy taste. So I leave it out and the girls and I add is separately to our dishes.
                                                                                                                                                      Funny story: When my oldest daughter was in kindergarten, they were going around the class naming their favorited green food. She says proudly "Cilantro!", the other kids just looked at and were like what is that? She loved it from first bite.

                                                                                                                                                      1. I can't live without it! The more the better! But then, I'm from Texas. We're not to bright.

                                                                                                                                                        1. My first real taste of it many years ago turned me off it - the taste and aroma got to me. As I've gotten older, I can handle it in small moderation, especially in soups or stews. Preferably chopped up finely. :)

                                                                                                                                                          1. Love it, love it, love it. I can graze on it like a cow, and eat the stems when DH cuts them off to chop (I leave the stems on).

                                                                                                                                                            1. I lean toward hate. I can tolerate cilantro in small quantities, but it easily overpowers other flavors, and cilantro has a flavor with which I do not want to be overpowered. Cilantro should play a bit part in the concerto; it should never play a cadenza.

                                                                                                                                                              1. Love it. It should not, however, be sprinkled about in any old dish, for any whimsical reason, any more than anything else should. It's a powerful flavor and aroma, and needs to work in concert with other flavors to work to its best advantage.

                                                                                                                                                                But yes: I'm a fan of the stuff, especially in Asian and Mexican foods.

                                                                                                                                                                1. Love & hate. Slivers in rice, well made pico, cilantro pesto with lime on tender grilled chicken great- but overdone amts., mushy, inappropriate sub for say basil leaves or parsley...yuck.

                                                                                                                                                                  1. I LOVE IT!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!