The Gleeful Gourmand: Cilantro, I Detest You. There, I Said It.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Cilantro, I Detest You. There, I Said It.

There are very few foods that I simply cannot stand. In our house growing up the rule was that we had to try everything once in order to decide if we didn't like it. We weren't allowed to look at a food we had never tried before and proclaim we didn't like it. If we tried it and didn't like it, chances were we would still have to eat it, but it's a great rule to live by, and one I still try to live by (and have started to instill in Liam).

However. There are some foods and tastes I simply cannot abide by. When I say that, I mean, I avoid them at all costs. If I see that even one of the tastes I feel strongly about are in a dish on a menu, I will automatically rule it out. In my defense, some of these I've tried time and time again hoping I will like them, because I feel like I should like them - since everyone else does. What a little sheep I am. Baaaa. Here they are, in no particular order:

1) Salmon. Oh, how I wish I liked salmon. It seems like most people love salmon, and love it with a passion. So when I find other people (all two of you) who hate salmon like I do, I tend to geek out about it. It's the smell. The taste. Ugh. It's very overpowering to me, and I enjoy seafood. There's a reason I've nicknamed it "The Demon Fish of the Pacific," and that's because it's disgusting.

2) Cottage Cheese. The mere mention of this dish makes my flesh crawl. I don't care if you dress it up with the most fabulous fruit, or what have you. It's sour and the texture of it makes me want to retch.

3) Oysters, Clams, Calamari, and Mussels. This is another texture thing for me. I don't care for squishy, rubbery tasting things, even if they are drowned in a nice garlic wine sauce. That being said, I'm slowly coming around to oysters. I'm not saying I'd slurp down half a dozen, but one once in awhile is fun, if nothing else than to prove to myself that I can choke it down.

4) Lollipops. I don't know why. I wish I could explain it, but I have a hard time verbalizing why I hate suckers so much. I think it might have to do with just how sugary they are.

5) Jelly Beans. This is sort of the same thing as lollipops. I just don't like them.

6) Cilantro. Okay, this is the big one. As far as tastes I can't stand, this is one that I feel at least a little validated in. I don't mind a bit in salsas, at least it's hidden very well in it. But in some recipes they use way too much of it, and I can't stand it. It tastes like dish soap to me. And I also hate it because it looks exactly like curly parsley, and there have been too many times to count that I've grabbed the wrong bunch of herbs at the store, only to be incensed (incensed!!) when I get home and discover my mistake. Gah! Cilantro, you fooled me again!

But then one afternoon I was watching The Barefoot Contessa and she actually said on camera that she couldn't stand cilantro either! I literally screamed out loud, and at my husband, as I jabbed a finger at the screen: "See!! I'm not the only one!! Ina Garten hates cilantro!" I freaked out, but in a good way. She went on to calmly explain that cilantro is a very dividing herb - you either love it or you hate it. "Yes!" I screamed at the TV, "I hate cilantro, Ina Garten!!!" Meanwhile, my poor husband just laughed and looked at me like I was crazy. Which I might be. (He hates cilantro too, just for the record)

So what are some tastes or foods you simply can't stand? Leave them in the comments!


Elizabeth Wilson said...

Not even Jelly Bellys?

Jenna said...

Especially Jelly Bellys. Blech.

Elizabeth Wilson said...


St. Joseph's Youth Ministry said...

Cooked mushrooms... When I was little my mom would make these and I would do the whole gagging reflex... to which my dad would scream, YOUR MOTHER DOES NOT COOK POISON!!! So, it might be a combination now of bad memories and a mental block, but I still hate cooked, brown, soggy, smelly, tasteless mushrooms... You don't even want to KNOW what I think they resemble when cooked... now, fresh and slightly chopped in a salad...acceptable.. in europe once I had an amazing mushroom soup... no, not the icko creamy, white canned stuff, obviously, but a wonderful broth that was amazing... (no cilantro I don't think... :) I also do not like jellybeans.. but remember playing a "game" in college with Robin and Andrea where we had to pick out the nastiest combination of jelly belly's and make the person next to us eat them... I think pear and buttered popcorn made the top of the "nasty" list... YUCK!

Jenna said...

Irene - YES, I do remember that!! In fact, I was going to put that in my blog, but as I was writing, I wasn't remembering the whole thing and couldn't figure out why I hated them so much. All I knew was that it was in your room with Robin and Andrea, and Jelly Bellys. And I've never had one pass my lips since!! Thanks for clearing that up! :)

Shauna said...

Mushrooms, brussel sprouts and grape fruit juice - all things I try occassionally but still can't stand. Although, my sisters cook up brussels in a way that does not make me gag. Mushrooms are a texture thing for me too, and I'm also sure I've just never had any good ones. Have you ever eaten at Comfort in Richmond? They have awesome veggies, ones no other restaurant serves and the best shrimp and grits ever (again, according to my sisters because I don't eat shrimp either).

Jenna said...

Shauna I am with you on the grape juice - yuck - I've never liked it. I LOVE Comfort! Such a great restaurant! I could take or leave grits. I don't like them, but I don't hate them either.

Kirsten Oliphant said...

I can't do raw onions. Cooked are great, but raw...ick. Too much. Or, of course, pickles. I can hardly take vinegar, so anything with vinegar. I can now eat salad dressings, and even oil with a GREAT, EXPENSIVE, AGED basalmic, but that's it. So anything that looks pickled freaks me out. I have a lot of recovering hates, things I used to hate and now like or even love. Olives. Hated and now LOVE. It's weird. But now the briny-ness is somehow oddly addictive to me. I used to avoid mushrooms of any kind. In fact, growing up I didn't eat much of anything, but now my list of loves is growing. Pickles will NEVER make the cut. There. I said it.

Unknown said...

I recently read an article about why people are so polarized when it comes to cilantro (because I thought for sure that my boyfriend's mother was CRAZY in her dislike), and it turns out that the dislike of cilantro is thought to be a genetic difference. Some people have a gene that makes cilantro taste like soap (or worse). It's similar to the genetic difference that causes some people to be able to produce and smell asparagus pee. Just thought you'd like to know. :)

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