Sunday, May 8, 2011

I hate cilantro

"I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor." — Julia Child, describing cilantro

I'VE BEEN DRIVING past Water Works Park on the way to Rotary every Thursday for 16 months since our meetings moved from the Hotel Fort Des Moines to the Wakonda Club, and I realized that in all the years I've lived here, I've never walked around in the park. It's so inviting now that all the crabapple trees are in bloom that I resolved that as a birthday treat, I would stroll though the park, stick my nose into as many blossoms as possible and drink in all that delicious fragrance.

We met Paul's brother Tom, who's visiting from Texas, at the park in the afternoon, and I ambled and sniffed and got my face thoroughly covered with pollen. We learned that Water Works Park has one of the largest collections of crabapple trees in the world. Who knew?

Birthday sniffs.

Crab apple blossoms in all their glory.

Afterwards Paul and I went to India Star restaurant for hors d'oeuvres and mango ice cream. Okay, the real reason was entirely for the mango ice cream, but we figured we ought to have a little actual food first.

We had mulligatawny soup — which was good except that it contained pieces of cilantroI hate cilantro. I thought I was the only person in the world who felt that way, but I've discovered I'm not. According to an article in the New York Times, cilantro is a like-it-or-despise-it kind of a deal. Here's an excerpt.

"Food partisanship doesn’t usually reach the same heights of animosity as the political variety, except in the case of the anti-cilantro party. The green parts of the plant that gives us coriander seeds seem to inspire a primal revulsion among an outspoken minority of eaters

Culinary sophistication is no guarantee of immunity from cilantrophobia. In a television interview in 2002, Larry King asked Julia Child which foods she hated. She responded: 'Cilantro and arugula I don’t like at all. They’re both green herbs, they have kind of a dead taste to me.'”

“So you would never order it?” Mr. King asked."

“Never,” she responded. “I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor.”

Julia Child and I agree.

My sentiments exactly! And I don't like arugula either. Whatever those two things do to her taste buds, they do it to mine as well. Many describe cilantro as tasting like soap. I'm not sure exactly how I'd describe it, but I can tell you this for sure: I can taste it when it's in anything, and I don't mean that in a good way.

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