When I was 11, my dad found a food processor in the cabinet underneath our kitchen counter that had been sitting untouched for years. Being a man of science and discovery, Bernie wasted no time in pushing the limits of the little machine, processing anything he could get his hands on. He would come home from the grocery store with bags and bags of produce, itching to try another exotic recipe that some how always came out resembling borscht.

One night, my father invited over my godparents for what he promised to be a “once in a lifetime” meal, created solely from our friendly neighborhood food processor. As we anxiously sat at the dining room table waiting for what surely would be our demise, my father danced his way through the kitchen, flinging mountains of vegetables into the machine as the musical stylings of Billy Joel played from the AM/FM radio upholstered to our kitchen wall. When he finished, my dad proudly dropped big white ceramic bowls onto our placemats and exclaimed, “I give you, Gazpacho!” I looked down. In front of me, the cool red soup swayed inside the bowl, leaving streaks of tomatoey pulp glued to the porcelain walls. Small, haphazardly cut bits of onion and garlic bobbed along the surface like buoys, surrounded by small flecks of black pepper and other spices. Courageously, I dipped my spoon into the soup and had a taste.

The Horror of Cilantro


You know that unbearably awful sensation of drinking orange juice too soon after you’ve brushed your teeth? And how afterwards your entire mouth feels like it’s coated in mosquito repellant? Yeah, well lets just say that my experience was along those lines. As I brought the spoon out of my mouth, my entire tongue curdled in terror at whatever poison I had exposed it to. I reached into my mouth to pluck the villainous herb that had caused such an intense reaction straight out of my mouth. As I looked at my fingers, a harmless little green leaf looked back up at me, as if saying, “What, little old me?” Although it may not have sounded coherent due to my guzzling of water to flush the taste out of my mouth, I asked my dad what he just tried to kill me with.

“That? Oh that’s just Cilantro.”


Cilantro. There was a name for this kind of evil, and it was Cilantro. Up until that point in my life, I had never come across any flavors that I particularly hated. I may have shied away from raw tomatoes and mushrooms, but if I had been served them at a friend’s Shabbat dinner, I would have been able to hold them down. Cilantro, however, is a different story.  Although it may sound like a paradise island off the coast of Chile, I cannot begin to describe the fierce hatred I have for it.


For me, eating is about experiencing a harmony of flavors through various ingredients that come together to unite into one dish. Just as musical notes come together to form chords, ingredients in a meal must selfishly work together for the best interest of the dish. Each flavor is important, and not necessarily lost, but everyone plays an equal role. Along these lines, Cilantro is like that annoying kid in kindergarten who would do whatever he could to vie for the teacher’s attention, even if it meant crapping his/her pants or eating lint. Cilantro is selfish. Cilantro is needy. Cilantro has no friends because all Cilantro cares about is Cilantro. If Cilantro was a wizard, Cilantro would be in Slytherin.


While I realize that Cilantro is an important staple in a lot of Latin American and East Asian cuisines, I personally have no time or effort to dedicate towards putting it anywhere near my mouth. For me, soapy floral qualities have no right to be anywhere except for the bathroom and the garden. The way to brighten up a dish is with a squirt of acid, not with perfume. So with that, I herby declare my anti-Cilantro stance with pride. I hate you Cilantro. I really do.

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Julian Plovnick

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7 Responses

  1. The Other Jules P.

    I used to think I loved cilantro, but after reading your article I don’t want to touch it with a 10 foot pole!

  2. Karen in Montreal

    I can detect both the bitter and the soapy components of cilantro, and really disliked it when I first met it. But I gradually got used to it, from eating Mexican, Thai and Vietnamese food, and LOVE IT TO BITS! Homemade salsa, red Thai curry, num num!

  3. JP

    I feel the same way about cumin. I can only take it in very small doses well mixed with other spices. It reminds me of rancid body odor. The smell is horrible and ruins many dishes. But cilantro I like.


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