Picture this: I am at a Mexican restaurant ordering traditional tacos. I pay for my order and then rush back to the counter screaming “HOLD THE CILANTRO!” I hate cilantro. Like HATE it. I can tell when it is in my food, I can tell when it has been removed from my plate. I can tell if you thought about planting cilantro in your garden.
I am very sensitive to it, although I hear that people just love it and actually ask for more on their food. Who are these monsters I ask, WHO?!? This is not an unusual type of behavior or preference. Did you know that there is actually a gene variant that predisposes you to like or dislike cilantro? Those who dislike it greatly actually believe that cilantro tastes like dish soap. I agree, I guess I must be on the anti team.
Nature reports that a genetic survey of nearly 30,000 people, led by Nicholas Eriksson at the consumer genetics firm 23andMe, asked participants whether or not cilantro tasted like soap and whether or not they liked it. The strongest-linked variant is traced to a cluster of olfactory-receptor genes that influence smell. One of those genes is OR6A2, which is very sensitive to the aldehyde chemicals that give cilantro its distinctive flavor. Interesting.
What is more interesting, is the fact that you have the ability to change your brain’s opinion on this little herb. All you have to do is try it in little stages and retrain yourself. Try a cilantro pesto, because crushing up the leaves actually changes the enzymes into more pleasing and mild aromas. Grab a cilantro pesto recipe here.
So while you might get all Julia Child- she hated it so much she told Larry King so- and throw it on the floor when you see it, don’t fret because there is hope for you!