Did you ever think that your hatred for cilantro will become a topic of a number of scientific studies and numerous of theories, from psychological to genetic? Some foods we like and some we do not, right? With cilantro, it is a bit more than that. People who love it or hate it are so vocal in their preference that they formed clubs, they write blogs and have Facebook pages. What is it about cilantro that it causes so much attention, and not exactly of culinary kind?
Love it or hate it
The extreme reaction to a popular herb used extensively in Latin American and Asian cuisine caused scientists from the University of Toronto to try to link its likes and dislikes to people”s ethnicity. They published the results of their study in the journal Flavor and concluded that ” “prevalence of cilantro dislike differs widely between various ethnocultural groups.” Makes sense ” “ if your mother has been feeding you with tacos spiced with cilantro, you develop the taste for it. But, it is not that simple.
Another study found that some fraternal twins radically differ in their likes and dislikes of cilantro ” “one loves it and the other hates it. This points towards the genetic ” Ëœglitch” â„¢ which affects how one person smells it or tastes it.
Cilantro (Coriandrum sativum) gets its herbal smell from several substances, mostly fragments of fat molecules of aldehydes. Interestingly, aldehydes are also present in soaps and lotions. Some bugs produce them as a defense. It seems that some people have the ability to smell these substances, and others do not. It also explains that for some people cilantro smells like soap and to others like bugs.
I hate cilantro ” “ so what!
It might be easy to dismiss cilantro if you do not like it, if it was not for its numerous health benefits. One recent study confirmed the ancient belief of people in Iran that cilantro (or coriander) extract is excellent against anxiety and can be also used as muscle relaxant. These findings are important considering how many people are becoming addicted to their anti-anxiety medicines. Another study, this one in Morocco, explored the use of coriander, among several other herbs, to treat hypertension, diabetes and renal diseases among native populations.
Whether you do not have the gene that likes cilantro or have simply not been culturally exposed to it, try it in pesto. Some cooks claim that cilantro looses the ” Ëœsoapy” â„¢ smell when pounded in the mortar. If even that does not work, just skip Mexican or Italian restaurants. It might be a bit more difficult if your mother-in-law is generous in her use of cilantro in the kitchen.