Saturday, June 26, 2010

Cracking the Cilantro

"Uggh." Eyes rolling back into her head.
"Keep that cilantro away from me."
Then. A minute later.
"Well, at least you killed it to make the necklace."

While sitting at my craft fair table I have come to expect this sort of remark. People out there HATE cilantro. I mean really despise it. To the point of shuddering and staring at there friend standing next to them like, "You know how bad it is, don't you???" I just sit at my booth, staring at my cilantro necklaces wondering what is going on here! "Its guacamole season people!"

Growing up, I was fed a standard meat and potatoes diet. It was all American food. Salt and pepper was usually the spice of choice and things like hummus or curry or cilantro were not in my vocabulary. My Mom and Dad liked the crock pot filled with beef, potatoes, carrots, a little onion, maybe one garlic clove and if was getting crazy, throw in some celery too. I was the rebellious daughter who snuck chili powder and garlic into the stew. Of course came dinner time panic shook the kitchen table, "What did you put in here!?" ready to spit on me.
I remember the first time I ate something with cilantro in it. It was a salad of some sort.
My Mom's best friend was a professional cook who did catering. She was always trying out new exotic recipes. I remember going over to her house and feeling like her kitchen held culinary discoveries. I think it was a pasta salad. All I remember is the foreign taste. So different. For the first second it did taste bad. Maybe soapy now that I think of it. But, after that night I fell in love with the mysterious taste. I wanted more. My love for cilantro was born.

So now that I have witnessed so many craft fair goers adversity with cilantro. I finally did some research. How else to explain this craziness? After reading a few articles, turns out Cilantro holds a few olfactory tricks up its leafy sleeve. The Coriander leaf... aka Cilantro... has aldehyde's which are very similar or the same as soap and some bugs such as stink bugs. All right all of you weirdo's. I guess there is a reason for your Cilantro disgust. Here's a great NPR article on this cilantro conundrum.

Like the girl said, at least I killed the leaf to make the necklace! If you are one of those who is sensitive to cilantro's aldehyde's think the Hightower Botanical's cilantro jewelry as an alter to cilantro. The leaf is forever preserved as metal holding its evil smelly powers hostage and even warding off the live plant! Or maybe not if you actually like cilantro like me. Cast cilantro can plays homage to the herb too.
What can I say? I like my spices.

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