Is a hatred for cilantro irreversible?


Julia Child is famously quoted as stating that as far as cilantro goes, the best thing to do is "just pick it out and throw it on the floor." There is no question that most people are very firm on their attitude towards cilantro - they either love it or hate it. A few years ago, noted food scientist Harold McGee claimed that this prefernce was, in fact, genetic based and there really wasn't a lot that could be done to change it. The Salt recently reviewed the question and found the story to be more nuanced.

As they write, "Two studies published this week link the aversion for cilantro with specific genes involved in taste and smell. But, just like the flavors of the herb itself, the findings are nuanced: The genes appear to influence our opinion of cilantro but probably not as much as we initially thought." The problem appears to be especially related to odor - people who dislike cilantro think it smells and tastes like soap.

However, should you wish to learn to like cilantro, or for some reason can't get away from it there is hope - the genetic trait is not that strong. The key is to crush the leaves, releasing enzymes that convert the soapy compounds into more mild aromas. McGee especially recommends a pesto - here are a few online cilantro pesto recipes that the EYB library unearthed.

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