Cilantro, Cilantro!

Wanted to post an interesting article sent to me by my sister, all about why some people can't stand cilantro. Harold McGee writes: "Food partisanship doesn’t usually reach the same heights of animosity as the political variety, except in the case of the anti-cilantro party. The green parts of the plant that gives us coriander seeds seem to inspire a primal revulsion among an outspoken minority of eaters." My (other) sister is part of the anti-cilantro group, but strangely enough, both E and I are both strongly pro-cilantro. And I don't remember ever hating it, either.

McGee asks a neuroscientist, Jay Gottfried, where such hate could come from: "The senses of smell and taste evolved to evoke strong emotions, he explained, because they were critical to finding food and mates and avoiding poisons and predators. When we taste a food, the brain searches its memory to find a pattern from past experience that the flavor belongs to. Then it uses that pattern to create a perception of flavor, including an evaluation of its desirability." So his theory is that if you haven't had enough cilantro exposure, you may be bound to hate it forever. (Off-topic: By the way, how awesome is Dr. Gottfried's group website? They have actual photos on there of the group *gasp* socializing!)

Hmm, maybe this also applies to me and horseradish? Any flavors you absolutely can't stand? Give it a few more tastes and perhaps your brain won't label it as poison anymore...
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  1. Dr. Gottfried's website makes me want to join their group!

  2. Haha I know! Seems like the most fun a grad student could have.