I’m Confused…I Just Assumed EVERYONE Loves Cilantro

Since I moved to Belize, I can’t get enough Cilantro.  It’s in almost everything here…soups, rice, stews, burritos, ceviches, sauces…everything.  And I love it.  It’s herby, cool, clean, a bit citrusy.   I even like a few sprigs of it in iced water.

I’ve always associated it with Mexican food or Thai food, but why isn’t this ridiculously good herb seen more in the US?  It’s all parsley (blah), oregano or basil.  Why aren’t we eating cilantro every day?

So I decided to do some internet research on my little green buddy.  And my internet queries shocked me.  WHAT?  Tons of people hate cilantro.  DESPISE IT!  One site calls it “the herb of the devil”.  There are actually quite a few anti-cilantro websites like http://www.ihatecilantro.com/.  This confused person’s motto?  “Cilantro:  The most offensive food known to man”.  Some sites even have “Cilantro Free Restaurant” directories.  Personally?  I feel bad for these guys. 

Let’s move on.  It must be the result of some sort of herbal brainwashing.

What’s the origin of the world’s most delicious herb?

Cilantro or coriander is native to Southern Europe, North Africa and Southeast Asia.  So it was Christopher Columbus who introduced many products from the Americas to Europe including:  corn, tomatoes, chili peppers, potatoes, chocolate, tobacco and peanuts.  Maybe even cilantro was on the Nina or the Pinta.    (What were Europeans eating before 1492?) 

The Europeans did ship some important stuff over here including:  horses, grapes, chickens, cows, honey bees, apples, tea and coffee.  The exchange is pretty interesting.  Hard to imagine that we’ve only had access to these things for about 500 years.

I think it would make a fetching and fragrant bridal bouquet.

Other stuff that I learned: 

  • Cilantro is thought to be one of the oldest herbs.  Cilantro seeds (or coriander) were found in King Tut’s tomb.
  • Cilantro is said to have lots of medicinal properties.  It supposedly helps to eliminate heavy metal toxins from the body, is good for stomach aches and stimulates circulation.
  • Cilantro was more widely introduced to the US as Mexican food has become much more popular over the last 40 to 50 years.
  • India is the largest producer and consumer of cilantro.
  • Haters, you are not alone.  Julia Child’s cited “arugula and cilantro” as the two foods she hates.
  • There may be a genetic reason that you think that cilantro tastes like soap or hand lotion.  It’s not your fault that you can’t enjoy one of the earth’s great gifts, its your genes’ fault.

Try this recipe for Cilantro Pesto.  I love it.  And I hope you do too.

1 cup cilantro, pack it in
1/2 cup of almonds (toast them a little bit – and any nut works)
3 large cloves of garlic
1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese
1/4 cup olive oil
salt to your taste

Add first three ingredients to a blender or food processor.  Blend until smooth-ish.  Add cheese and drizzle in olive oil while mixing.

Mix with pasta (eat hot or cold), spread on little pieces of toast, add it to hummus or on fish, chicken or shrimp and you will be one happy cilantro lover.

Or try muddling fresh cilantro in a glass with some lime, add sugar and rum…or with tequila and triple sec (a cilantro margarita).

Or mixing with cream cheese and slathering on everything.  I’ll stop now…I could go on and on…

SO…what shirt will I see YOU wearing?  (And yes…these shirts are really for sale on the internet).

You guys certainly know what to get me for Christmas.  And don’t forget to scroll down a bit…I’m adding some new events to YOUR SAN PEDRO EVENT CALENDAR.




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  • I’m with you! Love Love Love cilantro!I use it ALL the time here in Minnesota. I do have friends/family that don’t like it, however. I don’t think you can make salsa, guacamole or ceviche without it!

  • Me

    Ina Garten, my fave food tv cook, hates it too. She uses parsley in guacemole. Nutty.

  • SHE’S your “fave” cook on tv?! I think YOU’RE nutty! Is your 2nd favorite Sandra Lee?? 🙂

  • Me

    She is very calming and the food is easy and looks so good. Most fave shows: Ina Garten, Diner,Drive-In & Dives and The Best Thing I Ever Ate. Least fave = instant channel change: Sandra Lee, Mark Summers showing me how things are made, Rachel Ray and Cupcake Wars. Those Neely’s annoy me too.

  • The dreaded Neeeeeely’s. Ugh! I love Guy Fieri (all shows) and Bobby Flay. Every time I’m in Vegas I have to go to his restaurant Mesa Grill. Soooo gooood! Going next weekend and the reservation is already made. Rachel Ray irritates the crap out of me. (but so does Oprah)

  • I love cilantro too, but a lot of people are quite polarized about it–either love it or hate it. Thanks for the recipe though! I am going to try it!

  • The people that hate it say it tastes like soap. It is one of my fav’s!

  • thanks for the recipe,sounds great

  • pvanrhee

    Corriander is also in some Dutch-Indonesian (Indo) dishes. I grew up with it. And , of course, living in California, we also got it in Mexican food. I can’t imagine people not liking it, but I’ve heard there are some weird people around.