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Why You Either Love or Hate Cilantro

Cilantro is one of those things that either you love or you hate. And thanks to my friend Dr. Jen, I now know why!


On our weekly Seawall walk on Saturday, Jen informed me that apparently there is a genetic difference between people like she and I, to whom cilantro tastes like pure freshness, and cilantro haters, to whom it tastes, apparently, like soap. My lazy attempt at finding the name of said gene1 came up empty, but apparently there is research that shows a high concordance rate for cilantro loving or hating between sets of identical twins compared to sets of fraternal twins, which suggests a genetic link.

So, the ongoing fight that Kalev and I have2  – me saying cilantro is pure deliciousness and him saying it is disgusting – should actually be reframed, since what we are arguing about is not the “taste of cilantro” but rather about two different tastes of cilantro. It’s almost like me saying, “Candy is delicious!” and him replying “No, soap tastes disgusting!”  Of course I wouldn’t like cilantro if it tasted like soap to me!  And so I’m really glad that it doesn’t! And I’m actually kind of sad for cilantro haters that they will never know the pure joy that is the taste of cilantro as I experience it!

Image Credit: Posted by Michael Lehet on Flickr.

  1. i.e., reading Wikipedia and then a Google search in which I read a couple of links, didn’t find the answer immediately, and then gave up []
  2. I have this argument with other cilantro haters too – I just have it more often with Kalev because I talk to him (and have meals with him) more often than other anti-cilantro peeps []

14 Responses to Why You Either Love or Hate Cilantro

  1. Dan says:

    I LOVE CILANTRO. Caps required.

  2. Beth says:

    Thanks for the link! Are you cilantro hater, Darren, or just a fan of their site?

  3. I LOVE IT TOO. Yes, I’m yelling.

    Apparently, I have the cilantro-loving gene and the one that allows me to smell asparagus pee. Lucky me! 🙂

  4. Beth says:

    I have the asparagus one too. You win some, you lose some!

  5. Michael Griffin says:

    i have heard the same thing about green peppers….

  6. Beth says:

    There are people who don’t like green peppers??

  7. Krista Lee says:

    When Linda was little she would chose green peppers over ice-cream;

  8. Beth says:

    I love that all the cilantro lovers are yelling. It really exemplifies how passionate people are about cilantro loving!

  9. Beth says:


  10. Dan says:

    I too have the asparagus gene. Perhaps they are correlated? A study that is begging to be conducted?


    Apparently there’s a similar gene mutation that makes some people think Brussel sprouts taste like vomit.

  12. Beth says:

    I don’t like Brussel sprouts because they look like miniature cabbages and any vegetable that looks like a mini-version of a vegetable creeps me out (see also: baby corn.)

  13. Silky SIenna says:

    How about this: I used to HATE cilantro- the smell of it, god forbid to actually put it in my mouth! Then I entered menopause a couple years ago, and now I love cilantro. I crave it fresh on my salads, too. It’s a beautiful thing. I switched teams.

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