Thursday, November 29, 2012

The Cilantro Gene

Everyone has different palettes and it’s common for people to have widely different lists of what they like or don’t like to eat. For example, I can’t stand mayonnaise and have never really understood why. The Cute Gardener hates some white foods from bananas to coconuts to marshmallows. We both tend to agree that our food dislikes probably stem from childhood traumas or instances when we were forced to eat versions of these things cooked badly or force fed to us simply too much in our early lives.

But one thing that has always confused me is the true hatred that some people feel towards cilantro. It’s one of those herbs that have no shades of gray. You either love it wildly and viciously (as do I) or it causes such a recoiling sense of dismay (as in the Cute Gardener.) Recently, I stumbled upon news that some people actually have a gene that causes cilantro disgust. That is the only way to explain why someone like culinary queen Julia Childs could possibly hate the stuff. I think she called it one of the most offensive things ever.

Needless to say I do not have the gene. I could shove a whole bunch of the leafy stuff into my mouth at random for its sprightly perfume and the way my mouth instantly feels soothed by the freshness of its crunch. It’s as if my whole entire body perks up and takes deep breaths in the presence of the stuff. But because so many people in my close tribe do not share my lust (perhaps proving the old adage that opposites like puzzle pieces do indeed attract) it is an herb that I oftentimes find myself eating alone.

This week I made myself a big pan of my favorite cilantro tomato sauce with some San Marzanos fresh from the garden and was glad I didn’t have to share it with anyone anyways.


1 cup chopped cilantro
8 diced San Marzano tomatoes
1 small yellow onion
3 cloves minced garlic
Olive oil
4 ounces whole-wheat spaghetti

Heat a saucepan on medium low heat and place in a tablespoon of olive oil and onions. Put on a lid and sweat the onions for 8 minutes until translucent. Then add the garlic and sauté for one minute. Then add the tomatoes and bring to a simmer. Simmer for about 15 minutes until tomatoes start to break down and integrate into sauce. Meanwhile cook the whole-wheat spaghetti. After tomatoes simmer for 15 minutes, remove from heat, season with salt and pepper and then add the cilantro making sure to blend it all in evenly. Serve on top of pasta and enjoy!

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