Each summer and most winters, I sign up for a share in a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program. CSAs allow consumers like me to support local farms and receive regular deliveries of fresh farm goods. I’m a member at Canvas Ranch on Tomales Road. Not only do I get tasty foods, but I also get to participate in a variety of fun farm events, like pumpkin picking for Halloween! For more information on CSA programs, click here.
One of the reasons I enjoy getting a CSA share is the exposure to foods I may not buy on my own. Turnips and sorrel come to mind. That being said, there is just one real food that I cannot stand to eat – cilantro! To me, cilantro tastes like soap. Interestingly enough my boyfriend has the same sudsy feel about the herb. I know, I know… I can hear the cilantro-lovers crying out now: how do you make salsa?! Well, parsley is quite nice. So, guess what arrived in our CSA this week? Of course, cilantro. Not one to waste good food, I stuck it in a vase of water, tucked in a few flowers from my yard and proclaimed to my boyfriend what a beautiful floral backdrop we received in our CSA this week.
We aren’t the only ones repelled by cilantro. Julia Child agreed with us – she is quoted as saying “I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor.” On the cilantrophile side of the debate, there is a Cilantro page on Facebook with 9,279 likes as of this morning. This got me wondering. Why do we have such strong feelings about cilantro? As it turns out, people are researching this curious question. Charles J. Wysocki is a neuroscientist who studies smells and why people smell what they do. The current theory is cilantro-haters like myself may be missing a receptor gene that detects the alleged pleasant fresh smell that cilantro-lovers croon over. Hmmm, since it’s unlikely I will mutate smell receptor genes any time soon, I guess cilantro will just have to continue as a floral centerpiece at our house.