Archive for the ‘Cilantro Hate Nuance’ Category
But getting annoyed is not, you know, a trait I’m interested in nurturing. I’m self-aware enough to know that an over abundance of getting-annoyed-ness has more to do with me than with the world around me, that I have some power in getting annoyed less and that getting annoyed less would probably have the effect of, rather intuitively, me being less annoyed, which seems pretty good.
So I’ve done a bit of science on this situation. Having a predisposition to getting annoyed, I’m going to need somewhere to channel this propensity. And that’s where you, neglected cilantro hate blog, come in: nothing is more reliably, even comfortingly, annoying than cilantro, and unlike say republicans hellbent on stopping health care reform, cilantro being you know an herb, as opposed to near-half the American population, seems like a healthier, easier and altogether more fun place to direct my annoyance.
There are other reasons, too, why I’ve come to think revisiting this blog might mitigate this annoyance phase (don’t we all live in phases? I know I do.). Principally, I very much miss writing and not just writing, but writing about something that is so uniquely mine, not the hate of cilantro–we’re a large, vocal group–but the whatever unique blend of memoir, personal philosophy and of course cilantro hate encounters this blog evolved into. In no uncertain terms: my blog is way better than ThisIsWhyYou’reFat, however fun it is (I guess), but rather than be annoyed with how much better my blog is, it seems a better use of time to write my blog than be annoyed that other people are writing (popular) stupid ones. With that I bring you….
1.) Thank you Vanessa for your tip on McDonald’s’ new salad, the Southwest Chicken Salad, which features cilantro lime chicken and some sort of Ranch dressing with cilantro in it. Now, call me a snob if you will but Ranch dressing isn’t my first choice, and McDonald’s chicken belongs in a group (with say haggis) of “meats I don’t want to eat” (As a side note, I’m dabbling in veganism at the moment), but McDonald’s: consider yourselves removed from my cilantro safe-restaurant list, a blow certainly as detrimental as Fast Food Nation, Super Size Me and Food Inc. combined (oh wait, McDonald’s is doing better than ever?)
2.) This morning I had a falafel platter at Miriam in Brooklyn that came with a green tahini sauce. I of course asked if it was green from the addition of parsley or cilantro. “Both,” said the waitress, “but you really can’t taste the cilantro.”
“But, I really hate it.”
“So do I, you can’t taste it.”
“Is it on the side?”
“Cool, I’ll try it.”
Guess what? I couldn’t taste it. I didn’t eat much of it, but I really didn’t taste it. This leaves me wondering if there was actually cilantro in it or if the amount was so small that even I couldn’t taste it (this doesn’t seem likely, haters know even the slightest amount is totally egregious). In any case, the waitress was surprisingly right, and it was great to not be annoyed.
When you say you hate cilantro–you might as well say you hate the Virgin Mary herself–it is that offensive to those that love, or even those that kind of like.
I recently had this experience on an conference call:
Me: “Oh, you have a window box garden. That’s tremendous. Tell me, what in it grows sir?”
Me: “Gross. Nothing else?”
Sir: “No, just cilantro, it’s a limited garden as yet.”
Conference Call Chorus: “I love cilantro.” “Me too. Who hates cilantro?” “It’s so refreshing.” “Yeah. It’s one of my favorite herbs.” “Exactly. It’s really good.” “Who doesn’t like cilantro.“
Me: “I HATE CILANTRO is who… I have a whole blog about.”
Me: “No, for real….”
I would never begrudge the masses their relishing in something (they find to be) delicious of course. What’s funny, amazing, something to love as it were, is how impassioned the cilantro lovers are. I hear what you’re saying–I too, my lot, are similarly impassioned. Perhaps. But not without irony dammit. Have you seen the I Hate Cilantro site? It is irony incarnate. Those that like are so, well, genuine! But no need to judge, I’ve said my peace about cilantro lovers in the past…we all have our crosses to bear.
What’s fun is in an otherwise ordinary meeting, or say it’s a nice brunch looking for a little culinary discourse, or say it’s a conversation with a stranger in the checkout aisle you wish you could connect with (if only to argue)–hating cilantro is immediate grounds for a kind of good-hearted outrage-turned-understanding: We feel the same way, just but it’s the opposite, or something. Anyway, it’s fun to see people get so riled up about something they probably hadn’t given a ton of (any) thought to until it was suggested someone might hate it. Many times I feel I’m the first cilantro hater people have met. Cross to bear? No, it’s my privilege and honor.
Well, we can’t have that, can we?
I remember the feeling, when a certain friend of mine named James had quit writing in his always entertaining blog, I went through all, not some, of the 5 stages of grief. To review, they are: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression and Acceptance. I have accepted that my friend James’s “career” has replaced his “blog” (indeed he did just help to elect our new president–an achievement that’s sheer awesomeness is ironic retort-proof, an achievement in its own right), but I cannot accept that mine (career) has replaced mine (blog). (It’s funny, I was complaining to my boyfriend how much David Foster Wallace’s () annoyed me, and yet...) Please loyal fans, go through but 4 stages of grief, rest on your depressive laurels and be ready for what I have to say next–I’m back and so too is my deep, serious hate of cilantro.
Perhaps an anecdote is in order.
Recently, in the blogless month of October, I took my first excursion abroad. I went to Paris, which is apparently the most touristed place in the world. Who knew? Apparently my friend’s father who was nice enough to share his apartment with us for a week, apparently he knew, pretty awesome.
But it’s what Paris is not, of course, that makes it awesome. Paris is not a place one goes to feast on cilantro, though it disappointingly if not completely predictably is now present in the newer, nicer restaurants, the kind that are just like the newer nicer restaurants in New York except the menus are in French and the people are too. Since all the fancy New York places are run by chefs from France, well, it’s like buying Chanel shoes in Paris–sure you can, but what’s the fucking point? Which is to take nothing away from probably the best meal I’ve ever had and certainly the most expensive, the 12+ course affair at Pierre Gagnaire–Yummo! It was a pleasure to explain in broken French, oh who am I kidding, it was in English, when the waiter asked:
“Do you have any dietary restrictions, things you won’t eat, etc.?”
“Just hold the cilantro, please.”
“But you don’t have a problem with say foie gras, or frog legs or lightly poached oysters?”
“God know, what do I look like a freak?”
“Thank you madam, Chef will be most happy to prepare your meal sans cilantro”
And so the meal was divine and, my friend Margaret did have a course featuring cilantro, while mine sported sorrel–cilantro haters really do win sometimes.
But it isn’t just the Michelin 3-stars that know how to cater to cilantro hate, it’s more importantly the bistros, the cafes, the brasseries (the real French food if you ask me) where you don’t even have to ask Chef to prepare you a special course, there simply isn’t any of the stuff in the house to begin with. So thank you Pierre, thank you nameless cafe and thank you Paris for nine days without an email, without a worry and without a trace of cilantro.
How’s this for a mantra: What would Julia do?
If you’re a fan of Julia Child, you probably don’t need me to explain to you why you are. You probably like her easy camera presence, her unpretentious instruction of classic French technique, her contagious lust for life, her general bad-assness, and, if your like me, her unapologetic liberal politics and unique brand of feminism. Truly, she was a magical woman so nearly unanimously revered in the culinary and general American communities, I’d have to wonder if you were a heartless freak not liking her.
What you might not know is that Julia Child hated cilantro; an excerpt from a Larry King interview transcript:
KING: A little bit. Any food you hate?
CHILD: Well, badly cooked food…
KING: I know that. But any – for example, George Bush and yours truly, I don’t want to couple it together, hate broccoli, hate it, wouldn’t go near it, wouldn’t touch it, what do you hate?
CHILD: I don’t like cilantro.
KING: What is that?
CHILD: It’s an herb that it has a kind of a taste that I don’t like.
KING: Is there an everyday food you hate, like broccoli?
CHILD: No, I don’t think so. I mean, if it’s properly cooked and properly served, I can’t think of anything I hate.
KING: So you’ll eat…
CHILD: Except cilantro and arugula I don’t like at all.
CHILD: They’re both green herbs, they have kind of a dead taste to me.
KING: So you would never order it.
CHILD: Never, I would pick it out if I saw it and throw it on the floor.
Arugula, I like, but someone running the I Hate Arugula blog (doesn’t exist) can use that piece of trivia. It’s the cilantro I’m concerned with. I like how she describes the taste of cilantro as “dead.” That’s a much stronger descriptor than say, soapy. “Well, why don’t you like it?” “It tastes dead.” That’s a pretty good reason not to like something in my book. Hilarious. Another reason to love Julia: girlfriend was funny.
I think Julia Child hating cilantro sort of speaks for itself, so I’ll be brief today. But I can tell you this, in the spirit of doing as Julia would do, the next time I encounter unexpected cilantro, I will pick it out, throw it on the floor and smile, thinking of Julia doing the same.