Look, if I could consult Alex Brands, General Biology Post-doc/Fellow at Lehigh University, on everything I would, but I can’t. Luckily, however, the man has plainly laid it out on the table when it comes to the cilantro hate gene myth. So, he doesn’t call it a myth, as such, but he does say that the gene’s existence has NOT been proven:
A google groups search confirms that you are not alone, as there are plenty of
testimonials from people to whom cilantro tastes like soap. There is no mention of
this in the Genetics textbooks I checked, and I did a PubMed search of the primary
research literature, but that came up empty. The short answer is: no one knows (if
they do, they haven’t told anyone)
So, Mr. Brands does go on to say the soap gene thing would be a reasonable hypothesis, but that given the current state of science funding in this country it will probably never be proven. So, while it might seem like the post-doc is favoring the idea that there is such a gene, in the end he’s unable to find any conclusive evidence that there actually is one. So, what he calls a reasonable hypothesis, I’ll call pure conjecture.
Or worse. It seems to me that people want to think there is such a gene. That they’re born with a condition that prohibits them from enjoying something, that being born with such a condition makes it not their fault and ok somehow. But I wonder, what’s so wrong about not liking everything? I mean, hating cilantro so much makes everything else taste so much better; it’s all about juxtaposition. So, really, not liking just one thing (albeit a thing that is f#$&ing everywhere) is a relatively small price to pay for being able to then like everything else more. I HATE cilantro, but I LOVE oysters.
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Someone Who Isn’t Erin: Love the blog, but can’t get behind hating cilantro.
Erin: Thanks!; I don’t care.
SWIE: But, don’t you think other people should hate cilantro, want them to hate cilantro?
Erin: No, that’s the folks over at ihatecilantro.com (a group I will not be joining in the foreseeable future; although I do find their efforts impressive, their mission is not my own (there’s nuance to cilantro hate)).
SWIE: Word. You know, I hear there’s a cilantro hate gene…
Erin: Really, I hadn’t heard that.
SWIE: Oh yeah, totally. This guy I know was telling me th.. [interrupts]
Erin: I was kidding. I hear that a lot. I’m suspect.
SWIE: Because you’re paranoid?
Erin: No, because we’ve isolated, what, 4 genes? And one of those genes hates cilantro?
In the coming week or so I seek to prove this hypothesis through some research. Stay tuned.
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