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Cilantro Preferences May Be Genetic

For every cilantro lover who basks in the bright, citrusy flavor of the herb, there's an equal and opposite voice that denounces its soapy, overly floral scent and taste. So why is cilantro (and not, parsley, oregano, or sage) so polarizing? At least one scientist believes that preference for cilantro may be a genetic trait.

Behavioral neurologist Charles J. Wysocki studied identical and fraternal twins' preferences for the herb and found that while more than 80 percent of the identical twins gave similar ratings on the "pleasantness" of cilantro, only 42 percent of the fraternal twins had like assessments. He also believes that disgust for cilantro comes from its odor, rather than its taste.

Wysocki cautioned that he hasn't run enough analysis of data to come to a firm conclusion, but this finding could explain a lot of things. After all, the Internet is rampant with anticilantro communities, from websites like I Hate Cilantro to opposition groups on Facebook, and even Julia Child wouldn't touch cilantro. What do you think of Wysocki's biological theory?


mattafer mattafer 6 years
My husband and I HATED it, it tasted like bleach or cleaner to us. But it has grown on us and now we like it. :) Still hate bleu cheese, tho, it tastes like cleaner!
haroldlasuncion haroldlasuncion 6 years
I wanted to know if cilantro haters also dislike the taste of alcohol. Can somebody say something about it?
kayleigh83 kayleigh83 8 years
GROSS!! ugh i hate cilantro, absolutely disgusting stuff... tastes soapy and bitter and effectively ruins everything it's in
smileyface smileyface 8 years
My best friend hates cilantro and always says that it tastes like soap. I don't get that, I've never picked up on that taste. This is interesting.
vickibug vickibug 8 years
The way cilantro is being described sounds wonderful, I love anything citrus, but to me it will always taste like soap. It's really annoying to go to a Mexican restaurant though and everything is covered in cilantro.
pharm_chick pharm_chick 8 years
i love cilantro as a garnish on everything (except desserts), and in chutneys as well. idk i think its an indian thing lol
daizyk70 daizyk70 8 years
It IS a grape vine, ha! I absolutely LOVE cilantro. Cannot get enough. I feel bad for those who don't like it:(
hkdkat hkdkat 8 years
I love cilantro, but it tastes like soap to my boyfriend, so I use parsley as a replacement in most recipes.
merie33 merie33 8 years
Never thought of the soap taste.. I can't stand the smell of it at all.. I'm kind of indifferent when it comes to the taste...take it or leave it
suziryder suziryder 8 years
Word up, BridgetJones. That's definitely a grape vine. :P (I love cilantro!)
PinkUnicorn PinkUnicorn 8 years
This is really interesting. My entire family LOOOOOOVES cilantro, we put it in everything and in ridiculous quantities (i.e. recipe calls for 2 tbsp, so we put in 1 cup). Luckily my fiance loves it too, because if he didn't I honestly don't think we'd be getting married. My love for cilantro runs too deep!
shoneyjoe shoneyjoe 8 years
Cilantro tastes like soap. Blah. And I'm the only one in the family who thinks so.
Kimpossible Kimpossible 8 years
I actually like the taste of cilantro but it upsets my stomach something awful so I avoid it whenever possible.
BridgetJones BridgetJones 8 years
I'm pretty sure that picture is of a grape vine, not cilantro... Anyone agree? ;)
bbkfk8 bbkfk8 8 years
My mother is a person who puts cilantro on everything, and growing up I really hated it. Like for the reasons mentioned, I thought it tasted bitter, or soapy, but liked the smell. Now, I love the smell and taste and put it in many of my dishes. I love the almost citrus-y taste and the clean flavor that it brings to a dish.
ilanac13 ilanac13 8 years
it's funny for the longest time i didn't mind it, and now if i taste it, or smell it, my entire meal is ruined.
simplyfab87 simplyfab87 8 years
I hate cilantro. Yuck! Most of my family does too
laurelm laurelm 8 years
I hate cilantro and think it is soapy too. I just read the genetic component suggestion in this month's Bon Appetit and thought it was very interesting and makes alot of sense. Because it def seems people love or hate it!
bplane bplane 8 years
this is pretty interesting. my dad hated cilantro, my mom liked it, and i love it...all my traits follow my dads usually, so this is interesting
j0j0y j0j0y 8 years
I've tried and tried to like cilantro... but I can't stand it! The smell of it makes me sick and even if you try to hide it ANYTHING I can tell. It usually ruins a meal for me. I feel like such a brat for sending things back but something about it makes my stomach turn :/
eowynnie eowynnie 8 years
I don't like cilantro! It just tastes too... strong for me and I usually gag when I try to eat it. Which makes me sad, since I love food! I've given it dozens of tries over the years, thinking that maybe SOMEDAY I'll grow to like it (or even tolerate it being in my food), but if it's genetic, then that explains a lot!
eshellmoyer eshellmoyer 8 years
I had a bio professor who said this and I've always thought it might be the case. The spectrum of cilantro haters in people that I have known (which admittedly not a very broad sample) really closely follows the pattern of tasters and non tasters of phenylthiocarbamide (PTC). Tasters of PTC find it unbelievably bitter and cannot stand it perhaps like chiaramw hates cilantro. Heterozygous tasters find it to be slightly bitter, which perhaps correlates to soapy tasters of cilantro. And non tasters find that PTC has no taste at all. Unable to taste the bitter compounds in cilantro, non-tasters would have a higher likelihood of adoring it. I am a PTC non-taster and I loooooove cilantro, btw, which may have colored my (ever so scientific) hypothesis just slightly. For lovers of cilantro, try making shrimp scampi with cilantro instead of parsley. It is great.
doogirl doogirl 8 years
I love cilantro, my twin does too! But why is cilantro such a hot topic? Not everyone likes everything! Those who don't like cilantro just make it more available to me!
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