Let’s talk about cilantro. I hate it. Let me be very clear: I hate cilantro more than any other ingredient. I’m a vegetarian and I’d rather eat raw meat than have cilantro anywhere near my food. Not everyone is on the same page with me about cilantro, though. One day I was ranting about how much I hated cilantro, and my sister mentioned that a lot of people think cilantro tastes like soap. So, in order to understand more about my people (and those pro-cilantro), I looked into why cilantro is so polarizing.

Apparently, cilantro’s smell is made up of a bunch of different substances, and some of those are “modified fragments of fat molecules called aldehydes." Aldehydes are also found in soaps and lotions. So why is it soapy to some and not others? It looks like people who hate cilantro have a group of olfactory-receptor genes (called OR6A2) that pick up on the smell of the aldehydes in cilantro.

The Science

Not only does science back up my claim that cilantro can be soapy and gross, but some famous chefs agree with me. In 2002, Julia Child told Larry King that she didn't like cilantro. Ina Garten also dislikes the herb. The Barefoot Contessa's guacamole recipe doesn't include cilantro, and she told Vanity Fair that she disliked "passive-aggressive people and cilantro." Preach, Ina, preach.

Lastly, I want to discuss some foods that cilantro ruins.


Emma Veber

Look at all that cilantro! I feel nauseous and angry just looking at it. Why must cilantro be used in such large amounts and in such huge pieces? 


salad, chicken, cilantro
Taylor Bills

I bought a salad kit from the grocery store a couple weeks ago and I was super excited to eat it. I try to have a positive outlook on the world, so I did not expect to be attacked by my salad and the unnecessary amount of cilantro that was in the kit. I didn't notice there was cilantro in it until I took a bite, and then the whole salad was overtaken by this intruder.


parsley, herb, cilantro, coriander, vegetable, relish
Gabby Phi

Cilantro can be hidden and stirred into guacamole, or sometimes it's put in huge pieces on top. Either way, it's offensive to my tastebuds.

I think it's clear that cilantro makes me irrationally angry. But I feel better knowing that there is a genetic reason for this feeling, and I'm not alone in this fight.