Review: Cilantro

No. Thank. You.

Wait… let me back up to provide some historical context.

Records of the usage and cultivation of cilantro date back to a time pre-Ancient Egypt but it was first brought to the British colonies of North America in the mid-1600s. Relatively large-scale commercial cultivation of cilantro coincided with the increasing popularity of pranking or “cheeky play” as it was called at the time. A little-known fact is that the term “oldest trick in the book” originally referred to the practice of hiding a small bed of cilantro underneath a dinner guest’s beef steak or mutton chop and everyone having a laugh as the victim’s face turned sour from the surprising acridity of the bite. “Ya been garnished, bitch!” The chef would exclaim.

Unfortunately, the gag became so commonplace that people began to associate the horrid taste of cilantro with a pleasant time and a good laugh. Subsequently, the American palate became accustomed to the flavor of soapy grass and now y’all think it’s delicious.

Look, I get that some of you like a hint of dish detergent flavor in your foods but it’s getting out of hand. Why is this stuff in everything!? Why, God!? I’ve actually asked several cilantro apologists this very question and received two main arguments consistently:

  1. “If you add the right amount you won’t even notice it.” – I’m not a goddamn chemist! What type of shit is that? I’m supposed to work with this doomsday garnish that destroys your food if you overapply? Also, how about this: if you won’t notice it when you add the right amount then why the fuck are you putting it in there? Also, how about this: If you don’t notice it when you add the right amount then the right amount is fucking zero.
  2. “You like it, you just don’t know you like it.” – Ok Confucius, I don’t need a meal Sherpa, thanks. Why are y’all trying so hard to sneak this stuff into my food? It must be like whatever the hell is going on in that movie ‘A Cure For Wellness’ – I haven’t seen the movie but I assume it involves sneaking cilantro into the patients’ rations.

It’s a damn booby-trap garnish is what it is. Listen, if there’s a little sprig of green on top of my pasta or fish or whatever, it’s parsley – no matter what it is: dill, basil, thyme, watercress. It’s all parsley to me, homie… except when it’s fucking cilantro. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve taken an irresponsible fork portion of a delicious meal into my mouth only to discover that I’ve “garnished” myself. Yeah, I saw the green shit on there – it was parsley. I was 100% sure it was parsley. And, yeah I guess I could’ve examined the greenery a little more closely but I’m not a fucking botanist. The chef took all that time to prepare and season this wonderful branzino with the white wine sauce and all that, then at the last possible second decides to turn the plate into Russian Roulette with some pungent swamp weed.

Try to justify it all you want, folks. I could sprinkle a little dandruff on your mashed potatoes and you probably wouldn’t even notice but that doesn’t mean you want it on there. As for my review, I suppose I could give cilantro some points just based on how many folks love it and its prevalence in delicious Mexican cuisine but I didn’t and that’s my journey.

Verdict: 0 out of 10

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