Corianderthal Man

You may be genetically hardwired to dislike cilantro:

Julia Child loathed the stuff, one in six Nature staff (informally surveyed) says it tastes of soap, and a popular website collects haiku poems denouncing it. Now, researchers are beginning to identify genetic variants behind the mixed reception for the herb Coriandrum sativum, which North American cooks know as cilantro, and their British counterparts call coriander.

Now the last time I had a really good taste of soap, I’d earned it, having said something unkind (and almost unprintable) about one of the kids in the neighborhood, so I’m not making the connection here, but then I wasn’t one of the research subjects:

[R]esearchers led by Nicholas Eriksson at the consumer genetics firm 23andMe, based in Mountain View, California, asked customers whether coriander tasted like soap and whether or not they liked the herb. The researchers identified two common genetic variants linked to people’s “soap” perceptions. A follow-up study in a separate sub-set of customers confirmed the associations.

(Via this syaffolee tweet. She “loves the stuff.”)


  1. fillyjonk »

    13 September 2012 · 12:47 pm

    I must not be one of those people. I don’t get the soap taste but I hate it when someone uses too much of it on something, because the whole thing just tastes GREEN to me, and I don’t mean that in a good way.

    But possible other genetic weirdness: Mangoes taste like turpentine to me. And raw papaya tastes like soap. (Canned papaya, which has been cooked, does not, so I presume the “soap taste” is from one of the enzymes.)

  2. McGehee »

    13 September 2012 · 3:44 pm

    I don’t mind it myself, except in the salsa at Taco Mac — where at least the last time I ate there cilantro took the place of anything that might make it, you know, picante.

  3. Nicole »

    13 September 2012 · 7:15 pm

    I never used to like it but now I love it. I do know that guinea pigs won’t eat it. :)

  4. Jeffro »

    13 September 2012 · 11:26 pm

    I’m hooked.

  5. nightfly »

    14 September 2012 · 12:43 pm

    I’m confused. What if you make artisan soap out of cilantro?

  6. XRay »

    14 September 2012 · 9:01 pm

    “What if you make artisan soap out of cilantro?”

    I think you are on your way to your first million.

    Myself, I like Cilantro. Here where I live you can’t find Mexican food that doesn’t have it.

    “Mangoes taste like turpentine to me. ”

    Yes, exactly. But I’ve found, for me, that I just have to mentally overcome that first taste. Then it is good.

  7. Random stuff: | Accidental Verbosity »

    15 September 2012 · 12:36 pm

    […] relieved to see that cilantro-hate may not be a character flaw after […]

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