C is for Cilantro, or is it Coriander?

White flowers of cilantro look as delicate as lace in flower beds. The zinnia also pictured came up from seed from last year's planting.

White flowers of cilantro look as delicate as lace in flower beds. The zinnia came up from seed from last year’s planting.

Cilantro, you either love it or you hate it.

Researchers are actually studying why that statement is true. The Huffington Post refers to a few different studies focusing on the chemical compounds of Cilantro, and if in fact our genes have anything to do with the polarity of opinions. Most haters liken the taste and smell of Cilantro to soap. My elementary-school friend swore it tasted like body odor smelled. That’s a hard image to shake. I cannot even look at Cilantro to this day without thinking of Aimee.

But I still haven’t decided yet if I love it or hate it, so I keep planting it. That, and my husband likes it (although I’ve never seen him go to the garden and cut it to use for cooking). And, of course, if the bees had a say, the Cilantro would stay. And so it will.

What a loyal plant Cilantro is regardless. All it asks for is full sun and moist soil. In return, Cilantro will give you leaves, seeds, flowers and roots to eat, use, and enjoy, all with a slightly different flavor.

Cilantro isn’t racist, either. It performs equally well in any ethnic dish from Asia to Mexico to the Mediterranean. Nor does it mind what you call it: Cilantro or Coriander. In the United States, Cilantro is most definitely Cilantro. The Brits, however, call it Coriander. Tomato or Tomato? Cilantro isn’t quite crazy, but it certainly suffers from dueling personalities: the soapy, pungent leafy self, and the floral, lemony seedy self.

I believe the identity crisis will end soon. The UK will once again bend to our hegemony and start calling Coriander leaves by their proper Cilantro name. We seem to already agree that the seeds will keep their Coriander name.

They don't care what it's called as long as it's dinner.

They don’t care what it’s called as long as it’s dinner.

About master kindergardener

Santa Clara County Master Gardener since 2007, Mom since 2009, Gardener since birth.
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One Response to C is for Cilantro, or is it Coriander?

  1. Aimee says:

    Ha!! Still hate it. 🙂

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