Coriander. Chinese Parsley. The Devil’s Dill. God’s Basil. Oregano’s Mustard Grass Cardamom. No matter the name it goes by, when it comes to nachos there is no more divisive a topping than the famous/infamous CILANTRO. One could argue that lettuce (acceptable in some nacho situations) or black olives (never to be used due to tasting like an old ashtray) are controversial as well, but as you can see I just resolved those arguments. No, cilantro, an herb disliked by even the great Julia Child herself, is a problem not quite so easily resolved.
It’s estimated that anywhere from 1 in 10 to 1 in 20 people have “issues” with cilantro. If you’re from a country that doesn't predominantly use the herb, your likelihood of hatred doubles or triples. If you don’t like it and have a twin they are 80% more likely to loath it as well. Some (those with taste, class, and distinction) enjoy the zesty, lemony-limey flavor, while others (complete monsters) think cilantro tastes like soap or spiders. The latter because people who dislike cilantro are the same kind of miscreants that know how spiders taste, but the former is due to the fact that the same genes that gives soap a flavor also does the same for the herb. Can you guess where this is going?
SPOILER ALERT: Nope, not a gypsy curse, it’s your genes. In particular, the olfactory receptor genes which are responsible for your human senses of taste and smell are to blame. Scientists have linked mutations in the OR6A2 gene to a dislike of the herb, but there are also studies showing that rascally TAS2R50, wily TRPA1, and malingering GNAT3 may play into it as well. As with most things genetic, the exact science is still TBD.
So for now, in a world without advanced gene therapy, if you don’t like cilantro you are a monstrosity of the highest order. I don’t want to throw around words like “Abomination”, or “Tasteless Monster”, or even “Unloved by Plant Life”, but that’s exactly what you are. Hopefully you can come to peace with this, but in the meantime there’s just more of that delicious cilantro for me.