Sunday, November 18, 2007

Ode to Cilantro

I love the smell of fresh cilantro. It makes me excited for whatever I’m about to cook, and inspires me to travel more.

Okay, I know some of you have this strange inability to eat cilantro because it tastes weird to you. (So sorry! How much you miss!) But for the rest of us, cilantro is such a beautiful thing. As I was cooking the other day I commented to my roommate that cilantro is really a key ingredient for Mexican cooking; it makes a huge difference in getting an authentic flavor. She understood completely.

When I studied in Mexico some of the students I met had never encountered it before. One conversation about it (translated into English) went like this:
Other Student: What is this green herb I see on everything?
Me: How can you not know what it is?! It’s cilantro, of course.
Other student: Okay… so, what’s it called in English?
Me: Cilantro!
It wasn’t until I moved to the East Coast that I found out that lots of people call cilantro coriander. In fact, if you look up cilantro on the definition says “See coriander.” If you look up coriander there’s an actual definition. Funny, cause in Cali I never heard of coriander except in relation to the ground up powder from the seeds. (Similarly, I discovered that garbanzo beans are called chickpeas here. How very odd!)

The next time you’re trying to cook Mexican food, remember the cilantro. Take it from this Californian – it makes a world of difference.

1 comment:

Syana said...

OMGGG finally someone that appreciates cilantro like me!

I mean everytime I cook something all my friends go " ohh noo there's cilantro in it right? eeuw"

WTH?? I don't get people!

LOL and it's weird you call it cilantro aswell. It's actually spanish! Nobody understands except if you say coriander.