To hear some tell it, cilantro is the most vile herb in existence. Cilantrophobes, as we like to call them, avoid the popular garnish like the plague – and in their opinion, for good reason! According to behavioral neuroscientist Charles J. Wysocki of the Monell Chemical Senses Center, this hatred might be rooted in a genetic trait. When he conducted a study on identical and fraternal twins and their opinion on cilantro, he found that more than 80% of identical twins agreed with their sibling in terms of liking or hating the herb. In contrast, only 42% of fraternal twins agreed on its likability, which indicates that a strong aversion to cilantro might be related to genetics.
People who detest cilantro often refer to its soapy, dirty, or metallic taste – but believe it or not, a recent study suggests that it’s really more about smell. A 2012 genetic study that surveyed approximately 30,000 people resulted in the determination that two genetic variants linked to perception, one of which is an olfactory gene, are the culprits. These genes impact an individual’s perception of the herb, filling them with ceaseless cilantro animosity. It’s a shame, we think! In our humble opinion, cilantro is an excellent herb – especially when it comes to Mexican food – and it most certainly doesn’t taste like soap!