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  • Writer's pictureMark Chabus

Embracing Diversity in Tastes

Cilantro, Love It or Leave It?

I can almost smell it now—the distinctive and fresh fragrance. That citrusy, herbal, and slightly peppery aroma leaves me in an enchanted trance. Okay, maybe that’s taking it a bit far, but the truth is I like it—really, really like it. But how can something that brings me so much joy, immediately repulse my fellow eaters? That’s right, cilantro, also known as coriander, is a, dare I say it, polarizing herb. Globally dividing palates with its uniquely distinct flavor. But how could such a friendly herb, one whose job is to grace our senses and emit a loving touch, stir up such controversy?

It must be that while some enjoy a sprinkle of this heavenly-scented herbaceous wonder, someone else is exasperatingly tasting soap. That’s right, they may even be convinced you’ve grated some fresh Irish Spring atop their meal. Gross! And as it turns out, it’s not just because they were dropped as a baby. It’s because of their genetics—see, we can still blame their parents after all. But now that the blame game has ceased and there’s no more fun to be had, let’s discuss the actual reasons why cilantro can taste like soap to some (poor unfortunate souls).

As luck or un-luck would have it, a small percentage of people actually possess a certain genetic variation that causes them to detect aldehydes. These people perceive these

aldehydes as metallic or soapy tasting, and that’s linked to the deviation in their olfactory receptors. This means that for those people, cilantro is literally inedible. So now I’ve gone from judging them to actually feeling bad for them. Turns out compassion camp was money well spent.

The reason I bring this up isn’t just to highlight the handicap of cilantro-haters. It’s more because of the analogy I get to squeeze out of these juicy herbs. You see, I had a coaching client today who has recently re-entered the dating world. Of course, even when we are “ready,” there seems to be a lot of emotions that bubble up to the surface. In this case, those emotions were apprehension and guilt associated with not liking a certain suitor, even though there was nothing inherently “wrong” with him. In the interest of anonymity, I will aptly rename him Herb. Ah, poor Herb. So this is where I get to introduce the parallel that shows up in the realm of relationships. Much like cilantro, your date might just not excite your taste buds, and that, my friend, is absolutely okay.

You see, the genetic link to not liking cilantro shows us how different we all really are. And just like in the case of cilantro, you may never actually grow to like it, even though he’s really a “nice” herb. It's a great reminder that our personal consciousness affects how we see and experience the world. So, the important point I want to make here is that some people love cilantro, and some people just simply do not. We all have different tastes and preferences, and there are thousands of reasons why. But truly the most important lesson is that there is nothing to feel bad about. Be honest, tell Herb how you are feeling; he can handle it. And next time you are heading up to the fixings bar at your local taqueria, pick the flavors that suit you and leave the rest for someone else. Oh, and while you’re at it, leave the guilt there too.

In closing, focus on what you enjoy in a partner and become the chef of your dating life. Discern the desired "ingredients" that align with personal tastes and values. It’s not about adhering to societal norms or conforming to external expectations; it’s about embracing your authenticity and honoring your personal preferences. The dating world, like the culinary landscape, offers an array of choices. Some may prefer the bold flavors of spontaneity, while others savor the nuanced subtleties of stability. The key lies in understanding your unique palate and unapologetically choosing a partner who resonates with that. You know what you like—so just own it, love it, and embrace it. And for God's sake, cut Herb loose; it's thyme.

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