Why Does Cilantro Taste Like Soap? (to some people)

I love cilantro. I would put gobs of it in every meal if I could.

I recently found out from a friend, though, that there is a large group of people in this world who can't stand the taste of cilantro. They say it tastes like soap or copper and ruins any dish it's in.

Why such a great divide?

It has to do with the range of smells that each person can experience. Cilantro, like any herb, is actually made up of a bunch of different flavors and scents. One of them is a compound called "unsaturated aldahydes", which happens to taste like soap.

Basically "cilantro lovers" don't notice the bad compound's taste because it's overwhelmed by the good "cilantro" scent. "Cilantro haters", though, aren't capable of detecting the "cilantro" scent, so all they smell (and therefore taste) is the nasty compound.

Crazy, huh?

For a fuller explanation of the experiment, check out an NPR story here.

1 comment:

  1. awesome, this makes me feel so much more evolved than the cilantro-haters. yeehaw