Sunday, May 22, 2011
Open Letter: Cilantro
Dear Food Makers/Sellers of America,
Please, please, PLEASE warn people when you are going to put cilantro in a dish. Particularly when it doesn’t belong there.
I mean, I have come to expect it if I’m ordering something Mexican, or even Indian or Vietnamese food, and I know to specifically ask for my food without cilantro. However, if I’m ordering something ostensibly Italian, or meat-and-potatoes style American, I expect it to be cilantro-free. It should be cilantro-free!
If you are trying to be all nouveau-fusion-cuisine by putting cilantro in everything, then you need to tell people so. You wouldn’t top a burger with liver and onions and assume that everyone will love it so much you don’t even have to mention the liver and onions part on your menu, would you? Then don’t put a pile of cilantro on top of (or into) my burger/sandwich/soup/wrap/pasta/whatever without mentioning it. If you choose to go that route, don’t be insulted when I come back to you and say, “Pardon me, but this appears to be covered in cilantro, rendering it completely inedible.” The liver and onions, at least, would be a whole lot easier to remove from the item.
I’m not asking you to omit cilantro from your menus in a wholesale fashion (though of course I’d be perfectly happy if you did). I’m just asking you to allow me to make informed choices about what I order for lunch. Please recognize that for a lot of us, even what you might consider a tiny sprig of cilantro will overpower every single other flavor in a dish with a disgusting chemical/metal/soap flavor.
Maybe it’s a good weight loss tactic. I doubt many people would overeat if you just did stuff to make all their food taste nasty. Perhaps you could market that.
Otherwise, please, just tell people when you’re putting cilantro in things.