Stay with me on this post because I’m about to reveal a reason why some people hate cilantro, and it has something to do with soap and lotion.
My father-in-law hates cilantro. He’s the first person I’ve ever met who can’t stand the plant.
I, on the other hand, love it.
Apparently, the cilantro aroma is created by “substances that are modified fragments of fat molecules called aldehydes,” says New York Times columnist Harold McGee. “The same or similar aldehydes are also found in soaps and lotions…”
McGee notes that cilantrophobes describe the smell of cilantro as “soapy” and for some it reminds them too much of hand lotion. It’s enough of a turn off for people (including Julia Child!) to detest the herb.
While we’re on the subject of aldehydes, when checking the ingredient list of your skin care products, be wary of “formaldehyde.” According to Wikipedia, formaldehyde is known to be a human carcinogen (and yes, it’s in skin care products). Traces of aldehyde, on the other hand, are found in some essential oils (like vanillin, according to Wiki), and are safe.
For you cilantrophobes, you can be trained to enjoy cilantro. McGee suggests making cilantro pesto. Perhaps that’ll be on the menu the next time my father-in-law comes to visit.