While some of us are known to ask for extra cilantro every time we hit up a Lower East Side taqueria, we understand that for some, cilantro is abhored. And research has concluded this preference is genetic. "Far from being a benign culinary herb, cilantro can be polarizing — many people love it while others claim that it tastes or smells foul, often like soap or dirt," a new study says.
Scientists at Cornell University surveyed some 30,000 people of varying backgrounds, and determined that "there is a genetic component to cilantro taste perception."
The cause? A cluster of olfactory receptor genes, which affect people's perception that cilantro has a soapy taste and smell. "We propose that OR6A2 may be the olfactory receptor that contributes to the detection of a soapy smell from cilantro in European population," researchers said.
So there you have it. Hating cilantro is genetic; so now you have a good excuse for warding off cilantro at every taqueria or pho restaurant in town. We wonder if hating rosemary is also a genetic thing.