Oh, cilantro. So green in color, fresh in flavor and polarizing in nature. I love you.
Our relationship has always been a strong one. I grew up surrounded by you, your smell filling my apartment each time my mom brought you home from the market and cut a bunch of you into one of her famous chopped salads. You have provided bursts of flavor to my otherwise boring, bland chicken breast and of course, are a staple in any batch of guacamole (anything that lends itself well to avocado is A-OK in my book.)
My love for you goes beyond just recipes. Your sharp yet earthy taste fascinates me. So much so, that on dating websites, when asked what I spend time thinking about, I have more than one time responded with "what cilantro tastes like to people who don't like it."
I have defended your honor amongst my friends, many of who, I'm sorry to say, feel strongly against you. "It's disgusting," they've declared, or "It tastes like dirt." Sometimes it feels like they're doing it on purpose, just to hurt my feelings. Even when I told them about my plans to write this ode, they recoiled. "Besides tasting like poisonous soap, whenever I accidentally chomp down on a surprise cilantro, I resent my love for avocado," one friend said.
I have included you in dishes you where might not necessarily belong. In omelettes, on pizza, often in cocktails. Sometimes it has worked beautifully, other times not so much. But I have never faulted you when your taste didn't quite blend in. Not even when I tried to make you work in my homemade chicken soup.
In fact, the only issue I've ever had with you is that you come in such a large bunch, and I am only one person. I can't possibly eat you all by myself. Often, despite my most dedicated efforts to make you last as long as possible in my fridge, I am forced to throw some of you away.
Why, I ask, must you always come in such a large bunch?
And yet, in spite of my wastefulness, I continue to buy your long, green, leafy stems in excess. As the saying goes, it's better to have had and lost you cilantro, than to never have you at all.
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