Why Some People Can't Stand Cilantro

©. ACS/YouTube

I taste heaven, you taste soap ... here's the science behind the great cilantroversy.

I was shocked, shocked, when slowly, one by one, people whom I generally respected revealed their dislike of cilantro. Dismay, disquiet, disbelief! How could anyone not become weak in the knees when presented with what I think of as human catnip?

Not long ago the truth came out when scientists told us that, in fact, some 4 to 14 percent of the population can't stand the beautiful Coriandrum sativum, otherwise known as the world's most divisive herb. Thanks to a genetic mutation, these poor souls taste not a fresh and bright herbaceous bouquet, but soap or dirt – more in the line of raw fat, bugs, or cosmetics. So very sad.

So while I have known that there is a genetic explanation, I didn't really understand the mechanics of it until I watched the video below created by PBS Digital and ACS Reactions. It provides a good explanation. For those of you not on Team Cilantro, consider this your talking points ... and impress your naysaying cilantro-loving friends by boasting about your unique version of a single-nucleotide polymorphism in the area of chromosome 11!