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Cilantro question

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Cilantro question

Janet A. Zimmerman | Jan 19, 2002 12:16 PM

I know that many people have an aversion to cilantro; most of them describe it as tasting like soap (one friend of mine who thinks so but likes it anyway says it tastes like "good soap").

I've heard a couple of people in the food business give reasons for this: one has said that it's the presence of a specific enzyyme in the saliva that makes it taste that way; another merely said it's "genetic." Neither of these people is a scientist or has any particular background in food science, so I'm hesitant to accept their statements as fact. I've tried to no avail to find any references by any experts on the science of the phenomenon.

I'm not doubting that cilantro tastes like soap to some people; my question concerns the biology behind it.

Does anyone know (for certain, with citations) anything about these claims? Or can anyone suggest reference materials to check? (I've gone the Google search route and checked all my reference books including On Food and Cooking.) So far, I have lots of anecdotal accounts but nothing else. It's hardly a matter of life and death, but it would be a big help for a piece I'm working on.

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