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Cilantro: Love it or loathe it?


When you think of polarizing issues, hot-button political topics probably come to mind… but how about cilantro?  Few foods elicit such vehement disgust and unabashed love.

It's a key ingredient in a range of ethnic cuisines, including Mexican, Indian and Chinese. Yet entire communities, such as IHateCilantro.com and various Facebook pages, have formed simply to make their cilantro loathing heard.

Chef Ina Garten, aka "Barefoot Contessa," talks about her decision to become a chef after a career at the White House, her favorite fall meal and which pesky ingredient she despises.

Just in the past week, TODAY.com has interviewed two respected chefs who pronounced their dislike for the herb: “Top Chef” contestant Fabio Viviani and Ina Garten, host of Food Network's “Barefoot Contessa.”

While Fabio simply said he “hates” it, Ina insisted that her distaste was physiological (she might actually be right) and that love for food has nothing to do with it. “I like to say that Julia Child didn’t like cilantro, either!”

Chef Fabio Viviani of Bravo's "Top Chef" fame talks about his guilty pleasure food and which ingredient he despises.

What do you think?  Do you love or loathe cilantro? Here's what some TODAY.com staffers had to say:

“I think it’s awesome, but my wife cannot stand it – practically won’t let it in the house. Then again, she loves kale, which I wouldn’t even feed to a dog (and I don’t even like dogs).” – Alex Smith

“Hate. Absolutely hate. Tastes like toothpaste to me! The only time I will eat it if it is mixed with mayo to dilute the flavor (‘cause a lot of things come with cilantro mayo these days and I am too lazy to ask them to take it off.)” – Susan Houriet

“I hate it. I keep trying to like it because I love Mexican food, but there is something about the smell that turns me off immediately.”  – Mish Whalen

“LOVE IT! My guacamole is usually 60% cilantro, 40% everything else. I eat it when it’s a garnish, too. When no one’s looking.” – Amy DiLuna

“Not a fan. I think the taste overwhelms other flavors.” – Rachel Chamberlain

“I LOVE cilantro. It’s a huge part of South Indian cuisine, which I grew up eating. I think it adds a freshness to dishes, especially when it’s combined with something spicy. Nothing says home to me more than walking in the door and being hit with a waft of cilantro.” – Vidya Rao

“Put me in the LOVE category. I will occasionally order things just because they have cilantro in them. It’s the awesome-izer of herbs. A burrito without cilantro is just meh, but a burrito with cilantro is DELICIOUS. I want a burrito for lunch now.” – Rebecca Dube

“I’ll only eat it in carrot and coriander soup, which I grew to love in Scotland! Otherwise, I can’t really stand it in anything else.” – Lisa Granshaw

“Eeek. I can tolerate it, but not for long. It’s usually thrown into congee (a rice soup dish) and once it hits my palette, I have to drink some water to wash it down. Then it’s debatable in pasta dishes, where basil is preferred!” – Angelica Bonus

Now it's your turn. What category do you fall into, love or loathe?