Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Taste and Pairings

The world is divided in its perception of the taste of cilantro. To some, it is green, pleasant, and delicious. To others, it is like eating a bar of soap. I fall into the latter category.

A sprig of cilantro nestled in a bouquet of parsley is enough for me to consider tossing out the whole bunch. I pick it out of everything. When I order bun and I forget to ask them to hold the cilantro, I get a second plate on which to put all the cilantro that I pick out.

However this weekend I had a revelation. I went to Hanco's for a Vietnamese sandwich. I ordered the grilled chicken sandwich, spicy, and for once in my life, the cilantro was working for me.

The bread was crusty, the pickled carrots were the right kind of sweet, the chicken was perfectly tender, the spicy was impressively spicy indeed, and as an accompaniment, the cilantro was as it has been so frequently described to me: green, pleasant, and delicious. I was shocked. To the extent where I took a deep sip of my drink and chewed on a sprig without the spicy. It was soapy as ever.

So now, if I get into a situation in which all the food in the world is slathered in cilantro and no one will give me a second plate, I know what to do. Reach for a giant bottle of chili sauce.

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