One of the most polarizing issues in North America today is cilantro.
Experts say that when it comes to the bitter cilantro herb, most people have a “love it” – or “absolutely can’t stand it” – attitude. And both sides have websites, Facebook pages, and even t-shirts for sale that say “I heart” or “I hate” cilantro. Even Julia Child famously told Larry King she didn’t like cilantro.
So, why is cilantro so divisive? A new study found that it all boils down to genetics.
University of Toronto researchers surveyed 14,000 volunteers from a wide range of backgrounds. They completed a questionnaire that asked them to rate random foods, and identify their heritage.
The result? Researchers found a strong link between volunteers’ ethnicity, and their opinion about cilantro.
For example, the biggest cilantro haters were people with East Asian roots, followed by Caucasians, and people of African descent.
Meanwhile, the study found that cilantro fans tended to have a Middle Eastern, or Hispanic background.So, why does genetics determine whether or not you like cilantro? Experts believe it’s because certain cultures expose children to it at an earlier age and more often, so they’re more likely to develop a taste for it and learn to love it. For people who don’t like it, it’s a primal reaction to something unfamiliar – and your body makes you think it’s revolting so you won’t eat it and potentially be poisoned by an unfamiliar food.