“No Accounting For Taste”


My husband can’t stand the taste of cilantro(also known as coriander in other parts of the world from the U.S.). I love the taste and would like to include it in many dishes I cook. My compromise is to have a little bowl of it for me to add to my servings. It turns out that about 10% of the population worldwide thinks that cilantro tastes like soap. Knowing that certainly makes me sympathize with his dislike of the herb.

My granddaughter is a “supertaster,” a genetic trait that allows her to taste differences that I can’t notice. For instance she tasted the metallic effect of the muffin tin on her muffins, something I was oblivious to. She can distinguish between foods that taste identical to me. Many foods, therefore, are too strong for her to enjoy.

In addition to these inborn differences in taste, many of us have aversions to specific foods. I had a terrible response to the feeling of little tentacles in my mouth from the calamari in an otherwise wonderful paella. I haven’t tried it since. It’s the texture of lima beans that I can’t tolerate. My husband dislikes bananas for the same reason though he enjoys them baked in banana bread.

One of the most intriguing thing about tastes to me is the different reaction people around the world have to different foods. What one country loves–roasted insects–another country(here)finds disgusting. The meat consumed in the United States appalls Hindus. Raw fish appeals to many and horrifies others. Heaven help the family that brings two different eating cultures together!

Bon appetit, whatever you are eating in your home today.

28 thoughts on ““No Accounting For Taste”

  1. those with super senses are extraordinary. The gift that can be a burden. I dislike hard boiled egg white for the texture but eggs in all their other forms are fine. I do try most things though in Singapore I struggled to try durian because of its smell despite being assured it tasted great…


  2. I’m not a fan of fresh coriander either, I find it a little too pungent for my palate.
    My hubby doesn’t like cinnamon which I love, so I do what you do Elizabeth, I add it onto my serving separately.


  3. I like grape and banana flavors and banana bread, but not grapes or bananas. I have an outright aversion to peas, green beans and liver. And I share your aversion to lima beans. For all of the above, it’s the texture more than anything else.


  4. We use coriander leaves a lot. We also make chutney from them . We also use coriander seeds in different curries. Reading your post, I remembered my friend. They are non vegetarians and usually eat chicken and fish. They had been to Malaysia once and they were scared to eat non vegetarian food there because there they eat everything that moves !


    1. Here someone is trying to introduce crickets as a protein source. I am not sure they will have much success. I have heard of places where they eat a wide range of insects. Maybe Malaysia is one of those places.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. They’re trying to do that here also: cricket powder is now available at the grocery store. I don’t have a huge problem with the idea of eating insects, though. How far is it from, say, lobster or shrimp after all?

        Sage is like this about cruciferous veggies – broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, etc. I love them and she finds them hugely bitter. It wasn’t until just a few years ago that she learned that I wasn’t just eating it because I knew it was good for me. “Wait, you actually *like* this taste?” So interesting.


        1. I think so – I’ve heard of that sort of thing for other people also.

          Sage is good with shrimp in a salad but one time we went to a restaurant where they had large shrimp that had to be peeled and she couldn’t even look at them until I got rid of the legs, tail, head and shell.


  5. I am more averse to certain foods from the texture, rather than their taste. I don’t like the ‘slimy’ feel of aubergines, for instance. But the one taste I really dislike, is mayonnaise. That makes it very difficult to buy a prepared sandwich! 🙂
    Best wishes, Pete.


  6. I’m with your husband on coriander leaf – coriander spice, I love. The herb seems to be included in so many bought dishes. Now you mention it, it is soapy.
    I’m the same with tarragon – once I was adding it to a rabbit casserole and the lid came off. I removed as much as I could but it was still overwhelming and I’ve never liked it since – perhaps that’s why I don’t like the coriander/cilantro. There’s a similarity.


    1. I find there’s a bit of sweetness to it also. It goes really well with lime.

      That said, I notice that if I concentrate really hard I can taste a little of the soapy taste. I suspect that the 10% can taste that really strongly versus the other flavours whereas it is barely noticeable if at all to the rest of us.

      Liked by 1 person

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