Monday, June 11, 2012

Mix-Up Monday: Wanzenkraut (Cilantro, Koriander)

Source: H. Zell `
Coriander is an annual herb which is mostly used in Europe, South America and Asia. Europeans mostly use only the seeds whereas in other areas, such as Portugal, North Africa, the Americas or Asia, the leaves are used.

Why is this interesting? Because he is a typical European guy and never tasted something as bad and horrible as this herb (on the other hand, although she does not love it, she has no problem with this herb and is used to it).

Where does this come from? Entire nations and generations use this herb to give salads and other meals an "awesome" taste... it is even reffered to as "healthy" and contains antioxidants which can delay or prevent the spoilage of food seasoned with this kind of "spice."
Apparently, even chemicals derived from coriander leaves were found to have antibacterial activity against salmonella.


But: No wonder he does not like it: The taste and the smell of Coriander is similar to the so called stink bug.

Palomena prasina
(Grüne Stinkwanze, Gemeine Stinkwanze)
Chemical analyses  showed that the aroma of coriander is defined through several aldehydes which are very similar to aldehydes used in soaps. Several insects produce similar smells through decomposition of fat molecules to lure or scare other animals. Disgust with this herb is therefore explained by a protection mechanism.

Well you might guess it: he is not used to this "aroma" and that means that his brain recognizes the similarity between coriander and soap and sends many many warning messages....

Result is, he makes a funny face or tries to smoothly dispatch it into his napkin - but there are people which react to coriander with very strong instinctive defense reactions which can lead even to vomiting. Beyond that it could also be that there is a genetic component which supports the disgust.

Charles J. Wysocki from the Monell Chemical Senses Center in Philadelphia made several studies about this and one of his results was that the disgust can be overcome after repeated consumption.

He does not care if he can overcome his reation to this herb and is now careful when eating salads in other countries to never ever come in contact again with this awful growth :).

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