Stegink’s Battle with Cilantro


Whitney Deubler, Staff Writer

Mr. Stegink’s hatred illustrated. Photo by: Whitney Deubler


When ordering fancy food there are many occasions where the meal will come topped with a garnish, and many times that garnish is coriander, more commonly known as cilantro. Cilantro is a food which many people have controversial opinions about. Some people love it, while others are indifferent towards it. And some people hate cilantro, including Rosary’s own Mr. Stegink. 

Mr. Stegink has always hated the taste of cilantro. He believes that it might be because, he “grew up in the Midwest.” He said, his “parents were meat and potatoes kind of people.” Meaning that Mr. Stegink didn’t come across cilantro until later in his life, leaving his taste buds more time to develop his distaste for cilantro. Which might be the reason that Mr. Stegink hates cilantro so strongly. 

Cilantro Photo By: Botanical Interests

His distaste for cilantro runs so deeply that he says he is a “proud member” of a website dedicated to the hatred of cilantro, There he “find[s] comfort.” The website has many things, ranging from haikus, to merchandise. It includes a space where people are able to share their stories of why they hate cilantro. Luckily Mr. Stegink did not experience any upsetting event causing his dislike of cilantro. He explains, “No trauma. No drama. I just discovered that it tastes like soap the first time I ate it.”

But does it? Upon doing further research about why cilantro may taste like soap to Mr. Stegink, this reporter discovered that, cilantro is factually described as an herb-like taste, a mix of parsley and citrus. According to Encyclopedia Britannica, “[T]he issue is genetic…a variation in [a group of] olfactory-receptor genes…allow[s] them to strongly perceive the soapy-flavored aldehydes in cilantro leaves.” An aldehyde is commonly described as a fragrance. Meaning that it may not be the taste that Mr. Stegink has always hated, but in fact it is most likely the smell.

Mr. Stegink describes his relationship with cilantro by saying, “It’s not like I chose to hate it. It hates me.” Either way, Mr. Stegink and cilantro do not agree, whether it be because of the way cilantro tastes (or smells), or because there is a story behind his hatred that he can not bring himself to tell. One this is certain: we can not blame Mr. Stegink for his hatred of cilantro. Maybe it’s his genetics, or maybe it’s trauma. He says, “I just want people to understand I didn’t choose to live like this.”