Cilantro & Asparagus: Delightful or Devious Summer Foods

In the winter we rarely want to get out of our beds to walk or drive to our respective day responsibilities, so the idea of pot lucks is basically out of the question. Yes, in the winter I like to cuddle under a blanket, sip hot tea with honey, and stare angrily out the window, wondering (for the umpteenth time) why I didn’t attend college out of state. Aside from Thanksgiving (and for some people Chrismahanakwanzica) the colder months means cooking for me, myself, and I. But summer, for obvious reasons, is much different. We drink a bit more, we eat a bit more, we want to share the bounties from our community gardens, etc, etc. Coming together to eat is excellent. However, as we all congregate together to eat food and roast marshmallows over a fire, we should take into consideration summer dining etiquette.

Aside from asking about food alleriges people may have, I have come up with two common foods that are often over looked by food lovers. This post won’t be entirely bitter (if you pardon the pun, which will make sense in a few moments), as I get to tackle it from two sides!

The first food, related to the pun, is cilantro. Cilantro, also known as coriander,  is this green herb, similar to parsley, that is often sprinkled liberally in fresh salsa, on tacos, and used to intensify dishes. It truly is a love/hate thing. My friend and I hate cilantro. On our high school dinner dates out to Margaritas (oh, what a classy, true Mexican food establishment) we would sneer at the pretty green flakes floating around in our perfectly decent salsa. Oh, the travesty. Scientists have tried to figure out why some people absolutely abhor the taste and smell (I find it to be terribly bitter and many say it tastes like soap) and have figured out it comes down to genetics. So, if you are so inclined to make a dish with cilantro and bring it to a gathering (large or small) please be a dear and make 2 batches, or leave some cilantro leaves in another bowl for people to add (source) (source2).

On the flip side, I adore asparagus. When I had my small stint at High Point University, I dined at their 5-Star Steak House (so amazing) and was told by the waiter that Asparagus was a perfectly acceptable finger food. Just pick it up—perhaps hold up the pinky?—and crunch away in a respectable manner. It’s deliciously-simple with olive oil, pepper, and a hint of salt. Its great hot or cold. Even if you over cook it all is not lost. But some people hate it. Chris was one such person. I always wanted to incorporate it into our meals; you know a little change from the green beans! He was adamant we never add it to the list. When I finally asked why he was so against it, he sheepishly said it made his pee smell. And then I remembered hearing my Aunt talk about it in a very lewd way during my impressionable teen years—I blame my father’s side for the occasional crass comments I make. So, what’s the deal? Well, apparently people have talked about the horrific smell of urine after eating asparagus for ages. I felt superior, knowing my pee was putrid free…until I found out that ALL urine smells when you eat asparagus, but only 25% of the population takes note of it (source). Geesh, that’s enough to make an asparagus loving girl self conscious. Note to self: no going to the bathroom in a group after indulging in the green stalks. So, again, if you are in charge of bringing the vegetables to the gathering, and happen to know a fair amount of the people, ask around to gauge the general consensus. Green beans might be the way to go!

Most people have food ailments. It is impossible to be the perfect host. I would never expect someone to go overly out of their way to tend to my gluten issues. In fact, I tell them about my condition and offer to bring something gluten-free that everyone can eat, or I fill up beforehand. I mean, heaven forbid we go a few hours without eating. However, with sneaky foods like asparagus and cilantro, that people are genetically predisposed to either liking or disliking, it’s best to air on the side of caution, or else we’ll have people spitting out the salsa or running away from the bathroom!

Peel Away ❤