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-   -   Do any other foods have the "cilantro" effect? (https://boards.straightdope.com/sdmb/showthread.php?t=794989)

Brodi 06-05-2016 10:47 PM

Do any other foods have the "cilantro" effect?
 
Due to some people's genetic makeup cilantro tastes like soap. Are there any other foods or drinks that, because of a person's genes, tastes "off" to them?

bibliophage 06-06-2016 12:55 AM

Supertasters have an much greater aversion to a range of bitter foods, and in some cases rate foods as bitter that other people don't. Being a supertaster is related to a gene variant that allows them to taste PTC and PROP (and possibly other chemicals), which are tasteless to most people.

Mangetout 06-06-2016 02:02 AM

It's not quite taste. but as smell and taste are so closely related, I'm claiming this one:

Asparagus makes your urine smell funky within a quite short time of eating it. Some people can't smell this at all.

Hilarity N. Suze 06-06-2016 02:10 AM

There's a whole class of vegetables--including cauliflower, broccoli, and probably asparagus--that just smell like raw sewage to me. Now obviously I've eaten broccoli et al. and have not eaten raw sewage (is that obvious? I hope that is obvious), and once it's cooked and on a plate I can kind of handle the taste for awhile, but I'm not particularly fond and I can't eat a lot of it. On my own I would never even buy these vegetables, but my husband loves them.

I like cilantro, though.

Broomstick 06-06-2016 05:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Mangetout (Post 19383414)
It's not quite taste. but as smell and taste are so closely related, I'm claiming this one:

Asparagus makes your urine smell funky within a quite short time of eating it. Some people can't smell this at all.

It only makes some peoples' urine smell funky, not everyone's. Whether it funkifies your urine or not is a genetic trait. The people who say they can't smell it probably are not being funkified.

clairobscur 06-06-2016 06:43 AM

From what I read here, Brussel sprouts is an other example. Some people can taste their bitter taste, others can't.

Apparently, it's genetics, but it's not related to being a supertaster, who would notice all "weird" tastes in all foods. I notice the foul taste of cilantro, but I don't feel the bitter taste of Brussel sprouts.

storyguide3 06-06-2016 07:14 AM

I am guessing (and Wikipedia seems to agree, though not footnoted), that durian may be another of these foods. For some folks, such as my wife and step-daughter, it is sweet ambrosia. For others, such as my doomed self, it smells like an open sewer full of rotting fruit and tastes like I would assume that sewer would taste.

scr4 06-06-2016 08:15 AM

Most people from Japan say root beer tastes like medicine. This is probably cultural rather than genetic; some common medicines in Japan smell like root beer, apparently because they use methyl salicylate.

How well established is the cilantro thing, by the way? All articles seem to point to one specific paper.

Xema 06-06-2016 08:59 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Broomstick (Post 19383567)
The people who say they can't smell it probably are not being funkified.

In most cases, they probably are. Here's an article from Smithsonian.com
Quote:

Overall, scientists now conclude that most of the difference is in perceptionóthat is, if your urine doesnít seem to smell any differently after you eat asparagus, itís likely that you simply canít perceive the sulfurous compoundsí foul odor, but thereís a small chance itís because your body digests asparagus in a way that reduces the concentration of these chemicals in your urine.

ftg 06-06-2016 09:34 AM

That Wikipedia article, long ago, used to be really helpful but now is much shorter and leaves out a lot of stuff. Esp. in terms of the many different types of supertasters.

Some people are sensitive to fats and alcohol. The current article doesn't mention fats at all and mainly mentions alcohol in relation to other bitterness factors like hops.

kferr 06-06-2016 09:50 AM

I've heard that cucumber is another. To some it has a strong taste and to others it's just watery.

Little Nemo 06-06-2016 10:01 AM

It's worth noting that miracle berries (Synsepalum dulcificum) can alter your sense of taste. A protein in the berries temporarily suppresses your ability to taste sour flavors.

Presumably some people have a permanent condition similar to this and cannot taste some flavors that other people can.

wonky 06-06-2016 10:04 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by kferr (Post 19383882)
I've heard that cucumber is another. To some it has a strong taste and to others it's just watery.

For me, cucumber is intensely flavored. And watermelon tastes like cucumber with sugar on it.

But I am far from a supertaster.

Nava 06-06-2016 10:08 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Xema (Post 19383770)
In most cases, they probably are. Here's an article from Smithsonian.com

My mother and her mother do not funkify. Her father and sister do, as does everybody on the paternal side of my family. And we do not have so many bathrooms that we wouldn't be able to tell; the no-funkifiers can smell the other side's funk and we can verify that they do not leave that... "someone ate asparagus" cloud behind.

Who knows, maybe "reaction to asparagus" is one of those markers for ancestry :)


Sign me up as someone to whom cucumber tastes very strongly ("repeats" a lot too, I'm still tasting it several days after eating it); it gets diminished by curing it in salt, but I don't care enough about it to do that. And melon? My mother and one of my brothers can be swearing up and down that a certain melon is sweet as molasses, the other brother and I will be saying it tastes like raw cucumber and to kindly keep that thing away from us.

Dingbang 06-06-2016 10:19 AM

I was relieved to read a few years back about how people can sense the taste of truffles very differently from most. I'm pretty adventurous with foods, like a lot of exotic tastes and so forth, but I've always found truffle to be revolting. Not just something I don't care for, but revolting as if you put your dirty socks in my mouth.

From the report I read back then, it's not just a matter of preference. Like cilantro, some people actually sense the taste of truffle completely different from most people.

Lightnin' 06-06-2016 11:54 AM

Most people say that celery doesn't have much flavor, if any at all.

Me, I say that celery is the taste equivalent of someone scratching their fingers down a chalkboard.

Qadgop the Mercotan 06-06-2016 12:31 PM

Neither my daughter nor I like the taste of fresh tomatoes, even though we enjoy the tomato in nearly every other form. We figure it's some element in its raw make-up that puts us off. (And no, don't tell us to try 'your' tomatoes, been there and done that over and over with dozens of folks. It's the raw tomato, not the variety).

GusNSpot 06-06-2016 12:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan (Post 19384318)
Neither my daughter nor I like the taste of fresh tomatoes, even though we enjoy the tomato in nearly every other form. We figure it's some element in its raw make-up that puts us off. (And no, don't tell us to try 'your' tomatoes, been there and done that over and over with dozens of folks. It's the raw tomato, not the variety).

Are you my 24th cousin?
I am 100% in your camp.

But

Not stewed, NO, not stewed, never !!!! :eek: :eek:

Little Nemo 06-06-2016 12:57 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan (Post 19384318)
Neither my daughter nor I like the taste of fresh tomatoes, even though we enjoy the tomato in nearly every other form. We figure it's some element in its raw make-up that puts us off. (And no, don't tell us to try 'your' tomatoes, been there and done that over and over with dozens of folks. It's the raw tomato, not the variety).

I'm the same way. I don't like the taste of raw tomatoes, even when they're in something like a sandwich or a salad. But I love tomato sauce - the cooking eliminates whatever unpleasant taste there was in the raw ones.

And even my family, all of whom are avid tomato eaters, have to admit I've given raw tomatoes a fair try on several occasions. They're just not for me.

Motorgirl 06-06-2016 01:12 PM

Banana phloem - tastes bitter to some people, not to others. I, for example, can't taste the bitterness. I am not sure if this is because of the PTC gene or not, but I cannot taste the purportedly bitter chemical they had us taste on paper sticks in high school genetics, nor at the Science Museum a few years ago.

Mister Rik 06-06-2016 03:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Lightnin' (Post 19384207)
Most people say that celery doesn't have much flavor, if any at all.

Me, I say that celery is the taste equivalent of someone scratching their fingers down a chalkboard.

With you there. Celery is just revolting. Especially celery seed. And it has ruined blue cheese salad dressing for me. I used to love BC dressing, until I cooked in a restaurant that used celery seed in its recipe. Since then (after 25 years), I cannot taste blue cheese without also [imagining I'm] tasting celery, even when I know damned well that there is no celery or celery seed in it because I made it myself.

Also, broccoli, cauliflower, spinach (any dark green vegetable, really), beets ... they all smell and taste to me like something that went bad and should have been thrown away three weeks ago.

wguy123 06-06-2016 03:27 PM

Epazote. Smells fresh and minty to some and like gasoline to others.

carnivorousplant 06-06-2016 03:35 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Hilarity N. Suze (Post 19383417)
once it's cooked and on a plate I can kind of handle the taste for awhile, but I'm not particularly fond and I can't eat a lot of it.

That is why Hollandaise was made.

carnivorousplant 06-06-2016 03:40 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by storyguide3 (Post 19383628)
I am guessing (and Wikipedia seems to agree, though not footnoted), that durian may be another of these foods. For some folks, such as my wife and step-daughter, it is sweet ambrosia. For others, such as my doomed self, it smells like an open sewer full of rotting fruit and tastes like I would assume that sewer would taste.

I thought durian smelled bad, but tasted good.

Blue Blistering Barnacle 06-06-2016 03:51 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Qadgop the Mercotan (Post 19384318)
Neither my daughter nor I like the taste of fresh tomatoes, even though we enjoy the tomato in nearly every other form. We figure it's some element in its raw make-up that puts us off. (And no, don't tell us to try 'your' tomatoes, been there and done that over and over with dozens of folks. It's the raw tomato, not the variety).

Hmm. Maybe I should cut my son some slack.

ftg 06-06-2016 04:37 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Blue Blistering Barnacle (Post 19384836)
Hmm. Maybe I should cut my son some slack.

Everybody should generally cut other people slack when it comes to taste preferences. None of that "But you never had it cooked right." and such nonsense. What you can taste and what I can taste may have quite big differences.

Flocculencio 06-06-2016 05:33 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Brodi (Post 19383164)
Due to some people's genetic makeup cilantro tastes like soap. Are there any other foods or drinks that, because of a person's genes, tastes "off" to them?

Pine nuts. To people who have a specific gene they taste horribly bitter.

TriPolar 06-06-2016 05:38 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Little Nemo (Post 19384377)
I'm the same way. I don't like the taste of raw tomatoes, even when they're in something like a sandwich or a salad. But I love tomato sauce - the cooking eliminates whatever unpleasant taste there was in the raw ones.

And even my family, all of whom are avid tomato eaters, have to admit I've given raw tomatoes a fair try on several occasions. They're just not for me.

Tomatoes don't bother me raw, but most citrus fruit is too acidic for me. Once cooked that acidity is diminished and I love the flavors.

Rick Kitchen 06-06-2016 05:48 PM

In my case, scallops and lobster. They have practically no flavor, to me, others love them. On the other hand, almost all dairy products make me gag.

scr4 06-06-2016 05:53 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ftg (Post 19384998)
Everybody should generally cut other people slack when it comes to taste preferences. None of that "But you never had it cooked right." and such nonsense. What you can taste and what I can taste may have quite big differences.

But it's also true that some foods are great when cooked properly, but completely nasty if cooked wrong (e.g. overcooked liver or broccoli).

swampspruce 06-06-2016 06:00 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carnivorousplant (Post 19384796)
I thought durian smelled bad, but tasted good.

Nope; at least to me. Custardy rotten onions. That's the best thing I can say about it. Anything armored that well is trying to tell you something.

The Great Sun Jester 06-06-2016 06:27 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by clairobscur (Post 19383599)
From what I read here, Brussel sprouts is an other example. Some people can taste their bitter taste, others can't.

These little demon heads make me retch if someone has cooked them in my kitchen within a few hours. Unbearably foul. Cilantro I really enjoy. I cannot taste avocados, my wife insists they have a flavor and devours them by the basket (Apparently I make a killer guacamole, just tastes like spices and paste to me).

Chronos 06-06-2016 07:18 PM

All of these people saying that foods taste bad to them... I wonder, are there any such foods where only some people pick up on the flavor, but like that flavor?

Yookeroo 06-06-2016 07:46 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by ftg (Post 19384998)
Everybody should generally cut other people slack when it comes to taste preferences. None of that "But you never had it cooked right." and such nonsense. What you can taste and what I can taste may have quite big differences.

Quote:

Originally Posted by scr4 (Post 19385197)
But it's also true that some foods are great when cooked properly, but completely nasty if cooked wrong (e.g. overcooked liver or broccoli).

Yeah, it's possible that "you never had it cooked right", but I agree that people should be cut slack since the sense of taste can have huge differences.

ChickenLegs 06-06-2016 08:22 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 19385433)
All of these people saying that foods taste bad to them... I wonder, are there any such foods where only some people pick up on the flavor, but like that flavor?

Not quite on topic, but I don't think dead roadkilled skunks smell bad. Good, even, if they're not too close. Reminds me of licorice.

Motorgirl 06-07-2016 08:02 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Chronos (Post 19385433)
All of these people saying that foods taste bad to them... I wonder, are there any such foods where only some people pick up on the flavor, but like that flavor?

Cilantro tastes soapy to me but I like it. Does that count?

Leo Bloom 06-07-2016 08:30 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Motorgirl (Post 19386583)
Cilantro tastes soapy to me but I like it. Does that count?

Not only does this count, but it, like the asparagus-pee thing, is right on OP--on body chemistry inherently different than the norm; many of the other posts here are chacun a son gout stuff or commonly agreed chacun a everybody's gout due to cooking changing the food's chemical structure so radically.

Some people can fold their tongue (w/o using their own or someone else's hands), some can't.

Of course the case can be made for "my taste depends on _my_ (unique) chemicals," which is a different set of worms.

capybara 06-07-2016 12:12 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Dingbang (Post 19383952)
I was relieved to read a few years back about how people can sense the taste of truffles very differently from most. I'm pretty adventurous with foods, like a lot of exotic tastes and so forth, but I've always found truffle to be revolting. Not just something I don't care for, but revolting as if you put your dirty socks in my mouth.

THANK GOD THERE'S SOMEONE ELSE! I'm also pretty darn open with food-- a handful of things I'm super not keen on (uni, mackerel, lampredotto... um...yeah, a short list-- I'm sure there are things I haven't tried that are gnarly to me (have not tried fresh durian, natto, lutefisk, surstroming)), but also black truffle/tartuffo, which appears to be rated as amazingly delectable by so many people, and to me it tastes like ass. ASS, I SAY! Not a popular opinion, I guess.

Fear Itself 06-07-2016 12:31 PM

Lavender. Tastes like perfume to me.

Colophon 06-07-2016 03:18 PM

I don't know if it's a genetic thing or not, but I find raspberries teeth-meltingly acidic. Even the ripest juiciest ones that my wife swears are as sweet as anything make me feel as if my tooth enamel is being liquefied.

Broomstick 06-07-2016 04:43 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Fear Itself (Post 19387236)
Lavender. Tastes like perfume to me.

Tastes like perfume to me, too, as does jasmine... but I like those as flavors. I completely understand if someone else doesn't, but then, I'm pretty easy going about food likes and dislikes in other people.

pool 06-07-2016 05:34 PM

Wow I thought I was the only one with the tomato problem, I could have written that post almost verbatim. I seem to like tomatoes in all their forms spaghetti sauce, ketchup, etc. but for some reason not their actual natural form. The thing is I want to like them, but every time I've tried to make myself eat any tiny bite of a real tomato I start gagging and can't even swallow it or I'll throw up.

Broomstick 06-07-2016 06:17 PM

My spouse is another one who can't tolerate raw tomatoes but is just fine with cooked ones.

Me, on the other hand, can't tolerate them in any form.

carnivorousplant 06-07-2016 07:29 PM

The salsa at Mexican restaurants must be hell for cilantro tasters/tomato haters.

wolfman 06-07-2016 07:55 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carnivorousplant (Post 19388395)
The salsa at Mexican restaurants must be hell for cilantro tasters/tomato haters.

As far as Cilantro I literally learned to cook originally because Mexican food was my favorite, then pretty much overnight around '88 every dish in every Mexican place was contaminated with that shit. I haven't been to a Mexican restaurant since 90 or so, there is nothing I can eat.

carnivorousplant 06-07-2016 08:05 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by wolfman (Post 19388474)
As far as Cilantro I literally learned to cook originally because Mexican food was my favorite, then pretty much overnight around '88 every dish in every Mexican place was contaminated with that shit. I haven't been to a Mexican restaurant since 90 or so, there is nothing I can eat.

I rest my case.

Broomstick 06-07-2016 09:47 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by carnivorousplant (Post 19388395)
The salsa at Mexican restaurants must be hell for cilantro tasters/tomato haters.

I just don't eat it. Actually, due to my tomato allergy I pretty much don't eat at Mexican restaurants at all. Also due to it, I have never actually eaten salsa ever.

Chronos 06-07-2016 10:27 PM

I also find that cilantro tastes soapy but still like it (in moderation), but that's in spite of the soapy component of the flavor, not because of it. I can still taste the other components of flavor, that are presumably the only part most folks taste, and I like them well enough that I put up with the soapy part.

And raspberries don't taste particularly acidic to me, but I do detect a certain... harshness, I guess? in them. It's not a dealbreaker, but there are definitely other berries I prefer for that reason. Also in fresh peaches, though I'm not sure if it's the same harshness, or two different but related sensations.

Bumbazine 06-09-2016 05:33 PM

I like cilantro and it doesn't taste soapy to me at all, but, like many other people, i find arugula to be nothing but bitter, and so refuse to eat anything with arugula in or on it.
Brussel sprouts also taste bitter to me, but the one thing I came here to mention that apparently nobody has ever heard of is basil. There is at least one variety of basil that tastes to me like mold. Fortunately not sweet basil or its many cultivars, which I love. I suspect it's Thai basil that has that particular taste for me, but I haven't pinned it down for certain just yet.

Noel Prosequi 06-10-2016 03:13 AM

A slightly different example might be sauvignon blanc wine. Hugely popular to some, but a significant number of people find it revolting, describing it as weak, thin and grassy. Leaving aside French versions like Sancerre wines, vast lakes of it are pumping out of NZ and being consumed happily.

Now one narrative about this is that it is inherently terrible and only popular among the bootless and unhorsed with no taste in wine. Certainly there are wine opinion makers who hate the stuff and can't understand why it exists. But the reactions seem to me to be too extreme for it just to be explained as a popular Emperor's New Clothes thing. It is so popular and yet so uncool with most opinion makers that it seems unlikely that the people who like it are just palateless rubes.

So the best explanation would appear to be that this is a genetic taste thing like the other examples above.


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