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Dear BA Foodist,
Cilantro is everywhere, and I hate it. Is there another herb I can use in its place?
--Jessica *******, Santa Cruz, CA

Dear Jessica,

Do you want the good news or the bad news first? The bad news: No, there really isn't a replacement herb for cilantro, also known as fresh coriander. Flat-leaf parsley looks similar, but the flavors couldn't be more different. I have a friend who minces a little basil, a little parsley, and a little mint to mimic the taste and texture of cilantro. She claims it does the trick. Having tried her salsa, I don't think so.

The good news? You're not alone. We all know someone who won't go into a room where cilantro is being served. Most of these haters describe the aroma and flavor as "soapy," and some scientists believe that there is a specific gene that causes such a reaction. Cilantro does lose some of its aroma when heated, but, unfortunately for you, it is most often served in its raw state.

There's more bad news, too. Cilantro is said to be the world's most widely consumed fresh herb, used in abundance in Latin America, India, China, Southeast Asia, Africa, and the Middle East. In the future, as cooking from those areas grows more and more popular in America, you're going to see lots more cilantro.

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