An Open Letter To Cilantro

Dear Cilantro, 


Touché. You’ve done it again.


What, you ask with nopey indifference? What has caused me to hurl steak knives and tear at my tongue while crying out to my wisp of a waiter and a faceless God who obviously gives zero shits about my gustatorial despair? Why am I sitting here, screaming at my baba ganoush with a face that looks as if the offspring of a Shar Pei and a croissant was raised in a tanning bed and taught that exposing its asshole is an acceptable way to greet the world? Let me enlighten you…

ONCE AGAIN, like a soul-sucking shrub ninja, you have snuck yourself into the depths of my meal, tucking yourself stealthily between the bushy canopy of a broccoli floret and the meandering underside of an egg noodle.

YOU HAVE RUINED ANOTHER MEAL. You, oh festering foliage, you with your shanky-sharp leaves and your pungent prison flavor that can only be likened to a bar of soap if it ate a can of Alpo and rolled in turds on a gloomy day. A flavor that is as if you stole the hoppiness from a beer and the happiness from a child and blended it with the innards of a mongoose. Your continually unwelcome presence is akin to innocently going about your day and then being ambushed by a legion of tiny shitty cacti. On any given day, I’d sooner chow down on my neighbor’s ever-encroaching Douglas fir.

And let’s be totally clear about this. YOU WERE NOT INVITED. YOU WERE NOT ON THE GODDAMNED MENU. You just showed up and shat on my lunch. This is a behavior that is largely considered an abomination unless you are a fly or Octavia Spencer from The Help.

You’d think that you might show up politely in a side dish or make yourself known before violently assaulting my $30 sliver of black cod. But no. You, grimy gladiator of greenery, have no time for decency. You’re too preoccupied with desecrating EVERY SALSA ON PLANET EARTH.


Who are you working for? Don’t think for an herbaceous second that we’re not onto your aliases! Parsley! Coriander! Garnish! PARSLEY? You’ve conquered continents and tried to pass yourself off as a British aristocrat. “Lord Parsley, I say old chap! Have we run out of crumpets?!” For the love of Gordan Ramsey, this is one sick global operation.

Perhaps your biggest political bamboozlement is that you have managed to convince nearly half the population that you are in their best interest. For some, you symbolize elegance and “flavor elevation” and aim to “make curry great again.” You’ve swindled others into thinking you are innocuous and might not even exist in their spaghetti vongole. You know who else used that tactic? Satan. Satan did.

I’ll admit there are scant times when you play fair, piling yourself on top of my Thai coconut curry like a giant cluster of crap, alerting the world to your epically shitty presence. Here, your honesty allows you to be amputated from my delicious meal and wiped onto a napkin or the side of my wife’s leg. And yet even then, you manage to launch a couple of your nightmarish stalks, jettisoning projectiles that float across my coconut milk just waiting to twist the nipples of my tastebuds. This is how sewer alligators roll. You are fooling NO ONE.

In conclusion, you are a dasher of dreams, the armpit of herbs, a plate-hijacking mouth terrorist and I demand that you no longer swan around the produce aisle daring to be amongst the likes of basil, thyme and mint. You can no longer hide and your alliance with lime will not save you!   

Signing off in the name of good taste and all that is sacred,


Gary Celery


Written by Kira Jane Buxton

Kira Jane Buxton

Kira Jane Buxton is a Seattle based writer who was raised in the jungles of Asia and the deserts of the Middle East. Her writing is forthcoming or has appeared in The New York Times, McSweeney’s, The Rumpus, The Huffington Post, Reductress, Ravishly, The Good Men Project, The Manifest Station and more. She believes in kindness and the restorative powers of sloths in pajamas.