I was completely unaware of this phenomenon until a few years ago, when Denise, one of my close friends, told me that she thought cilantro tasted like soap. Which (like most odd sounding facts) sent me straight to the internet, where I discovered entire support groups of people who felt the same as Denise. Who knew! I guess people who hate cilantro knew.
I haven’t been able to find many surveys on it, or estimates of how many people think cilantro is tasty versus how many think it’s horrible, but the few I’ve found have landed somewhere in the 70/30 range. So you cilantrophobes may be a minority, but you’re a sizeable one! There are only a few studies about this, including this one that breaks it down by race and ancestry, and one that focused on identical and fraternal twins, so it’s not like there’s a ton of unassailable evidence out there one way or another, just a few studies that haven’t been repeated.
One of the more interesting things I read, though, was that a number of people have managed to acquire a taste for cilantro. It’s possible! But it seems somewhat rare, which makes me wonder if it’s just that difficult to get over the aversion to the soapy character of the leaves. I don’t know that I’d really try to tell someone to work past a hatred for cilantro, except that there’s just SO MUCH good food that comes with cilantro.
Even my cats like it. I had to move my potted cilantro plants outside after I discovered one of the cats was habitually lounging on top of the plant because she liked the smell so much. So that’s why it wasn’t growing.