(Image: Public Domain via Wikipedia)
Mother knows best. She warned me several days ago that the cilantro was going to bolt. I didn't believe her; I had only transplanted the leggy, bedraggled, 8-inch seedlings a few weeks before. I didn't even think they would make it.
They made it alright, but I didn’t make it to my mother’s garden in time. I was crushed. All, however, was not lost. I would still enjoy the cilantro’s highly-prized roots, which are never, ever left attached to the bunches for sale at my local markets. So I made my way through the thicket of peppers, eggplants and tomatoes, to where I’d planted the cilantro, to where I thought I’d planted the cilantro. The cilantro was not to be found. Every parsley, tarragon, oregano and basil plant was accounted for, but not the cilantro. I just stood there and stared at the haze of green bouncing in the breeze until my eyes hurt from squinting and the sun baked the bridge of my nose.
“The cilantro’s gone,” I said to my mother as I picked my way out of the garden.
“No, it’s not,” my mother replied emphatically. “It’s right there.” She pointed directly at the mound of delicate, tangled stems and feathery leaves holding clusters of lacy white blossoms, tinged with the faintest, tiniest pink seeds. “I told you it was going to bolt.”
Mother does know best, and so do most of you. Just because I didn’t know what I was looking at, the magical, floral transformation of what’s commonly called cilantro, didn’t mean that you didn’t. (I would have guessed anise.) Non-bloggers, René (Anonymous/NWgardener) and Jennifer, and Sra of When My Soup Came Alive were the first three readers to correctly identify the photos as coriander. Winners, please contact me at confident_cook AT yahoo DOT com so I can arrange to send out your cookbooks. Many thanks to all who participated. It was a lot of fun. The next time I run a little contest like this, I will work harder to present a greater challenge for you. Mother will always know best, but now I know better.
Recipe (being tested right now) coming up in next post. Please stay tuned!