Here is a simple solution to a problem that has plagued humanity since Clarence Saunders opened the first Piggly Wiggly in the fall of 1916 in Memphis, Tennessee, which is the information that comes up when you Google “invention of the grocery store.” Parsley and cilantro look the same, and yet in purchasing situations they are always situated directly next to each other. Okay. How about: separate them?
This is cilantro:
This is parsley:
Difficult to tell which is which, huh? That’s because both of those images are of cilantro. The fact that you couldn’t tell proves my point. This is actually parsley:
Yes? No. That was also cilantro. I got you again. But I wouldn’t do it a third time, and you can trust that what follows this block of text is actually an image of parsley:
Just kidding, that is also cilantro. Or was I kidding? No, I wasn’t — that is indeed an image of parsley. Your confusion makes my point clear. Parsley and cilantro are similar looking and should be separated at the grocery store.
Let me tell you a story. Last weekend I needed parsley. At the store, I grabbed an untagged bushel of herb that looked like parsley, which was situated under a sign that said “PARSLEY.” I had my KN95 on, because I’m a good girl, and I could not smell the bushel, so I had to rely only on the fact that it was situated directly under a “PARSLEY” sign. I purchased it along with several other goods, including pasta.
It was only on the train ride (Uber ride) home that the scent wafted through my mask’s multiple layers of non-woven fabric and revealed itself for the devil it was: cilantro. Well, fuck me. How was I going to make linguine alle vongole with cilantro? I’d have to make it without, which ruins the image one has of linguine alle vongole, which is: pasta with clams, red flecks, and green flecks. Terrible. And avoidable.
Imagine if instead parsley had been on one side of the vegetable case, and cilantro had been on the other side. Imagine if instead each of these herbs had been placed clearly under a corresponding sign. Imagine if instead grocery stores decided to solve an easily solvable problem the moment it presented itself, rather than leaving it to me to solve today.
I might not have bought the wrong thing last weekend after all, would I have?
In conclusion, please separate parsley and cilantro at the grocery store. It is the humane thing to do.