The cilantro of my youth, it seems, was a more broad-leafed animal than the stuff I buy at my local Whole Foods market now. It's still gorgeous and pungent and beautiful to cook with, but somehow my mind's eye remembers the plants we would pick and pluck on summer afternoons out at my Uncle Marvin's small farm as more like the giant parsley you can sometimes see in the produce section today. I'm sure it's just the usual depredations of time and nostalgia, but there it is.

They do say that this herb is likely an anxiolytic and if they ever offer one of those medical trial deals about cilantro, where you get money to be a guinea-pig in the hopes of proving some theory or another, I will push myself to the front of the line and save them some trouble. I can't think or imagine a week that's gone by without me eating at least one meal that likely featured these goodly greens in the recipe's title. I would also by most people I've met be described as somewhat of a quiet or mellow fellow, not a person who often rises to the bait of life's daily stresses. My mother was the same way and ate more cilantro than me, so I can only think that there must indeed be some connection.

I guess I could take the idea a little further and maybe dry some and smoke it, but I think I might leave that kind of experimentation to others and just keep up with the eating and drinking. In this case probably enough (soup) drinking for 4. It'll only take you 10 minutes to prepare but you will have to wait for it to sit in the fridge for at least 2 hours before downing the lovely stuff. Here's what's in it, it's as easy as can be:

  • 1 full cup of cilantro leaves
  • The biggest cucumber you can find in the store or any combination thereof that will weigh out to about a pound of firm cucumber flesh when peeled and cut into smallish pieces. Don't work too hard at the chopping, because the cucumber's headed for the blender and won't much know the difference
  • 1 1/2 cups of good chicken stock (or vegetable stock I guess, but I'd think you'd need to add a little more salt, never tried it that way myself)
  • 1/3 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • Kosher salt

Puree everything apart from your salt, then add your salt. As mentioned, you need to refrigerate it for at least a couple of hours to get it good and cold. I find that overnight is even better as this soup seems to thicken in texture and flavor with time's passing. Much like my memory.

Much thanks to spirgrain for helping make better lists. PD.