7 Quick Takes about hanging out with The Glitch Mob, a new meaning for #SOTG, and that terrible moment when you get cilantro bath soap and nobody cares

May 9, 2014 | 40 comments

(Okay, okay, it was less that I was “hanging out with The Glitch Mob” and more that I was “staring at them while they ate.” See #5 for details.)

— 1 —

I was looking over the entries for the Something Other than God release contest today, and it dawned on me that I missed an important category:

How did I not think to have a contest for best Amazon customer image? How could I have missed the obvious synergy between this category and the categories of Most Epic Selfie, Weirdest Place, (and, perhaps, Create a SOTG Drink)?!

I suppose I shouldn’t keep adding categories to the official contest, but if you’d like to share your artistic talent with the good people of Amazon in the form of a customer image, you can do so here. You’ll instantly win the prize of me gazing at your picture with joy.

— 2 —

Would you believe me if I told you that my post about my epic monster truck tour of Birmingham did not contain every astoundingly ridiculous thing that happened that day? There was one moment so poetic, so absurdly poignant that it deserves its own space. I will now share it with you here:

To recap: I sat in the Austin airport for hours due to a delay, missed my connection in Atlanta, arrived in Birmingham at midnight after a harrowing flight in a middle seat, found out that my rental would be a monster truck, almost got the monster truck stuck in the parking garage, and realized that I would have no dinner because the hotel restaurant was closed.

I finally arrived in my hotel room close to 1 AM, exhausted and starving. In an attempt to end the day on a positive note, I thought it would be nice to dig into the hotel’s complimentary spa products and enjoy a long soak in the bath.

And I walked into the bathroom to see: All cilantro bath products.


— 3 —

When I posted that picture on Twitter, I immediately got a bunch of responses from people who pointed out that the soap says coriander, not cilantro. They claimed that coriander is “totally different” from cilantro.

I didn’t get into it that night (which was out of character for me, since getting in heated discussions about cilantro on Twitter would probably get its own segment in a pie graph of how I spend my time), but I guess my main issue with that claim would be that it’s wrong.

I mean, yeah, one is a seed and one is a leaf. To my mind, however, that is irrelevant. It’s like that movie Invasion of the Body Snatchers, where the life-sucking aliens spawned from pods. Nobody was like, “Don’t even worry, that’s just a pod that spawns the life-sucking alien, not the alien itself — they’re TOTALLY DIFFERENT.”

Previous to this incident, I would have thought that it doesn’t get worse than having a “flight gets delayed and you miss your connection and the rental car company gives you a monster truck and you don’t get dinner and you end up with all cilantro bath products” kind of day. Now I see that it can actually be worse, like when you have a “flight gets delayed and you miss your connection and the rental car company gives you a monster truck and you don’t get dinner and you end up with all cilantro bath products and nobody on Twitter feels your pain” kind of day.

(Someone please note this for my cause for canonization.)

— 4 —

It had been a while since we’d seen a scorpion, but the kids and Yaya found one on the ground by the front door while I was out running errands this morning.

I didn’t say anything about it on social media, since it was the kind of morning where poisonous arachnids in my house didn’t even make it on my radar. Yet shortly after the incident, I saw this tweet:

Screen Shot 2014-05-08 at 11.35.28 PM

I will never see the #SOTG hashtag the same way again.

— 5 —

My monster truck tour of Birmingham aside, the traveling I’ve done lately has actually gone pretty smoothly. A cool story from a speaking trip in March that I keep meaning to tell you about:

I got my usual chopped brisket sandwich at the Austin airport, but there weren’t any tables left. The only place to sit was a lone chair at a table that was mostly occupied by a group of guys with tattoos and black leather jackets. It was the kind of setup where people shared tables, so I sat down right next to them.

While I ate, I decided to play Sherlock Holmes and deduce what must be going on with them. I observed their interactions (because evidently I’m a creepy stalker who stares at people at restaurants while pretending to be a fictional character), and noticed the following:

  • It’s a group of men traveling together, leaving the Live Music Capitol of the world.
  • They’re going to their destination by flying (as opposed to driving).
  • They seem to be very intelligent, and are having an analytical discussion about budgeting matters.
  • They’re mentioning multiple cities in their discussion, seemingly future destinations.
  • When they speak of their travel, they use words that imply routine, like again and usually and always.
  • They all have leather jackets, tattoos, earrings, etc., or some other edgy element to their look.

From this information, I deduced that this is a successful band, probably punk or electronica, that is on tour and not from Austin. And because evidently my theme for the year is forcing unsuspecting musicians to talk to me, I turned to the guy nearest to me and asked him if my suspicions were correct.

He was incredibly friendly, and confirmed that, yes, they’re a group called The Glitch Mob. We had a nice chat about their tour, and I excused myself to go to my gate.

As I was walking it occurred to me that I had definitely heard of them, and I looked them up to see that they have a huge following. I was kicking myself for not getting a picture with them!

I’m not sure what the moral of the story is here: Guys in cutting-edge electronica bands are really nice? It pays to stare at people in restaurants? Always get a picture if you think the people next to you might be in a band?

— 6 —

Don’t forget: Anyone who mentions Something Other than God (with a link to where you can buy it!) in today’s 7 Quick Takes post is automatically eligible to win awesome things!


— 7 —

It’s Mother’s Day this weekend! I always forget about things like that since celebrating special occasions is not the love language of brains in jars. I’m speaking at the Central Texas Coalition for Life ladies’ brunch on Saturday, and then I think our big plans for Sunday are to sleep and rest a lot.

God bless all you mothers out there, and may God especially bless those of you who would like to be mothers but have not yet been able to — you are in my prayers in a special way this weekend.



  1. Tal

    Here in the UK we just call it coriander… Leaf, seed, the whole thing. I assumed cilantro was the American way, now I am questioning everything I know.

    • LeAnna

      My mum hates cilantro so whenever she came to visit us in the UK it was tempting to stick with the local way of calling it coriander when planning meals with her and hope she didn’t notice. But I’m not quite that mean, and she probably would’ve figured it out at first bite.

  2. Leah @ Unequally Yoked

    Your cilantro mishap has gotten part of the Sweeney Todd soundtrack stuck in my head:

    What’s my secret?
    Frankly, dear, forgive my candor,
    Family secret,
    All to do with herbs,
    Things like being careful with your coriander,
    That’s what makes the gravy grander!

  3. Michelle

    I almost didn’t bother to check my emails this morning because after your post yesterday, it seemed pointless. Nothing would compare. But alas! This one made me laugh out loud. again. Happy Mother’s Day to you too Jen.

    PS. I have always hated cilantro until I became pregnant with baby #11. Now, I love it. Weird huh?

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      Whoa, I had no idea that cilantro reversals were possible!

  4. Smoochagator

    I remember hearing a woman rant a few years back about how much she hated cilantro. I was HORRIFIED, because I LOOOOOVE cilantro, and use lots of it in my homemade guac and pico and pretty much anywhere else I can possibly fit it. But I remember very specifically that woman’s complaint that “cilantro tastes like soap” and have noted each time that I eat cilantro that it DOES have a soapy taste to it… but I like it anyway. And in the years since hearing the “tastes like soap” rant, I’ve met quite a few other people who would agree with you on the “vile weed” categorization. Apparently cilantro is one of those foods that people either LOOOOOOVE or HAAAAAAATE.

    But back to the actual soap in your photograph. Clearly you don’t just have a problem with the taste, since you’re not tasting your bath soap… so I wonder, what is it about the smell that bothers you? Is it too strong? Does it remind you of something unpleasant? I have to be honest, if I’d been in your shoes, I’d have tweeted something along the lines of, “Coriander bath soap from Crabtree & Evelynn? WOW, this is a classy joint! I’m going to have to find the maid’s cart so I can steal a year’s supply of this stuff!”

    • Jennifer Fulwiler

      LOL! That’s a great point that cilantro does taste like soap, so why would it bother me being in soap?

      Even just the smell makes me nauseated. Everything about it revolts me.

      • Adrie | A Little Wife's Happy Life

        My grandmother got very, very sick, and when she (thankfully!) recovered, she wouldn’t eat.

        Apparently, her illness had caused a strange lingering symptom… everything tasted like cilantro! And she hates cilantro. She lost about twenty pounds.

        She’s since recovered, but ugh. How horrible! To try to bite into a cookie, only to be hit with the taste of cilantro?!? Ew.

  5. Kristen

    So, while I like cilantro, this statement substituting lots of other words for cilantro, “since getting in heated discussions about (insert word of your choice here) on Twitter would probably get its own segment in a pie graph of how I spend my time” yeah, I can totes relate to that one 😉

    How funny, I was just re-watching Minor Revisions literally yesterday (because I have issues like suddenly realizing, “I never saw the last episode!”) and thought, “Wow, I haven’t heard much scorpion drama lately.” The Holy Spirit is funny like that. We don’t have scorpions in southeastern NC, but we have other lovely biting insects and they all bite me. It’s only a matter of time til a wayward scorpion is in my bedsheets. ((SHUDDER))

  6. Rosie

    In all fairness, cilantro is vile BUT it tastes like soap, so wouldn’t it be okay in a soap product? Particularly since most of us (those who haven’t been involuntarily fasting since who knows what hour) wouldn’t be eating the soap?

    I didn’t even know the seed and the leaf originated from the same plant, but now I am suspicious…

  7. Barbara

    Jen – I am a big time cilantro hater. It seems to be in everything lately, and I am frequently unhappily surprised by its appearance in a meal. It isn’t just the taste that is revolting. To me, it smells exactly like it tastes. If I’d been you after a long, long, day, I wouldn’t know whether to laugh or cry.

  8. Anna

    Thanks for the prayers, Jen. They make a difference.

    • Anna

      Also, I wish to defend the honor of the great herb, cilantro. Long may it zest my salsa!

      • Lynne

        Amen, and amen! Best discovery of the year: I can grow it in my own garden and eat it every single day! Now I know I can bathe in it, too.

  9. Deanna

    I think if you tasted my son’s awesome cilantro sauce you’d change your mind about it.

  10. Erin

    Cilantro doesn’t taste like soap to me, it tastes like a mouthful of nickels. When we did that taste test in high school chemistry (“some people are sensitive to this”) several people made yucky faces, but my sister and I were the ones who explosively spit it out and after rinsing with water tried eating notebook paper to get the taste out. A paper cut on the tongue was not fun, but it rinsed out the taste with blood.
    Good grief, how do you live in the land of salsa with that kind of sensitivity?

  11. elizabethe

    I believe you share your cilantro aversion with Orson Scott Card.

    It’s weird to me because the leaf cilantro and the spice coriander don’t really taste or smell anything alike, right? Coriander is vaguely sweet and warm and I’ve used it in foods where pumpkin pie type spices might ordinarily go, whereas the leaf is definitely a strong green flavor to go only with savory foods, preferably Mexican or Asian food. Am I the only one who thinks this? Jen do you have an aversion to both the leaf and the spice? I assume you’ve tried the spice and you’re like “that’s just a like a ground up cilantro leaf?” If someone handed you a slice of coriander carrot cake without telling you it was coriander you would know instantly and dash to the ground and vow never to dine with that person again for having bad taste? This is seriously rocking my world. I’m going to have to do some taste tests to see if I can taste the similar element between the spice and the leaf.

    Don’t get me wrong, I am not trying to talk you out of your cilantro aversion. I totally understand and sympathize with all food aversions and will discuss them at great length and enable them however I can.

    For instance, I have a very strong aversion to mayonnaise, such that I can’t even eat ranch dressing. NO ONE gets this and will just slap mayo on anything without letting you know that mayo is included — like a menu description of a sandwich will not include mayo, but then you get the sandwich and, lo and behold, the vile substance is there slathered on both pieces of bread.

    If, heaven forfend, you find yourself at one of those sandwich places where they assemble it in front of you, the “sandwich artist” will invariably cut your sandwich in half with a knife that has mayonnaise on it from the sandwich they cut just before yours and if you ask you to clean it off they glare at you like you just asked them to do something totally unreasonable.

    The combination of mayo and lettuce is basically what they will force me to eat in that circle of hell that I go to for gluttony.

  12. Jennifer Short

    Thank you for remembering those of us who would like children but don’t have them. Mother’s Day can hurt. I wrote a blog post on it this week. I do most years.

  13. Melody

    I heard once that it’s a genetic thing if you will like or dislike cilantro: to some it will take bad and to others it won’t. Luckily for me it’s yummy. But I had no idea it was the same thing as coriander: enlightened once again! 🙂

  14. Juliana @ Urban Simplicity

    I’m guessing cilantro makes you break out, which is why you hate it. I with you–hotel soaps are theee worst! I am allergic (to among other things) sunflower seeds/oil, and imagine my dismay upon going to a hotel a few years ago, sans basic toiletries, only to discover that every bath product in the place contained sunflower oil! Ahhhhhh!! I think we had to run out to a CVS or something and get a bar of soap and a travel size shampoo just so I could survive the stay.

    To the hotels of the world: just stick with the terrible generic soaps in the bathroom, please.

  15. Jackie Vick

    I don’t want to add to your stress, but my understanding is that scorpions usually travel in pairs, so you might want to keep your eyes open for the scorpion buddy. 🙂

    And I know people who hate cilantro. I had no idea that coriander was related. I will stop torturing them now and skip the latter in my cooking! Thank you.

  16. Eliese

    I had no idea that cilantro and coriander were the same thing… and I too loathe cilantro. But I don’t have a problem with coriander. What the heck?

  17. LurkerBee

    First time commenter here. 🙂 I only recently discovered your blog (I am new convert to Catholicism, so I’m a little behind on all these awesome Catholic blogs). First, I want to say that I have been loving going back and reading all your posts (I am seriously doing this–I have to start from the beginning).

    Second, I am an unabashed cilantro lover. However, I am not sure I like coriander. I am kind of weird about pumpkin-pie-type spices, so I may very well not enjoy the flavor of coriander. I honestly don’t know, though, as I am not sure if I’ve ever eaten anything flavored with it. I guess I’ll look for a recipe.

    Third, it is very cool you met the Glitch Mob. I really enjoy their music, especially to run to. I would have completely missed out on that opportunity if it were me in that situation. No way would I have sat down at a table full of people, preferring instead to shyly eat my sandwich in some corner standing up, probably looking awkward as all heck as I try to keep the contents of the sandwich from spilling out all over the place. I have all the grace of a three-footed platypus. 🙂

  18. Lisa

    You crack me up, Jen! Thanks for starting my morning off with a smile!

  19. Rose G.

    Thank you so much for recognizing those who would like to be mothers but can’t for whatever reason. I struggled with infertility for three years before finally getting pregnant. This will be my first Mother’s Day as a mother myself, but it is a really bittersweet day because I remember how horribly hard the past three Mother’s Days have been for me. I couldn’t be on Facebook on that day, and it was really hard to go to Mass and hear all the prayers for mothers, and feel like those of us suffering from infertility were totally ignored. Your acknowledgement of that pain really means a lot.

  20. Gina

    Thanks for the last part of that last sentence, Jen — it means a lot to me. You’re the best.

  21. Rakhi @ The Pitter Patter Diaries

    See, now I have to say I think cilantro and coriander are in two different categories. I LOVE cilantro – bring it on! Coriander? Eh, not such a fan. In soap? Probably wouldn’t like either to be honest. It sounds like perhaps the cilantro thing isn’t up for debate though, huh? Too bad. Maybe it’s just my Indian-often-mistaken-for-Mexican blood, but it’s a favorite on my palate.

    Happy Mother’s Day! May it be restful and scorpion free! 🙂

  22. Lynne

    We made a trip from Smalltown to the Big City yesterday and thanks to your excellent hyperbole and the illustration that shows you as knee-high to the truck, I can say that I did not pass a single-axle vehicle anywhere on the highway that was as big as the one you drove. You have truly created a “monster”! At least you were tall enough to get in and out. And you weren’t wearing a pencil skirt, right?

  23. Anna

    Happy Mother’s Day Jen! Thank you, especially, for the second part of #7. That’s so kind.

  24. Martha Slattery

    How do you balance your love of Mexican food with your hatred of cilantro? Also just finished crying my eyes out over your book and am excited for the next installment, soooo what do we think, some time next month??? Please! I MUST read about learning to be Catholic with an ever growing clan of little Fulwilers in tow!!!

  25. amy @ goforthandmother

    Ummm, I used to feed cilantro for my rabbits. Nuf said.
    A vegetable hater

  26. Jenna@CallHerHappy

    I found something interesting in my lunch the other day. I’d say check it out.

    Also, Scorpions on the Ground? I’m just thanking God they can’t fly.

  27. Jennifer Gregory Miller

    For someone who is surrounded by TexMex cuisine, I admire you for sticking to your guns about cilantro. I completely agree — it is vile. Nothing can ruin salsa faster than a “pinch” of that.

    Did you end up using the soap? I don’t like Coriander, but I was wondering if the Citron overpowered the vile seed.

  28. Barbara

    I am one of those oddballs who loves cilantro but detests (intensely) coriander. Ach!

    Enjoying the book…you’ll have to stop by my post in a few days to see if anyone admits to having googled your husband’s image at a specific point in the book. I certainly did. 😉 Congrats on all the praise out there. I have rarely seen a book cover photographed so often.

  29. Susan

    Just to let you know. Affirm pictures has made a movie about your life. Its called Mom’s Night Out and opened yesterday. OK, technically you life is a lot funnier and chaotic, but it is still the funniest movie I have seen in decades.

  30. Betsy

    In the U.K., where my in-laws live, cilantro is the term used for coriander (or is it the other way around)? In any case, there is no distinction. For me, an avid user of ground coriander and a sparse user of cilantro, this confuses me to no end. Do you want an herb or a spice in your dish? Is it added at the beginning or the end? So, yes, they are very different, but the same plant. I understand your distain (although I do love coriander as a spice in a dish).

  31. Jen

    To quote wikipedia, source of all information, “Coriander (Coriandrum sativum), also known as cilantro, Chinese parsley or dhania,[1] is an annual herb in the family Apiaceae.”

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