Bay leaves are the dryer sheets of the kitchen. I know that they do something, I’m just not entirely sure what it is, and I don’t really miss them when I run out. Yet I keep buying them, because this what humans that cook do. They buy bay leaves and put them in things.
I never questioned my ways, until I read Kelly Conaboy’s ground-breaking piece of food journalism, The Vast Bay Leaf Conspiracy. Within it, Conaboy asks (and answers) the tough questions:
“What does a bay leaf taste like? Nothing. What does a bay leaf smell like? Nothing. What does a bay leaf look like? A leaf. How does a bay leaf behave? It behaves as a leaf would, if you took a leaf from the tree outside of your apartment building and put it into your soup.”
Conaboy’s work caused me to look inward, and once I did I realized that I had no fucking clue what a bay leaf tasted or smelled like, at least not in any real, visceral way. (I mean, I could just accept the word of the many chefs interviewed for the piece, but they’re far too involved in the conspiracy to be trusted.) According to propaganda printed on the jar of bay leaves I just purchased, they “have a bold, vibrant flavor with a hint of camphor and eucalyptus.”
Read on about bay leaves HERE