From Kelly Conaboy at The Awl:
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. People say, “Boil a bay leaf in some water and then taste the water if you want to know what a bay leaf tastes like.”
In search of confirmation, as well as freedom to ignore the bay leaf portion of future recipes I might encounter, I reached out to a number of chefs and asked them, “Are bay leaves bullshit?”
Chef Anna Klinger, of Park Slope’s Al Di La, said: “I like them and use quite a bit.”
Anna Klinger and I are not technically friends so I do not take this lie personally, and I appreciate the way she did not explicitly state on record that bay leaves are not bullshit. Sneaky.
And yes, it goes on that way, adamantly, and it’s pretty hilarious. If a bay leaf can be funny and not bullshit.