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Bay Leaves - Do they matter?

You are making a stew and you are adding all the rest of the ingredients to the bubbling liquid and the last item on the list is...1 Bay Leaf! Do you skip it or do you push past the oregano and chili powder to pull out the bottle of dried bay leaves in the very back of the spice cabinet? Will that one dried leaf that you can not ingest really change anything? The simple answer is YES. Unlike salt and pepper that are more like a "loud scream", bay leaves are like a gently whisper. It adds flavor subtlety according to many food experts. But, it seems there is a contingent of food writers and bloggers who disagree saying, most people do not notice any difference when the recipe has used bay leaves . I have to say, for me, I always add them when called for. They add a slightly "woodsy" and more pungent aroma. The longer it cooks the more flavor it imparts. It does not break down so it is necessary to remove it before serving your dish. Still skeptical? You can test it for yourself. Simmer a few bay leaves in some water then taste the "bay leaf broth"!

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