The recent Sunday crossword puzzle had a clue relating to the source of bay leaves, whose answer was LAUREL. I was curious afterwards and stumbled upon two horrifying uses:
- They’re used in entomology as an “active ingredient in killing jars.” Apparently, the tender leaves releases vapors which slowly kills small insects. It turns out, the essential oil concentration is the active ingredients and not some intrinsic mechanic property, which really begs the question of why people fall for those MLMs shelling oils.
- Maybe burning a bay leaf does have noticeable effects on the human body as this website suggests, but it seems there’s a non-zero population in the world who like to think that burning this dried plant leaf can also bring fame and fortune. Maybe it’s because it’s the color green? Maybe because bay leaf sounds somewhat like bay life, and San Francisco is part of Silicon Valley? Maybe it’s just humans wanting to believe in the supernatural? Or just an attractive person able to convert superstition into a successful YouTube career?
On the issue of using them in cooking, I firmly believe they are overhyped and doesn’t really contribute much.