Bay Leaves Are A Damn Lie
It’s not your imagination. Bay leaves don’t taste like anything. You might as well add packing peanuts to your stews and braises. I know this beyond a shadow of a doubt.
It’s A Fact
For years, the organization I work for has been paying off cookbook writers, T.V. chefs, and Michelin-starred culinary masters to include bay leaves in their recipes as part of an elaborate ploy to rebrand common bush leaves harvested from city parks as a vital flavoring agent no pantry should be without. We have been utterly successful in our mission to trick the world into seasoning their meals with the leaves their dogs pee all over during walks.
Don’t believe me? Go ahead, bring some water to boil and drop in a few bay leaves. Let them steep for 5–10 minutes like you’re making a strong cup of tea. Give it a sip. You’ll detect small notes of lies with hints of deceit and a mouthfeel of bullshit, assuming you taste anything at all.
Open Your Eyes
Now that your mind is open and you taste the truth, the battle only gets harder. Our organization, so mighty and so cruel, has not faced a rebellion it could not easily crush. The most brazen act of dissent happened in 2015, when a network of food bloggers thought they’d really stick it to us by suggesting that bay leaves tasted like “pine tree” and “Vicks VapoRub.” They figured if they couldn’t take us down, they’d at least hurt sales by making their flavor profile reminiscent of a menthol cigarette. Everyone at the office had a hearty laugh and then laughed harder when the writers of those articles were tortured at black sites across the globe. Like I said: mighty and cruel.
It’s up to you to decide where to go from here. You can be a cog in the bay leaf system if you want, but I warn you: It’s a miserable, flavorless existence. Whether they’re fresh or dry, the bay leaves are no more than a placebo that we’ve trained you to depend on. Trained you, like a dog. Heaven forbid you don’t include a single flavorless leaf in your chicken soup! It could ruin the whole thing!
Down The Rabbit Hole
I’ve seen the internal research documents. We know most of you have no idea what bay leaves even taste like. We know you can’t even detect when they’ve been left out of a meal. But we’ve sunk our talons so deeply into your psyche that you perpetuate our lie all on your own to protect your fragile concept of reality.
Getting you to distrust your own taste buds is my organization’s greatest achievement. Your continued use of bay leaves after reading this dire plea will make you an accomplice in one of the grandest lies in human history. If we decide one day to expand our powers beyond bay leaves to include, say, slavery, you would have only yourself to blame.
Or, you can overcome your dependency on a flavorless bush leaf by rejecting the lie. Demand transparency, demand investigations, demand your grandmother stop putting them in her beans. We will accomplish little individually, but when we band together and shout as one, our message will be heard. Shout it with me: Bay leaves are a damn lie.