What is it?
Bay leaves are also known as laurel leaves or bay laurels and come from a tree native to the eastern Mediterranean. The flavor of bay is best brought out by slow cooking, which makes them useful in stocks, soups, roasts, stews and marinades as well as pickling and brining.
Bay leaves were used to make up crowns for poets and victorious athletes in antiquity.
Bay leaves are essential to all gumbos, boiled shrimp and great marinara sauces. Usually 2-3 leaves are plenty (too many can make a dish bitter) in a dish serving 4 to 6 people. Generally, the leaves are removed before serving.