A Tribute to the Bay Laurel

April 13, 2010 § 2 Comments

Yesterday, each time we opened the ovens to check on the duck, the sizzle sizzle of duck fat was accompanied by a waft of the scent of bay.  Waft, waft. A lovely smell, and hard for me to describe.  A little bit citrus, a little bit floral, a little bit woody.

It was only recently that I made the connection between the dry, crumbly, gray leaves in the spice display at the grocery store and the glossy evergreen shrub I had seen at nurseries.  I had always tossed a couple of bay leaves from a jar into a soup or stew when directed to, but I didn’t really see how they benefited a recipe.  They had no discernible scent.

It may have been JM, now that I think about it, who first plucked a bay leaf from a bush and smashed it for me to smell. Wow, what a difference from the dessicated version sold at QFC.  I bought a Bay Laurel and put it right next to my back door, and watched it grow (and grow and grow).  Now we are never without fresh bay, and neither are any of my friends or relatives.  The Bay Laurel bush needs  decisive pruning to keep it at bay (hardy har), so we always have some to give away.

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