Sunday, July 11, 2010

Kitchening: Bay Leaves

Have you ever wondering why you have bay leaves? I mean, you probably have never thought to yourself, "Oh, if I could only get a good whiff of a bay leaf, then all my petty troubles would disappear." I know that thought has never crossed my mind. Couple of days ago I was perusing a food blog on the New York Times and came across a question to readers about what to do with the pile of bay leaves every cook almost inevitably has in their cabinet. There were the usual answers: stews and marinara sauce, but quite a few surprising ones I thought we should all be aware of:

1. To keep bugs at bay (oh man that was a good pun). Supposedly these innocuous leaves are a natural repellent that can help keep your flour from getting buggy--Shanghailanders take note, especially if you don't have room in your tiny little fridges for the mian fen.

2. To simmer with your chai.

3. To add some flava flave (I'm laughing at myself for typing that) to your rice pudding. Even to simmer in your milk as you're making mac & cheese (the real kind.)

4. For Indian food. Apparently loads of dishes use them.

5. To calm the stomach. Simmer a few leaves in water to make a tea that soothes the digestive system.

For more uses from NY Times readers click here. Also, are y'all listening to Toad the Wet Sprocket like I asked and hopefully squeezing in some Gin Blossoms (especially "Found Out About You")? I found the albums for $.75 a piece on I'm totally buying them.

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