Bay (Laurus nobilis)

Laurier. Laurel

Appears in

Perennial small tree or bush. Cannot survive severe winters but, in Europe, is a common potted plant used widely as a geometrically pruned decorative element on café terraces or in hotel lobbies. Sacred to Apollo, it crowned the heads of poets, heroes, and warriors and was chewed by the Bacchante and the Delphic pythoness to hallucinogenic ends.

Imported bay will serve you better than the harsh and aggressive California bay leaf. Bay (with thyme and parsley) belongs to the basic trinity of the bouquet garni, and it alone rarely finds other uses (see Pommes de Terre en Daube. Pieces are sometimes alternated with skewered meats and vegetables. In prolonged cooking processes, the fragment of bay leaf used in a bouquet garni is insufficient, its initial self-assertion being attenuated and refined over a period of several hours.