Yea or nay? Weighing in on the efficacy of bay leaves in cooking

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Paula Forbes uses fresh bay leaves that she is able to grow from bay laurel trees in Texas. Photo courtesy of Shutterstock.

Paula Forbes loves bay leaves but their relevance has been called into question online in recent weeks. Often fished out of pots, the leaves impart flavor but aren't edible. 

Last year, Ina Garten gave an interview to the New Yorker Radio Hour, where she questioned what the bay leaf brings to a recipe. A mixture of green tea and thyme, with a vegetal and floral quality, the leaves have a tinge of menthol and scent.

Paula Forbes weighs in on the bay leaf brouhaha for her Substack newsletter, Stained Page News and scoured cookbooks to see what experts had to say about their use in Indian, Arab, Louisianan, and Scandinavian cooking.