Holy ravioli, a bay leaf conspiracy (!), why kitchen work is always relevant work experience, and more stories from the week.

Photo by Bobbi Lin

5 of the best things we read this week:

  • Turns out almost everything on your local grocery store's shelves—from prebagged salads to packs of chicken breasts to bottled smoothies—was put there by the Army. (Sort of.) [Vice Munchies]
  • A new cookbook of recipes sourced from members of the Pontifical Swiss Guard tells the story of how the Vatican eats. [NPR's The Salt]
  • The way mushrooms are grown is pretty magical (whether or not the mushrooms are "magic"). [Lucky Peach]
Photo by Mark Weinberg
  • What do bay leaves even do? One writer smells a conspiracy. [The Awl]
  • Don't let anyone ever tell you a kitchen job isn't relevant work experience. It's some of the best work experience you can have. [NPR's The Salt]

Did you read (or see) anything worth sharing this week? Tell us in the comments below!

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Every Sunday, we round up our favorite food reads (podcasts, and videos) from the week, so you can sit back with that cup of coffee and settle in to catch up on what's happening in the world of food.

See what other Food52 readers are saying.

  • marmar
  • RGnSD
  • Smaug
  • 702551
  • Caroline Lange
    Caroline Lange
Writing and cooking in Brooklyn.


marmar March 14, 2016
I know, as a veteran cook, I'm not supposed to agree with the Bay leaf article. But, so help me, I've got to come clean. I don't think I've ever smelled a Bay leaf. I don't think I've ever tasted a Bay leaf. It's not something I'm proud of!
My husband - NOT a veteran cook - considers Bay to be one of the strongest spices in my cabinet. Every time I cook with it he enters the kitchen exclaiming about how aromatic it all is! So I really don't think it's because my spices are bad! I even grew a bay leaf tree on my window for a while!
The truth is, the only reason I ever include it in my stews...beans...etc...is because I'm "supposed" to.

Any chance this could be the next big cilantro type debate...?
RGnSD March 14, 2016
Where is the info about that lovely cake?
Caroline L. March 14, 2016
hi RGnSD, that recipe is here! https://food52.com/recipes/34244-sausage-cheddar-and-chive-biscuit-bread?preview=true
Smaug March 13, 2016
I don't know if this is a common occurrence or not, but somewhere around the age of 50 I developed a hole in my nose where bay leaves are concerned- I can barely smell them anymore, and I do have plenty of access to good, fresh bay. I do know one other person it happened to, but she lost a lot of smells, apparently a side effect of cancer treatment.
702551 March 13, 2016
The whole bay leaf brouhaha is utter nonsense. Crush up a bay leaf and boil in water. Taste anything? Smell anything?

Add to the fact that people have been cooking with bay laurel for millennia.

If some chefs can't taste bay leaf, well that explains why a lot of restaurant have over-spiced, completely out-of-balance food.

The bay leaf debate brings food discussion down yet another notch. Appalling.
Dessito March 13, 2016
My initial reaction to the bayleaf piece was the same as cv's, but then I realized where I was reading it and thought a little more. I would guess it was intended as satire (interviewing a ton of sources only looking for confirmation) of some sort. It clearly failed to make that intent clear so not a great piece of writing, but less infuriating when you think of it that way and not as "food journalism."
702551 March 13, 2016
I agree that it is not a great piece of writing. It's not even clever even if you consider it as satire.

Again, I would say the whole thing is appalling. But hey, these are the times we live in. Enjoy.