I have an irrational fear of bay leaves.

Growing up I remember my mother was insistent that if a renegade bay leaf remained in the pot and made it to someone’s dish that it not be ingested. What I recall was that to eat a bay leaf would mean instant, hideous death.

I made a dish this week (shrimp, cabbage, and beans) that calls for bay leaves for seasoning. I added four leaves. And then instead of plucking them out as I should have before serving, I forgot about them.

The last dish of shrimp, cabbage, and beans has just been consumed by Allen. When pushed he admits that he only picked out one bay leaf from the whole of what he has eaten. I found none. That means that one or both of us has eaten one or all of the remaining bay leaves.

We may not have long to live.

So when faced with such worries I do what is now normal, enter BAY LEAF DEATH and DEATH BY BAY LEAF INGESTION into Google and see what comes up.

Okay, so here is what I’ve found:

Other localized responses to herbs resulting in problems have been caused by ingestion of whole bay leaves. Three cases of bay leaf ingestion requiring endoscopic removal have been reported (25,26). The problem occurred when whole bay leaves were left in foods. The wavy edges of the leaves appear to make them prime candidates for adherence to the mucosa of the pharynx.

Oh. My. God.
prime candidates for adherence to the mucosa of the pharynxprime candidates for adherence to the mucosa of the pharynxprime candidates for adherence to the mucosa of the pharynx

Calm down. Search mucosa of the pharynx:

The lower nasal mucosa and the pharynx of thirty eastern and twenty-three western horses have been examined for streptococci.

What now? horses and streptococci:

Other Group C streptococci are also part of the normal flora of the human nasopharynx, skin and genital tract, and most Group C infections in people are of human origin.

Next? human origin:

journey through four million years of human evolution

Evolution.

And so now I know that if you eat a bay leaf and do not die, you will evolve.

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