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Whole bay leaves are essential to any well-stocked kitchen cupboard. The pungent, aromatic flavour of the bay, or laurel, leaf has been held in high esteem for centuries - Olympic champions were known to wear a wreath of bay leaves to commemorate their victory. Ground bay leaves should not be readily substituted for whole bay leaves in every recipe. While whole leaves can be easily removed when the intended flavor is met during the cooking process, ground bay leaves will continue to build flavor, which can alter the desired outcome.