I know, I know, there's no such thing as a stupid question. Still, at this point in my cooking experience, it's a little embarrassing that I don't know the answers to these two questions.
1) I have a decent quality farberware millenium stainless steel saute pan that seems to smoke up on the sides no matter what I do. I feverishly add oil or butter, I lower the heat as much as I possibly can given the recipe and yet I always get the black smoke thing on the sides. It sends me into a panic because I'm worried about ruining my food and/or filing the room with smoke. What gives? I use a gas stove, albiet it's a crappy stove, but still I am able to adjust the heat quickly when necessary. Do I live with the smoke, saute at a lower heat, what?
2) What's the story with Bay Leaves? I add them when a recipe calls for them, but do they REALLY add flavor? The dried ones smell like nothing before I put them in and after. I feel like it's more of a talisman than anything. Are we all just adding bay leaves for good luck?
Thanks for indulging me!