Six question marks? No one we know is that interested in a bouquet garni. But it is a collection of herbs (traditionally fresh parsley, fresh or dried thyme, and bay leaf) that are bundled together and cast adrift in your pot to flavor a soup, stew, or broth. They are tied together so they can be removed easily at the end of the cooking.

Some people wrap the herbs in a bit of cheesecloth, but the cooking teacher and author Madeleine Kamman advises against it, implying that the cheesecloth inhibits the free exchange of flavor with the food you’re cooking. Who are we to argue?

We recently came upon an incredibly aromatic pre-made French bouquet garni, containing oregano, thyme, savory, and bay leaves, that costs just a bit more than $1 each. The herbs alone are worth nearly that, and to save the trouble of gathering and tying it all up – well, that seems like a small price to pay. If you make stews, soups, or roasts with any regularity at all, this is something you might like to have on hand.