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Again? - A little less than a happy high
komos
komos
Again?
Tony Bourdain visited some amazing places in the No Reservations "Pacific Northwest" episode, but none got my mind racing like his crashing a meeting of Gypsy, an underground, members-only dining club. Although their mission statement is rife with the kind of superlative that is likely to attract the most rarefied and narcissistic foodies, ("We are entering a new golden era of food with the most educated clientele ever and the most daring chefs ever. Gypsy is the place where these two groups can come together and become electrified with possibility."), their guest chef with no boundaries approach seemed to be right on.

No, they're not the punk rock of cookery, as much as I'd like to see something like it. There is a certain amount of sneering in the face of authority, however, and I need to give a special shout to the chef who talked about smuggling raw-milk cheese into the US - specifically to have it featured in this meal - in his kid's diaper bag. Chef, I salute your daring and your commitment to your ingredients.

~*~

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The author and readers of this journal are absolutely and collectively opposed to the unlawful importation of cheese, and continue to discourage unlawful conduct of any kind. Under no circumstances should the presence of accolades for a chef or any other party engaging in unlawful importation of cheese be construed as endorsement or encouragement to engage or to participate in such activities. The author adamantly discourages any traveler from purchasing raw-milk cheese with the intent of importing it into the US, especially if he or she then removes any label that could indicate that the product was aged for less than 60 days, wraps it carefully in at least two ziplock bags, and packs it in checked luggage.

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Comments
cris From: cris Date: August 3rd, 2007 06:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
one time, while returning from Canada, I had a small bag of FDA-proscribed sichuan peppercorns in the trunk of my car. it felt thrilling to cross the border. not.

in truth, I didn't realize that it was a banned substance until I mentioned it to a friend and they were all, "you have sichuan peppercorns!? who's your source? can you put me in touch? please?"
komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2007 07:19 pm (UTC) (Link)
I think I'd be a little more on board the USFDA's mission to protect the public if it was clear that they paid as much attention to prescription drugs as they do foodstuffs that already meet impressive standards in their countries of origin. As it stands, it seems like enforcement is increasingly lax for the one, and is downright capricious for the other.

But seriously, peppercorns?

cris From: cris Date: August 3rd, 2007 07:25 pm (UTC) (Link)
supposedly there were citrus pests that lived amongst the crop that could DECIMATE the American agricultural industry if they were unleashed on unsuspecting orange and lemon groves.

they're permitted now, though whether this was because USFDA realized that the ban was silly or China came up some kind of 'cross-my-heart/hope-to-die' promise about sending all of the citrus pests to re-education camps, I do now know.
komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2007 07:28 pm (UTC) (Link)
Given recent events in the world of toothpaste, I'd say it was probably something closer to option B.
cris From: cris Date: August 3rd, 2007 08:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
watching China ban American pork and chicken products my new plan is:

1. hoard sichuan peppercorns
2. wait for Chinese/American trade war
3. ???
4. PROFIT!!!
komos From: komos Date: August 4th, 2007 03:41 am (UTC) (Link)
It's a good plan.
cook_ting From: cook_ting Date: August 3rd, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC) (Link)
It's kind of a sideways jump, but I'm definitely mulling Canada as a residential destination in the coming years. NZ is too far away, SF too prone to falling into the ocean, Amsterdam just isn't English enough. I'm getting tired of the gub'mint keeping me from my God given right to raw-milk cheese and semi-legal weed.
komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2007 07:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
Don't you know that the gub'mint's primary purpose is to save you from yourself?
cook_ting From: cook_ting Date: August 3rd, 2007 07:53 pm (UTC) (Link)
Oh, I thought it was to save my heathen soul with the power of Jebus.
komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2007 08:01 pm (UTC) (Link)
If everyone's saved, there'll be no one left for Giant Robot Jesus to fry with his Lazer Zword when the Rapture comes.
cook_ting From: cook_ting Date: August 3rd, 2007 08:06 pm (UTC) (Link)
That's a good point. The Raptured won't get to look down their ethereal noses at sinners suffering under the lash of the Jebus Squad if everyone's saved. Quick, everyone convert so we can screw those bitches outta their entertainment.
futurenurselady From: futurenurselady Date: August 3rd, 2007 07:32 pm (UTC) (Link)
The reason the screen for cheese is because many types of it have the same consistency and shape as plastique explosives...
komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2007 07:35 pm (UTC) (Link)
If that's the case, then why is customs at your destination?
futurenurselady From: futurenurselady Date: August 3rd, 2007 07:48 pm (UTC) (Link)
In airports now when they x-ray the bags and they see cheese, they'll confiscate it.

I think this is happening more on domestic flights though.

http://www.federalnewsradio.com/?nid=78&sid=1199174
komos From: komos Date: August 3rd, 2007 07:57 pm (UTC) (Link)
The article discusses "block" and "processed block" cheese in combination with electronics that can resemble power sources and detonators. Soft, raw milk cheeses are quite different than block or processed cheese.

Customs and the USFDA has had a mad on about raw-milk cheese long before anyone started worrying about terr'ists blowing up planes. Health concerns are cited, as unpasteurized milk may harbor listeria and other bacteria.
From: mittenstone Date: August 4th, 2007 04:46 pm (UTC) (Link)

foodies must die

Allegedly, according to "Jeffy" Steingarten (don't ask me why I'm reading one of his books) all you have to do to smuggle these cheeses in is to declare them. There are no FDA inspectors at customs.

The USDA, however, is everywhere. No imported jerky for you.
komos From: komos Date: August 5th, 2007 05:14 pm (UTC) (Link)

There are foodies and there are foodies

I knew there was an allowance on cheese for personal use, but was unaware that customs allows dairy products as a matter of course.

I assume that the USDA doesn't even permit that, though?
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