Cheese at Customs: Forever Cryovac

Anyone who has had a sniffer beagle stop at a piece of luggage and sit obediently and patiently knows the dread of what's to come -- or rather, of what's to go. The one time it happened to me was when I forgot to throw out the leftovers of a prosciutto panino I'd bought to eat on the plane.

But I've brought in a lot of cheese over the years, including raw-milk cheese that violated the under-90-days-of-aging rule the USDA long had in place. As Jeffrey Steingarten wrote in an article in Vogue, you'll seldom be busted, and few inspectors know or care much about the rules (and try finding them! Four searches using different terms, on both the USDA and State Department sites, brought me back to this page, which leads no place cheesy.

And now visitors to China need to worry about importing any kind of cheese at all, as Jim Fallows writes in his blog. Baffling for the reasons he gives -- China is worried about the safety of our dairy products? That's rich -- and also personally worrying: that dogs are good at sniffing any kind of cheese. Guess I'll stick to my rule: get the store to seal it in Cryovac, then free the sweaty, imprisoned cheese and rewrap it in wax-coated paper as soon as you get home.

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Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." More

Corby Kummer's work in The Atlantic has established him as one of the most widely read, authoritative, and creative food writers in the United States. The San Francisco Examiner pronounced him "a dean among food writers in America." Julia Child once said, "I think he's a very good food writer. He really does his homework. As a reporter and a writer he takes his work very seriously." Kummer's 1990 Atlantic series about coffee was heralded by foodies and the general public alike. The response to his recommendations about coffees and coffee-makers was typical--suppliers scrambled to meet the demand. As Giorgio Deluca, co-founder of New York's epicurean grocery Dean & Deluca, says: "I can tell when Corby's pieces hit; the phone doesn't stop ringing." His book, The Joy of Coffee, based on his Atlantic series, was heralded by The New York Times as "the most definitive and engagingly written book on the subject to date." In nominating his work for a National Magazine Award (for which he became a finalist), the editors wrote: "Kummer treats food as if its preparation were something of a life sport: an activity to be pursued regularly and healthfully by knowledgeable people who demand quality." Kummer's book The Pleasures of Slow Food celebrates local artisans who raise and prepare the foods of their regions with the love and expertise that come only with generations of practice. Kummer was restaurant critic of New York Magazine in 1995 and 1996 and since 1997 has served as restaurant critic for Boston Magazine. He is also a frequent food commentator on television and radio. He was educated at Yale, immediately after which he came to The Atlantic. He is the recipient of five James Beard Journalism Awards, including the MFK Fisher Distinguished Writing Award.

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