According to today's Wall Street Journal, the "Underwear Bomber" may not have have caused the destruction he desired, but oddly enough, he has dashed the dreams of meat-loving Americans.
In the wake of Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab's failed underpants bombing attempt on Christmas, the new slate of airport scrutiny -- pat-down searches, body scans and more-meticulous baggage examinations -- is throwing a monkey wrench in the plans of chefs hoping to sneak in a salami or ham from a faraway land:
Such measures might discourage terrorists, but they are also likely to catch chefs smuggling meat from Europe. Chefs such as Rey Knight, who once flew from Italy to Miami with a pork shoulder and fennel-pollen salami vacuum-sealed and hidden inside a stainless-steel water bottle. Another time, he says, he hid a 4-pound goose-liver torchon from France inside the belly of a salmon...
...Mr. Knight and other chefs go to such lengths because it is illegal to bring many of the world's most treasured meats into the country. (Fish are OK.) The government calls this smuggling. But chefs say their motives are mainly educational: They use them to reverse-engineer their own versions.
Apparently, Knight and other carnivore devotees have gone as far as to hire professional labs to analyze the foreign finocchiona and such, in order to recreate it here in the States. An admirable pursuit in my opinion, but customs officials seem to disagree:
Smuggling is something you do with drugs or kids," jokes executive chef Chris Cosentino, whose San Francisco restaurant Incanto specializes in dishes that use most every part of an animal. "Our goal is to improve the food system."...
...Because customs officials once caught him with sausages made from donkey parts hidden in shoes packed in his luggage, Mr. Cosentino's bags were already subject to extra attention. He once got around that by duct taping to the inside of his blue jeans seeds for a special variety of chicory he found at a pet-food store in Bologna, Italy. Scanners able to see through clothing, now being installed in many foreign airports, should put an end to such practices.
Don't the U.S. Customs Office and Office of Homeland Security have more important things to worry about than these sorts of chef shenanigans?