Since 1949, we the people of the United States, a country that prides itself on the freedom to choose, have been denied the most basic of human rights. More important, perhaps, than freedom of religion, we have been denied the freedom to eat. Under the guise of protecting the public’s health, the semi-fascist Food and Drug Administration hassuccessfully blocked the importation into America of unpasteurized reblochon, Livarot, and Camembert.
If that weren’t reason enough to emigrate, the FDA has its dictatorial sights on Emmentaler, Gruyère, Parmigiano-Reggiano, and other raw milk cheeses that have managed to survive the 60-day aging rule (unpasteurized cheese must be aged at least 60 days, mandates the FDA, to insure that any “harmful” bacteria are eradicated). Of course, such bacteria are the equivalent of the fat in your steak — they are what impart flavor, taste, and complexity to the cheese. And the further extension of the 60-day rule does not just keep out foreigners.
Meadowcreek Dairy Farm of Virginia (Virginia, birthplace of more presidents than any other State) also gave birth to Grayson cheese, a heavenly Taleggio-like cheese that is one of my favorites. Grayson was invented using good old-fashioned, made-in-the-US-of-A-ingenuity with the single purpose of creating a bloomy, stinky, soft, washed-rind cheese whose flavor profile could survive the government’s arbitrary 60-day aging requirement. But now even Virginia’s native cheese is threatened by a government that wants to impose its lack of taste buds on the American cheese palate by lengthening the aging requirement or maybe even banning raw milk cheeses altogether.
Apparently the FDA will not rest until we are all shaking green Kraft “Real” Parmesan cheese canisters over our macaroni, or making our fondues with Cheez Whiz from a can. But all is not lost — I’m not alone out here shouting in the wind, there are others who believe the same thing. We need to band together — form a movement. Forget the Tea Party. What we need in this country is a (Wine and) Cheese Party.