today i went to the store to buy szechwan peppercorns (i've never used 'em, but i have a recipe for a szechwan chile stir fry that calls for them). When i could not locate the peppercorns, i asked a woman (who seemed very knowlegeable on the substantial section of asian foods and spices) if they carried them. she said that for about a year they haven't been able to carry them because of an FDA problem with the method that the peppercorns are dried.
i briefly looked on the web, and noticed that szechwan peppercorns seem easily available fom at least 1 US company.
has anyone heard anything about such a ban, or was her explanation completely off the mark? i plan to use black pepper as a substitute until i get my hands on the 'real deal', any other suggestions?