RE: cheese straws
Thanks for the recommendations, everyone.
emsmom, I actually ordered some cheese straws from the Old Salem website about a week ago - just got the package and haven't tried them yet, but I'll post a report when I do.
Well, they were pretty good, and heating them in the oven for a few minutes improves the taste and texture. But they were a little too spicy for me - cayenne seems to be the traditional addition to these - and I ordered the "mild" variety. Good thing I didn't get the "hot" ones. Happily, I have found an unlikely local source, a HomeGoods store in Pittsfield, MA that has a small fancy foods section - mostly things more decorative than edible, but also, hallelujah!, high-end cookies, crackers and several flavors of cheese straws. They are exorbitantly priced, but still less exorbitant than any mail order ones, for which of course you also pay the ridiculous shipping charge.