The past few weeks have seen a steady stream of deliveries to my already crowded desk. If I'm away from the office for more than a day, my desk, chair and any nearby floor space are covered with bags - and a fruit-filled hamper or two - bearing the names of hotels and restaurants. Yes, it's mooncake season once again. It's hard for those of us working for a newspaper to think of all the holidays - major and minor ones - as just one day; whether it's Secretaries' Day, Mothers' Day, Easter, Mid-Autumn Festival, Christmas or Lunar New Year, we start receiving e-mails about it months in advance, so when the date actually comes, it's an anticlimax. For certain holidays we receive gifts, and for Mid-Autumn it's boxes and boxes of mooncakes. As with all the gifts sent to me for work, I like to 'share the wealth', but giving away mooncakes can be hard, as not everyone appreciates them. I'm fairly old-fashioned when it comes to mooncakes: other than the Peninsula's mini-egg custard mooncakes, which are like delicate French pastry, I like the heavy, traditional type filled with white lotus paste and two salted egg yolks (more yolks is overkill, in my opinion). I also like mooncakes filled with seeds and nuts, and occasionally, the type filled with red bean. I avoid 'snowy' types, which have a wrapper made of glutinous rice, and think that dried abalone, shark's fin and bird's nest shouldn't be anywhere near mooncakes, much less in them. While ice cream mooncakes taste good, they're mooncakes in name and shape only. But was I the last person to find out about the ban on taking mooncakes into the US? Several years ago, I visited my parents in California for the festival, bearing two boxes of my mother's favourite white lotus paste mooncakes with two yolks. As I went to the 'nothing to declare' customs queue, the officer - in what turned out to be an act of racial profiling - made me go to the line where they checked the luggage. Everyone he sent over to this line was of Asian descent. Even before I put my bag up on the X-ray machine, the next customs officer asked if I had mooncakes in my luggage. When I said yes, he asked if they had egg yolks in them, to which I said 'of course'. 'Then you'll have to throw them away,' was his unexpected reply. When I asked why, he said: 'Have you ever heard of bird flu?' I was tempted to reply that any virus that could survive being salted, then baked like the yolks in mooncakes should be admired for its resilience, but resisted. My mother, who had been looking forward to the mooncakes (the ones made in the US aren't as good), was disappointed, but happy to have me home. We celebrated with a feast, minus the mooncakes.