As a kosher consumer I am always looking for new and interesting kosher products. If I see something unusual I usually snap it up; I'll figure out a way to use it afterwards. And as a kosher cook and busy mother (although it's only my home, it frequently feels like a 24-hour diner), I am always looking for time-saving products.
So I was excited on a recent trip to the east coast to find boxes of prepared vanilla custard. All cooks have their psychological blocks. Custard is one of mine. I can make the tart crust. I can set out the fruit and make and brush on the glaze. But custard eludes me. So this was a thrilling discovery (sometimes it's the little things!).
I only bought two boxes (an exercise in self-control) but I was eager to try them and looked forward to an early opportunity, probably the upcoming Shabbos.
At the airport our bags were overweight (with the new 50 pound limit, aren't everyone's?!), so we began frantically reallocating our items. We moved a lot of books to our carry-on bags. We moved some shampoo, some deodorant -- and the custard.
As we passed through the security check, the agent began removing items from our carry-on -- the shampoo, the deodorant and…yes, the custard. "But it's not a liquid," I gently protested. To no avail.
I'm not sure what explosive substances could masquerade as vanilla custard but rules are rules. Some TSA agent was going to be able to make that tart for her family that evening. I thought longingly of the more astute El Al security and yearned for the days of racial profiling!
As silly as it sounds, and given the rest of the challenges of that day of flying, I was upset by the loss of that custard, frustrated that I hadn't thought of the regulations when repacking, more frustrated that vanilla custard was on the list of banned products.
A week later my son returned home from a vacation in New York. His grandfather gave him a Swiss army knife for a present (It's a guy thing). Unthinkingly, he put it in his carry-on, and sailed through security without a problem. I wonder if he would have had better luck than me with the vanilla custard.
Sometimes you just have to laugh at life's absurdities.