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Traveling With Miss Smart (Vol.1): Packing a Picnic

Posted Dec 20 2010 1:17pm
If you follow me on Twitter [and if you don't...um...why aren't you? I am obviously one of the most interesting people tweeting like Rockin' Robin---"tweet...tweet, tweet!" Well, except that I don't have a smart phone---just a smart kitchen*---so I hardly tweet at all...mostly just replies to Adam Richman in the hope that one day he will actually respond...{sigh}] then you know, like Toto, that we're not in Texas** anymore...

*You knew that was coming.
**True, Toto was from Kansas, but I figure since in Texas everyone looks at the entire East Coast as a big blob of same-ness, y'all probably figure the west is one large field of waving wheat.

Yes, y'all...my (cowgirl) boots were made for travelin', and that's just what they did. [Although I was wearing fake Uggs instead--$15!] Flew my way from Texas, through Tennessee, and right on to Philadelphia...to my homeland, if you will. After walking backwards down the sidewalk while trying to roll two suitcases and maneuver my oversized purse and bookbag, I found a lovely Christmas tree waiting for me at the Southwest Airlines counter in the Austin airport. Checked my bags (the reason I flew Southwest was because I could do that...for free), and moved on to security.

That's where the fun really begins.

See, if you've followed my blog for a long time, you know I am the queen of snacks while traveling. When my sister and I drove to Texas last summer, there was an entire section of the car devoted to travel snacks, and when I first came to Texas, the snacks for both the trip there and back were of huge importance in my planning. There is nothing I won't try to shove into the assorted pockets in my luggage, and I tend to bring enough food to last me should I end up stranded at the airport for days.
[Like an English muffin, we must take advantage of nooks and crannies.]

My goal is always to stay full without spending a dime.

So when I got to security, and I was told I needed to stop to have my bag checked, I wasn't surprised. What follows is a transcription, as I remember it, of the exchange between me and my very helpful secuirty guard [hereby known as SG].

Me: Is it my food?
SG: Don't know. Let's see. (Opens bag.) Hmmmm....(pulls out jar full of mysterious fruit and white substance)...cottage cheese?
Me: Yep!
SG: Interesting. (Reaches back in...pulls out three Ziploc bags.) You have quite a feast in here, don't you? Me: Well, you know...I mean, I hate to throw away food.
SG: Girl, who does? [Reaches back into the bag. Pulls out a container of blackberries.] Ah, I bet this is what set it off. Me: Blackberries? Really? Not the unmarked cottage cheese?
SG: Yeah, I don't get it either.
Me: Interesting.
SG: What else you got in here? I felt the apples. Me: Yeah. I think there are some oranges and a banana, too.
SG: Oh, they are cold! Those are gonna taste good. [Reaches back into the bag.] OK, we might have a problem with this. Me: No...really?
SG: I've never seen pumpkin pie yogurt.
Me: Oh, you really need to find a Super Target ! Archer Farms is awesome. This yogurt is SO good. [Bit my lip before launching into a comparison of this version versus the Safeway/Lucerne pumpkin yogurt. People might have started to stare.....not that they weren't already.]
SG: Girl, I am sure it is. It's over 3 oz. though. Let me see what I can do.
Me: Oh thank you.
SG: OK. I'll go run this back through.
[I put my boots back on and try to shove my book and DVD player into my extremely large purse. SG returns.]
Me: How'd it go?
SG: I took care of it. I told him, "This girl has got some good stuff going on in that bag! She's got veggies cut up. And they have spices on them. You don't even know."
Me: I hate to go hungry.
SG: Well, you'll be eating well. That's for sure.
Me: Have you had lunch yet?
SG: [Laughs]
Me: If you get hungry, I'll be waiting at Gate 18.

Interestingly enough, nothing was said about the honey almond butter in my purse.
You know, normal things to carry around.

And if you think that's all I had in there, you've got to be kidding me. Remember my new friendly Goldfish? Yeah, he totally came along for the ride. Full of cereal of course. [Whatever was left at the bottom of the box...some Nature's Path Vanilla Sunrise, puffed wheat, some Perky's Crunchy Flax, and a little of the Trader Joe's Pumpkin Granola that Maria sent me awhile back .
Clearly, some of that needed to end up on top of the Strawberry-Mango 'Buttah ' and cottage cheese concoction I had packed in a jar. [Everything is better in a jar.] (Gotta love how it looks like it's about to fall off the seat in this picture. Surprisingly, I got no strange looks from the people sitting around me when I first pulled out the jar and attempted to pour cereal into it NOR when I proceeded to take photographs. The woman next to me looked over only briefly when I stood up and proceeded to clean the great mess of cereal I had inadvertently spilled on my seat. But that was more of a glance of appreciation at my consideration of the janitorial staff. No one else even looked my way, despite the incessant shutter clicks of the camera.........That is why I love Austin.)

Oh wait, you thought that was all? Ha! I pity the fool who thinks I can't carry around my huge camera, two library books, an Ipod, my purse, a portable DVD player, three chargers for various electronic devices, and a supply of food to last me through the winter. Y'all know it's not a trip with Miss Smart if you don't have some protein bars! Don't forget the three packages of "Whole Grain Cereal with Curry" I found at the MT Market, Asian grocery store in Austin. You never know when you might need some curry. Or a high-protein, gluten-free grain blend, such as the Arzu sample I had received from the farm-direct showcase before seeing Michael Pollan last week. I brought the southwestern flavor in case I started to get homesick for Texas.

All I have to say to you people who wuss out about trying to get food through security...if you don't try, you'll never know. There are a lot of friendly, helpful people in the world (who understand the importance of staying satiated on a plane). This postcard might say Don't Mess With Texas... ...but when it comes to finagling your way through TSA, all you really need to remember is Don't Mess with Miss Smart....and her food.

Besides, sometimes you get lucky. Unlike my kiwis.
[I totally ate them anyway.]

I might be crazy, but where's the fun in normal?

"As TSA is my witness....I'll never go hungry again!"
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