What you need to know about packing food souvenirs in your carry-on luggage—so you won't end up throwing away $45-worth of jam at airport security.
I once found a good deal on Peanut Butter & Co.'s Cinnamon Raisin Swirl peanut butter in Chicago and packed it in my carry-on to take back to the East Coast. At airport security, a T.S.A. officer confiscated the offending jar (but not before asking me where I had found something that looked so delicious) as tears collected in my eyes, imagining all those peanut butter-and-bananas that would not be.
Lest the same thing happen to you, here's a reminder of what food souvenirs you should skip out on, stow in your checked baggage (taking note, if you're traveling internationally, of what might not make it through customs), or ship home ahead of time. (Keep in mind that if your food is under 3.4 ounces, it's permissable.) We're including our staff's own airport security sob stories, too—because we've all been there.
1. Creamy dips and spreads, including peanut butter, mayonnaise, and soft cheeses (firm cheese are okay—bring on the cheddar!).
2. Jams, jellies (this includes honey), maple syrup, oil, and vinegar.
Haley had to give up a jar of honey in the Savannah airport.
Leslie said goodbye to five bottles of Guatemalan rum (but she snuck one in her coat).
And as for Kenzi? "I always forget that jam counts as a liquid. (Any chemistry majors? Does it really? The feistiness in me always wants to contend!) So, when I stashed two jars of (very expensive) Blackberry Farm jam to bring back for the office, the woman in the Knoxville airport had to throw them in the trash. I told her to wait until I could turn away."
3. Alcohol, like wine, liquor, and beer.
Rachel's story involves her dad and a medical emergency (drama!): "He was on a flight from France to New York that had a connection in Boston. There was a medical emergency (I think a flight attendant twisted his ankle) and because my dad's a doctor, he helped out. They gave him a bottle of wine as a thank you, but then they took it away when he got to customs in New York."
Victoria was stopped for Smirnoff: "My friends and I still like to 'ice' each other every Fourth of July because we still think it's 2010. A few years ago, we snuck one Smirnoff in my friends carry-on and T.S.A. was not happy. I have an amazing photo of the T.S.A. agent holding up the Smirnoff and my friend's shocked face."
A (former) student of English, a lover of raisins, a user of comma splices. My spirit animal is an eggplant. I'm probably the person who picked all of the cookie dough out of the cookie dough ice cream. For that, I'm sorry.