Thursday, August 27, 2009

Smuggling the goods, right under TSA's nose

The Transportation Security Agency officers were in a serious mood at Tucson International Airport as they pulled aside my stuffed black backpack for further inspection.

This isn't looking good for me, I said to myself as I acceded to their polite yet firm questioning. I readily admitted to "smuggling" six pounds of frozen chorizo and five dozen flour tortillas.

The chorizo is from American Meat Co., maker of the best chorizo in Tucson since 1953. The flour tortillas are from La Estrella Bakery Inc., a South 12th Avenue institution since 1986.

(Disclaimer: American Meat was founded by my uncles and is now owned and run by my cousins; I spent part of my youth elbow-deep in vats of chorizo, but that's a blog for another day).

"Why shouldn't we just confiscate this chorizo?" asked the Mejicana TSA officer, a hint of a smile beginning to show.

"I'm under strict orders to bring home the goods," I said in a pleading voice. "I may not be allowed in the door without them."

With that, she and her fellow officer allowed me to pass.

"I see this all the time," the male officer said. "Must be something about chorizo and tortillas from Tucson."

Indeed. My "smuggling" efforts will allow us to eat like the true South Siders that we are for the next while.

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