A cream cheese worth the risk?
Why is it I always go back to food? My tastes are really not all that refined and pretty generic. However, once you have a taste where nothing else compares, I question if it is worth the risk of going to the ends of the earth to satisfy that taste bud.
I traveled back to NY this past week for spring break. While I was there, I visited with friends and family, went to NYC for a touristy kind of day and felt as if I had finally to come to terms with my move to Raleigh. After all its been 10 months since that fateful day where all my worldly possessions were packed tightly into a moving truck and I no longer ceased to exist in Huntington. My mind always goes back to the tastes of my youth when I come for a visit and what better way to acknowledge that is by addressing the bagel and cream cheese combination.
At the local bagel establishment, if you order a bagel with cream cheese, the one behind the counter is well conditioned to slab at least a quarter pound of cream cheese onto a doughy warm bagel. While some like that preparation of bagel and cream cheese, I prefer my bagel toasted and have a thin layer of whipped cream cheese spread out onto the bagel. I eat it in pieces rather than like a sandwich. The whipped goodness is from Breakstones, the Temptee Cream Cheese brand, not to be confused with any other type like Philadelphia. It is smooth light and delicious.
All that information is pretty random and unimportant until you can’t get your hands on it where you live. Again, I really don’t eat cream cheese on a regular basis but because I cannot go to my local supermarket, grocery store or heaven forbid Walmart, it’s as if the world has come to an end and I am left wondering how far I was willing to go to get my hands on that specific dairy product.
Its obvious to me, and to others I would assume, that when visiting in New York, you stock your luggage with the necessities that remind you of your hometown – bagels and cream cheese. On this past visit, I did just that. Hunkered down with a dozen dense and doughy bagels, as well as two large containers of Temptee Cream Cheese – identifiable with its bright pink packaging, I was ready to return to Raleigh. Because I was taking two planes instead of one, and the travel time was close to 4 hours, I decided to freeze the white goodness. Once my son and I were finished going through the metal detectors at Long Island MacArthur airport, we were quickly escorted to the private area where our carry-on was searched. I asked myself, did I turn my son’s cell phone off, did I I pack my mother’s kitchen knife, did I not pack all of my toiletries in my checked luggage inside the small clear Zip lock bag and started to freak out.
As the TSA agent opened my bag and I mentioned my mission to bring Temptee Cream Cheese to Raleigh and enlighten my fellow North Carolinians because I miss it so much, I reached into the bag to show her and she swatted my arm away telling me that this dairy spread is indeed a banned substance, including it with all gels and liquid substances. You can’t pour it, you spread it I wondered out loud. I could understand if this was a health risk, and it is if you eat a bagel with a quarter pound of cream cheese for breakfast every day but a woman traveling with her 11 year old bringing back some New York goodness was ridiculous. “You wouldn’t believe what can be hidden in cream cheese” was her answer. “Tons of fat and calories” I replied in my head. When she pulled out the containers she noticed that they were frozen and because of that, she double checked if I could bring them on, and some other TSA Official agreed to let me through with my goods. “You are sure lucky you froze it” she said as she shoved those items back into my backpack. At that point, I could have used the container as a weapon and and clocked her in her head. I was more than relieved that my frozen containers of Temptee Cream Cheese were allowed to go through, especially since small pocket and pen knives are now allow on planes also. At least we have knives to cut the bagels, spread the frozen cream cheese and have a meal on the plane.
I didn’t need that little excitement at 6:30 in the morning and once we got to our waiting area my son was asking, “why the cream cheese Mom?!” He was as bewildered as I, but more embarrassed that we were pulled out of our line up. I wasn’t sure he was asking why I was bringing it back, why the TSA wouldn’t allow this on the plane or why was I making a big deal about it.
I suppose that I will continually make a big deal about anything that reminds me of where I am from. Who knew that I would be come so nostalgic in my early age.