Matt is a southern boy and he loves his grits. He couldn’t bear to be without a steady supply of his favorite hometown staple, Adluh Grits, for the four or so months we would be in Latin America. When it came time to lighten the load in his backpack, he forsook extra underwear just so he would have enough room for his 5lb bag of stone-ground grits. That’s dedication.

We bought one-way tickets from Columbia, South Carolina to Lima, Peru and checked no baggage, so we knew we were going to get the thorough TSA security shakedown. Little did we realize just how closely our packs would be scrutinized. As Matt’s mom anxiously waited in the background to see us through the security checkpoint, we were suddenly stopped cold at the conveyor belt.

Matt’s bag went through the x-ray first and like I suspected, the attendant jerked the machine to a stop and squinted into the monitor for what seemed like an eternity.

“Ah, there’s a corkscrew in there,” she said. Matt fished out the offending wine key. So that it would not be confiscated, he marched it back to his mom, leaving the security area in clad in socked feet. The bag began to lurch through a second time and was again stopped. This time they weren’t sure about his tweezers. He pulled them out; they were regular old tweezers. He got to keep them. The bag went through a third time with the same TSA officer looking at it’s contents.

“Hand inspection!” she called out.

Matt looked at me dumb-founded and followed the officer toward the metal table. She proceeded to pull every single item out of his pack. When she got to the bottom of his bag, she pulled out the package of yellow grits and breathed a sigh of relief, “Ahh,” she said, “On the x-ray, these look just like liquid!”