Mango Pickle Down River

mangopickle.jpgAharay! What a waste of perfectly good achar

The X-ray equipment used by TSA airport security in Columbus could not detect what was inside a sealed canister in a bag being inspected around 7 p.m. Tuesday. [wlwt]

A brown woman? A suspicious package? Airport security to the rescue!

The container was labeled “baby food,” but authorities say security personnel became suspicious when the woman who owned the suitcase claimed the canister held pickles. [kansascity]

<

p> There’s only one thing to do.

The fire department bomb squad removed the item from the airport and detonated it, discovering the mangoes.

No one was hurt. Flights and other airport operations were not interrupted.[wlwt]

There are two things I love to this story. First, I wonder where this woman was going that she absolutely had to pack mango achar in her luggage. Where ever it was, she just absolutely could not leave home without the essential mango pickle to take with her. Secondly, I find it hilarious that they detonated the canister of achar. I imagine flying tangy orange sauce exploding all over the members of the bomb squad and pieces of mango getting stuck in their hair. Couldn’t they have just uncapped the jar and tasted it instead?

Desi, please.

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About Taz

Taz is an activist, organizer and writer based in California. She is the founder of South Asian American Voting Youth (SAAVY), curates MutinousMindState.tumblr.com and blogs at TazzyStar.blogspot.com. Follow her at twitter.com/tazzystar

27 thoughts on “Mango Pickle Down River

  1. Wow. Lol.

    Everytime my family and I visit my grandparents, my parents always end up bring home like a gallon of achar. Guess we’ve been lucky so far? No one’s detonated it yet.

    Sometimes they open it and smell it. They did that to my uncle, but it’s judging by the sweat and how red the security guard looked, I think just the smell of the pepper in the achar nearly killed him. Lol. They’re probably safer detonating it, as opposed to tasting it.

  2. Looks like MLID has one like it. I’m not even a great fan of pickles but just thinking of mango and now lemon pickle is making my mouth water. Also, I glanced really quickly at the photo before starting to read and for a split second thought the post was going to be about the British woman who found something extra-special in a jar of tikka masala sauce. (Don’t scroll down if you are faint of stomach.)

  3. Achar is one of those great condiments that is hard to explain why you like it; if you show it to most meat and potatoes and mayonnaise types, they’d be all like – wtf ?

    But you put that stuff next to some buttered alloo parathas, with some sour cream - wow. My gf even likes a little bit of it on buttered toast in the morning sometimes.

    But yeah – don’t get why they had to esplode it. Hope it didn’t get in anyone’s eye.

  4. Somehow, food on a train is normal but food on an airplane is funny. Decades ago, my Jewish grandmother flew in to visit with an entire cooked turkey in her suitcase. Apparently Gran was afraid my non-Jewish mother could not cook, and my mother was afraid Gran’s turkey would poison everyone!

  5. the British woman who found something extra-special in a jar of tikka masala sauce

    aarfgh.

    Out of curiosity, could anyone with access to CCD camera capture the IR heat signature of desi foods. i know bua’s achar is da bomb… but seriously, would the capscainoids (sp?) trigger any alarms? MLID

  6. First, I wonder where this woman was going that she absolutely had to pack mango achar in her luggage

    really? Wow, my fam in India’s homemade achar is extraordinary and the store-bought achar can’t compare. I believe part of this is b/c the fruit is picked from their garden and then achar made with mussel is difficult I think to find. It’s a must everytime we come back from India, that we bring back sealed plastic containers of our fam’s homemade achar. I just got back from India about a month ago, and what did my little sis request I bring – mango achar – Viniauntie’s version…and I did..thank goodness I got to bypass the explosions!

  7. My high school gave out limited tickets to graduation so my mom printed out signs that said “Reserved” and taped them to fifty seats before the ceremony started. MLID

    >

    Today, my friend and I were watching TV. He grabbed the remote and took off the plastic covering, which has been on for the past 3 years. After he left, I put the cover back on knowing that there would be a chapal waiting for me from my dad for this act of unintentional insubordination. MLID
  8. Genius post title, Taz!

    OK, I am dense or not getting the cultural nuance. Please help explain the title.

  9. Out of curiosity, could anyone with access to CCD camera capture the IR heat signature of desi foods. i know bua’s achar is da bomb… but seriously, would the capscainoids (sp?) trigger any alarms? MLID

    Curry Powder certainly did on this Air India flight. (link)

  10. Genius post title, Taz! OK, I am dense or not getting the cultural nuance. Please help explain the title.

    It’s the title of an M.I.A. song. :-)

  11. My mother in law flew in last week with no less than 10 large plastic tubs full of various kinds of homemade achaar; nimbu, same, aam, and more. (half for us and half for my sister in law.) This post makes me wonder HOW she got through security. If one small baby food jar alerts suspicion, my MIL would’ve looked like a trafficker.

  12. Airport security: In charge of our safety

    Bomb squad: People with advanced education in chemistry and engineering

    And not a single functional brain between them.

  13. Hmmmm Columbus, Ohio? Was this woman wearing a Michigan shirt by any change. They’ll let a brown woman with a suspicious package go, but not a Michigan grad ! On a similar note, one of my uncles came to visit us with a bag of gujias. Not only did the security guy believe him when he said they were sweets, but tasted one too.

  14. It’s the title of an M.I.A. song. :-)

    OK, that explains why I am M.I.A.opic:)

  15. Zubin Mehta is known to have carried a matchbox sized container of mirchi powder in his pockets, “Sprinkle some on your food, and anything tastes nice!” What to do if you can’t have the dhansak and walnut ice-cream!

  16. Oh how I love my current ‘hometown’ Columbus. This reminds me actually of a sign I saw in Bombay airport in 2006. The Airport Authoritties of India had a large note saying pickles could not be carried on as hand-luggage (pre 3 oz restrictions on liquid) and I’m wondering what is this inner fury that our beloved achar carries. Yeah, and that person carrying the pickles in Columbus was probably a Michigan fan.

  17. If it were my own homemade mango achaar (recipe from Sudha Koul’s cookbook), I might definitely want to pack it with me. Maybe it wasn’t “labeled” baby food, maybe it was something homemade, but repacked into a re-used babyfood jar more likely.

    More strange is the security getting “suspicious” when she called it “pickle”. I can just see the Ohioans: “Those sure ain’t no Vlasic dill spears…. let’s whisk that thing away and DETONATE IT!”

    I’m sure people bring stranger foodstuffs with them (I’ve heard of people smuggling giant unpasteurized cheeses from Europe, &c.).

  18. This isn’t the first case of exploding achar and it probably won’t be the last. A few years ago I (along with hundreds of others)was evacuated out of my local airport due to a suspicious item in someone’s luggage. According to the newspaper the next day, the suspicious item was a sealed tin of mango pickle.

  19. I have smuggled mango achaar here multiple times… hopefully it was sealed…. but wow… detonating… WOW.

  20. Oh my… This makes me want to laugh, because mango pickles are incredibly tempting anywhere, anytime, but detonation?! Wow!