While waiting for my luggage at San Francisco airport, I chatted with an Indian-American woman who had just returned from a trip to India.
She asked: “What did the immigration officer ask you just now?”
Me: “What the purpose of my trip back to China was. Why, what did they ask you?”
Her, with a slight smile: “Whether I had brought any sweets.”
Indian-American woman standing next to her interjects: “Oh yeah, me too.”
Me: “Really? Does this happen often?”
Both of them nod vigorously: “Every time.”
So now you know. Apparently Indian-Americans are known to love carrying sweets back from their motherland. Can’t say I blame them, yum.
Interesting related tidbit from a friend of mine who’d done some contract work with TSA – the guy said he looks out for cookware when Mexican-Americans come back from Mexico. Why I have no idea, but perhaps specialized cookware to make authentic food?
Either way, I love how both Indians and Mexicans are known to bring back goods in the food category. I can absolutely understand that, having ferried handmade woks (I know, how more stereotypical can you get? Hah!) and countless bags of tea, speciality Hong Kong snacks and so forth.
I could go on and on and wax lyrical on how fundamental food is to culture and identity, but I’ll spare you. Basically, this is an empathic nod to others like us.