Pudding Problems

“Ma’am, may I take a look inside your bag?”

The portly, jovial customs officer at George Bush International Airport extracted a Harrods carrier bag with a touch of suspicion. “Any liquids in here?”

“No”, I blushed, “It’s a Christmas pudding.” A peculiar item of hand luggage, I realise, but a necessary last-minute present from the Heathrow departures lounge for the Ecuadorian family we’re going to stay with over the holidays.

“That may count as over 100ml of gel”, he explained. “But it’s a pudding!”

And that was what had been lost in translation. Apparently, as our hostel roommate who hailed from Nashville, Tennessee, later explained, ‘pudding’ to those across the pond means something involving a whole lot of custard, or jelly. It was only when I redefined by terms, pleading that it was a mere cake soaked in a wee bit of brandy, that the customs officer showed a bit of Thanksgiving spirit and let me, and my Christmas pudding, go free.