Apparently, and I had no idea about this — you are not allowed to bring a portable hot-plate on a commercial airline.
Had I lived in the time of hunting/gathering where I was responsible for hunting, killing and providing food for me and my family — any steps necessary would be acceptable in doing so. But when I am faced with a four hour flight from Chicago to San Francisco on which there is no food whatsoever — I am told it is illegal to bring my food-preparation object of choice (i.e. my metaphorical deadly spear) — the portable hot plate.
I will find a loop hole for this rule. I promise you.