Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels

What’s your thing? by Amy Andrews

7 months ago we moved (after 25 years in a big city) to a small seaside town – one not very far from where I grew up and where my husband lived for many years. I’ve lived in small towns before and one of the highlights of a small town calendar is the annual “festival”. Of course, this isn’t limited to small towns – most cities have them too, think Carnivale in Venice for example.

These festivals usually revolve around a “thing” the town/city is known for. Like the pumpkin/watermelon/corn festival if you’re in a rural area. Or the crab etc festival if you’re in a fishing town.

In my small town –  Yeppoon –  it’s pineapples. When I was a kid, Yeppoon was pineapple central. On the approach to town there were pineapples as far as the eye could see. On every hillside and spare piece of land and you could get a pineapple for 10c! Its not like that any more, but there are still significant amounts of the fruit grown around the surrounding areas.

So, we have the Pinefest every year. On Friday night we went to the Pinefest ball. And on Sunday we went to the pinefest parade. Pics belows!

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The theme this year was pirates and, as you can see, a good time and great weather was had by all!

So, what about you? What’s your town/cities thing? Let me know where you live and what you celebrate in your annual festival.

Foods We Love, Harlequin Mills & Boon Medical Romance Novels, Holiday Celebrations, Quirky Stories, Travels Around the World

Two Chickens and a Thanksgiving Dinner (and other tales of woe)

Thanksgiving Chickens

Most readers of this blog know that North Americans celebrate a holiday called Thanksgiving. A successful Thanksgiving dinner normally involves three Es: Enormous quantities of food, Eccentric family members, and Elaborate desserts.

My husband and I have lived outside of the United States for more Thanksgivings than we have inside our own country. I’ve learned a thing or two about planning during that time:

  1. Really think about where you live. Turkeys are not available year round in every country.
  2. Concoctions such as pumpkin (or sweet potato) pie may elicit frowns of confusion from some of your guests.
  3. Sometimes there will be no translation for words such as cranberry in your host country. Have a photo and a sample handy, just in case.
  4. Go back to rule number one: Turkeys are not available year round in every country.

And now we come to my particular tale of woe (which may be repeated this year, since I have yet to find a turkey to roast).

The first year we lived in Portugal, I sent my husband out to the supermarket to buy a turkey. We’d invited some dear Portuguese friends to come over and celebrate with us, and I was busy baking pies and prepping the house for company. About two hours later, my hubby came back with a worried look on his face. He dumped out his grocery bag, and there lay two…chickens.

Not large chickens, mind you—normal-sized fryers.

I blinked at him. “What’s this?”

“They don’t have turkeys.” My husband backed up a pace or two. Did I mention he’s a smart guy?

“Who doesn’t have turkeys?”

“Anyone. There is not one turkey in this whole city.”

What? That couldn’t be. I peered inside one of the chickens. It was tiny. How on earth was I going to get enough stuffing inside those birds to feed ten people?

To make a long story short, my husband was right. There were no turkeys. I found out later, you had to order one a month in advance—something I should have realized.

So my guests arrived, and we had these two poor little chickens on a platter with stuffing spooned around them. I stammered out an apology, explaining what had happened. My friend looked at me with a huge smile. “That’s okay, we like chicken better anyway.”

What could have been a disaster ended up being a wonderful meal with some truly gracious and now-dear friends. And every year, at Thanksgiving, she sends me a note that starts off: Remember those two chickens you served for Thanksgiving? And she ends the letter with a picture of the pumpkin pie she now makes every year.

How about you? Any cooking oopsies that have ended up not being the disaster you feared (or maybe it was)?