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Tag Archives: Jenny Lou’s

How Much is that Turkey in the Window?

23 Dec

In Our Turkey Day Aprons

Well…I never thought that buying a turkey would stress me out financially – but then again I never thought that a generic frozen turkey could cost over $100…and I have bought turkeys in NYC!  The truth is – turkey is quite a commodity here in China. But I wasn’t about to cook a Thanksgiving Dinner for Brett and all of our expat friends sans gobbler.  So – I forked over the money to the sweet lady working at the supermarket who giggled and said, “Tai gui le” – which means too expensive.  To which I replied, “Wo tong yi” – I agree.

With the turkey in hand (or in the trunk) I began the search for the other accoutrements.  Corn, potatoes, shallots, even finding butternut squash was a cake walk – but endives, chestnuts, canned pumpkin, and fresh cranberries?  Forget about it.  5 stops later – I gave up all together on the cranberries (eventually I just threw some craisins in a pot of hot water and plumped them up as much as possible before using them in my spicy cranberry relish).

One of my favorite things about the shopping excursion(s) was running into every other

Sharpening His Carving Knife

expat “homemaker” (I can’t believe I just called myself that…although a spade is a spade) out and about in search of all the same things.  I actually exchanged email addresses with a few of the other turkey day trackers, and we are now friends!  One of the markets swarming with expats is called San Yuan Li.  This local market was established years ago to cater to all of the embassies in Beijing.  So – if you can’t find what you are looking for at Jenny Lou’s or April Gourmet – San Yuan Li is the next stop.  I would have gone there for everything – but it is outside and therefore cold, and they do not have champagne, wine, or bourbon – all of which are necessary ingredients for the type of Thanksgiving I like to host!

The Menu

Because The Mayflower did not stop in China on its way to the US of A, Thanksgiving is unfortunately not a Chinese Holiday.  So – we decided to celebrate on Saturday when no one had to work. I began the preparations on Friday by making the items that would keep: butternut squash soup, creamed corn, 14 miniature pumpkin pies (one for each of us), and the chocolate torte.  This left a lot for Saturday itself – but I had a plan.  I knew that my alma mater would be playing its number one rival that day at 3:30 AM Beijing time.  So, with game day bells on, Brett and I arose before dawn to cheer on The Crimson Tide and cook a Thanksgiving Feast.  To Tom and Donna – you did an amazing job with Brett.  He is such a great helper in the kitchen!  He carved out all 14 baby pumpkins (we used them as bowls for the butternut squash soup) while I prepped the turkey and made the oyster dressing.  He peeled the potatoes while I popped green beans, and he poured the Maker’s Mark into our Diet Cokes when it was late enough in the day to not feel like total degenerates! (I mean how do you watch SEC football without at least one bourbon and diet coke?)

Turkey Day Table

With the place settings, candles, and fresh flowers (from our wonderful and freakishly cheap flower market) on the table – we were ready for our guests to arrive.  There were 14 of us in total with representatives from England, Russia, Canada, and America – specifically: Kentucky, Ohio, North Carolina, California, Texas, D.C. and Virginia.  Surrounding ourselves with so many wonderful new friends helped ease the pain of being away from our families, and it made giving thanks especially easy.  How blessed we are to have celebrated the most American of all holidays in such a far away land.

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Sun Chips, Horseradish, and Cascade

2 Apr

I have always been told that it is the small things in life that make you the happiest.  Living in Beijing has confirmed this theory.

During my 3 trips to visit Brett in the fall, I confirmed that certain crucial items were available.  I mean…I do love this boy, but could I have moved if say…there was an absence of readily available Diet Coke?  Luckily for Brett, we will never have to know!

After a few weeks of living here permanently, I really started to notice a variety of missing or difficult to find items that I had grown accustomed to using on a weekly, if not daily basis.    Let’s see if any of you can relate to removing these items from your daily routine:

-Clorox bleach wipes (what is a girl to do?)

-Cayenne Pepper

-The big bag of Splenda used for cooking

-Black tights that fit someone weighing more than 95 pounds or 43.2 kilograms (oh yes -I am all metric now!)

-A Crock Pot

-Toothpaste that is not flavored like potpourri

-Aerosol hairspray (clearly a problem for any southern girl)

Many embarrassing tears later I did find a Crock Pot.  And, with the help of a friend, I located an amazing life saver…Jenny Lou’s International Market.  My first visit to the store was absolute bliss as the second I entered the door, I laid eyes on every flavor of Sun Chips in existence.  Granted, they are almost 7 USD a bag, but everyone deserves to splurge on her favorite chips once in a while, right?  I proceeded to the second floor  – more bliss – horseradish, liquid Cascade, and Honey Bunches of Oats.  I thought to myself; can life get any better than this?  And then it appeared…a lone can of aerosol hairspray.

2009 had many bumps in the road for me.  It was wonderful to be reminded that a simple, everyday grocery item could put such a huge smile on my face!

Beijing Tip: Jenny Lou’s has many locations around the city.  Visit the website to see all locations: www.jennyshop.com.cn

I have also recently had luck at the BHG Markets in the lower levels of Solena Mall and Sanlitun village.

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