I will never forget the look of rage in Dad’s eyes when
describing
aioli.

“Oh, it’s an
emulsion of olive oil, egg yolks, salt and garlic. Can
you believe those motherfuckers?”

We were on our way back from the Bosons’. Patrick and Nancy had
been traveling in Spain for a few weeks and had acquired a love
for aioli, which they were now using stateside. Patrick explained
how he purchased an expensive pestle and mortar so that he
could make fresh aioli every evening. It was now his nightly ritual.

“It is now his nightly
ritual, in addition to being a motherfucker,”
my father said when we arrived at home.

Midway through dinner, Nancy Boson had explained why aioli was
better than mayonnaise. It was, one, more flavorful and, two,
healthier than mass produced mayonnaise from a jar. Nancy
Boson hated preservatives.

Dad claimed the first Mayonnaise Thanksgiving was about
capitalism and supporting Kraft Foods Inc., which he had stock in.
But everyone knew he just wanted to screw with the Bosons. The
Wednesday before Thanksgiving, Dad woke Mom up with a cup of
strong black coffee.

“It’s time, darling.”

In the kitchen, Mom set potatoes to boil and potatoes to roast in
the oven. She had Dad bring up twenty pounds of chicken thighs
from the freezer in the basement to thaw and to trim and dice
into cubes. At ten o’clock Dad woke me up and we drove to Sam’s
Club for bell peppers, broccoli florets, and a tub of mayonnaise. I
noted at the time that we did not get the Kraft brand. Dad’s
response was to turn down the liquor aisle.

When we got home, Mom and Dad set about with the
mayonnaise, mixing it with tuna and shredded cheese and green
onions for twice baked potatoes, dumping some in a vat of
mashed potatoes with a handful of toasted garlic, using it in
place of a confit for the chicken thighs.

On Thanksgiving Day, Dad woke up and had a cup of coffee. Then
he started bringing in all the trays of food from the refrigerator in
the garage and began warming them in the oven. He put Dvorak
on the turntable and hummed along mightily.

Our guests started to arrive around noon. Patrick and Nancy
Boson were late, but when they walked into the kitchen, Dad
gathered them both in a bear hug.

I set the table, Mom called folks to dinner, and they filed into the
dining room and took their seats.

“Everything you see before you has been prepared with aioli. Pat
and Nance gave us the idea.”

“Oh, how wonderful,” Nancy said.

Everyone ate and kept eating until all had gorged themselves.
Patrick and Nancy both said it was the best Thanksgiving meal
they’d ever eaten.

“It was all mayonnaise! You goddamn yuppies!” Dad shouted from
the head of the table.

“Really? Well it was delicious,” Pat said.

“You goddamn yuppies!” Dad repeated the taunt.

“Sherry, I think you may have changed my mind about
mayonnaise,” Nancy said to Mom.

“You goddamn yuppies,” Dad whimpered.

“That pestle and mortar were becoming a pain in the ass,” said
Pat.

Our guests adjourned to the living room, where we ate scones
made, at Dad’s insistence, with mayonnaise. The scones were
well received. Dad remained seated in the dining room for the
rest of the day. He was still there several hours after the last of
the guests, Patrick and Nancy, had retrieved their winter coats
and left.

“It doesn’t make sense, Sherry,” Dad said.

“I know, hon. I know you wanted a big blowout. Maybe next year.”

“Maybe next year we’ll put dog shit in everything.”

“We’ll see, hon. We’ll see.”

Of course Mom never allowed Dad to put dog shit in the
Thanksgiving meal, or broken glass, or his own seminal fluid. We
stuck with mayonnaise. The Bosons’ next obsession involved
artisanal goat cheese. Dad responded with a three pound block of
Velveeta, melted over Idaho spuds. He was, in every respect, a
patriot.


Avee Chaudhuri’s fiction has appeared at Fluland and is
forthcoming in Another Chicago Magazine and Dead Mule School
of Southern Literature. He holds an MFA and MA from McNeese
State University.

NOVEMBER 2017
MAYONNAISE
THANKSGIVING
by Avee Chaudhuri