Fish Sauce by Anhthao Bui

Fish Sauce by Anhthao Bui
Fish Sauce is realistic fiction, and Anhthao’s second anthology collection.

Friday, November 14, 2014



The Authentic Thanksgiving

The more we get together
Together, together
the more we get together
the happier we'll be
Cause your friends are my friends
and my friends are your friends
the more we get together
the happier we'll be

Thanksgiving is the moment we leave behind labors at the office, lock unfinished assignments and projects in the drawers, and run away from pressures and stresses to return to our family to get together. We burn anger, jealousy, and negative emotions in the fireplaces to have more room for peace, joy, and delight. “The more we get together, the happier we’ll be. Our family is your family and your family is our family.” We welcome new babies into the world; we greet new siblings-in-law to expand and add more members to the family. In the United States, Thanksgiving becomes a multicultural holiday for everybody, reflecting diverse cultures with plenty of foods and traditional activities. The other cultures not only have turkey at the feast, but they also add their authentic foods, such as Mexican tortillas and tamales, African stewed beans, beef, and pork, Italian pasta, European pastrami, Indian Curry, Japanese Sushi, Korean barbeque, and Vietnamese spring rolls.  

Dan introduced me to his extended family members on Thanksgiving at Dan’s Cousin Danielle’s house. Dan’s Aunties, Uncles, Cousins, and Second Cousins curiously looked at me, a Vietnamese woman, who was as tiny and fragile as a Chinese porcelain doll in a glass cupboard. They welcomed me with charming smiles, warm-hearted acts, and gently talked as if I might be broken easily. They were happy for Dan to meet a good match and congratulated our love. Ashun, Danielle’s daughter, liked to learn how to pronounce my name and its meaning. Aunt Mickey asked me about my family, the Vietnamese holidays and culture, and wished to taste the Vietnamese dishes. Cousin Claire felt sorry about the Vietnam War and our great loss. Jackie, Danielle’s sister-in-law, admired my writing skill and was interested in my poetry and stories.  Taylor, Danielle’s daughter, invited me to the terrace to view the tired, crimson sun as it lingeringly said “goodnight” and disappeared into the borderless marine bed stretching to the horizon.

While Rob, Danielle’s husband, took the turkey out of the oven and put it on a round, silver tray, Danielle and her daughters set up the table. Flower vases were in the middle of the big, oval table. They put the white, linen, folding pocket napkins around the silver utensils on the plates decorated with turkeys. Clay turkey designs carried name tags to mark the guests’ seats. Turkey, ham, mashed potatoes, salad, and cranberry sauce were displayed on the long, narrow table covered with a burgundy tablecloth. Dan showed me our name tags on the table. I held my plate and followed Dan to put food on it. After the family members sat down, Rob said thank you to the guests for joining the Thanksgiving dinner. Rob welcomed me to the big family and hoped I was feeling comfortable. He introduced the family members to me. I smiled at each individual and nodded my head to reply to their greetings.

 Rob’s Mother, Ms. Frances, prayed and thanked God to give us work, bread, successful lives, and health. She prayed for homeless people and those with not enough to eat. We held glasses up and toasted, “Cheers!” We started eating. I ate a small piece of turkey: it was juicy and tasty. I finished the turkey, ham, and salad on my plate. I came to the food table, took a big piece of turkey, and finished it. Dan looked at me; he said, “Honey, I never saw you eat so much like today.”
I murmured into his ear, “The turkey is so good. This is the first time I like turkey.”
Dan talked loudly, “Chef Rob, Anhthao likes your turkey.”
Rob laughed, “Thank you, Anhthao.”
Taylor gave me a piece of cheesecake. She said, “Anhthao, eat my dessert.”
I looked at her and said, “Wow!”
Dan told Taylor, “Anhthao does not cook often, so she admires you.” 

A friend of mine told me if I wanted to be a successful writer in the United States, I should immerse myself in American culture. Thank you to Dan’s family for accepting me as a member of the family. The more we get together, the happier we will be. Your family is my family. My family is your family.

 November 10, 2014