What is a Fifth Friday? …it is the Flavor of Walla Walla!
Well, by the most basic definition, any month that has five Fridays in it has a Fifth Friday. Fifth Fridays occur about, if not exactly, four times a year, except this year when there are five. This appears to be a once in ten-year occurrence. It is amazing to think that even February could have a Fifth Friday, but it occurred in 2008 which was a leap year.
The Fifth Friday has an additional meaning among our family and friends here in the Valley of the Two Wallas. Jill and I have hosted a potluck on the “Fifth Friday” for twelve years – a potluck where everyone brings something to eat and we all share whatever shows up – potluck! When we remind our friends that “there is a Fifth Friday this month”, they now know that we mean that it is a Potluck night.
The thing about the Potlucks that Jill and I especially like is that we can gather family and friends “around the table” in a relaxed informal setting. Before we initiated these Potlucks our dinners and gatherings were of the more formal traditional holiday and birthday type events – they take a lot of effort and focus and it is therefore harder to just relax and enjoy the moment.
Our Potlucks have come to represent the genuine Flavor of local Walla Walla. There is no one specific ingredient but rather it is a combination of the People, the Food and of course the Wine of the Walla Walla Valley that makes up the Flavor of WW.
This special valley is home to a wide variety of People that we are lucky to call friends. They include: a retired UW professor, a retired fire chief, a retired air traffic controller, wine makers, an engineer, a doctor, a nurse, a nutrition instructor, another antique shop owner, a college payroll coordinator, several artists, book keepers, a wine barrel maker/salesman, city and hospital administrators, a pharmacist, a musical event producer and cinematographer, a board member at the Christian Aid Center, neighbors, brothers, kids, and most of all good people and good friends.
These Walla Wallans are: vegans and bear hunters, conservatives and liberals, working and retired, individuals with WW Valley roots dating back to the 1860′s and others with just a year in the Valley. They are remodeling homes, building and repairing furniture, gardening, marathon running and walking , long distance bicycle riding and racing, fly fishing, crafting, doing volunteer archeology in Asia, rafting, wood-turning, restoring cars, making jewelry from re-purposed materials and the list continues…
We don’t organize or suggest what Food people bring so someday everyone might bring brownies – but so far that hasn’t even come close to happening. The Food that people bring is always good and most often tends toward comfort food. It is generally heavy on local in-season produce… and it is prepared with love.
Many people seem to bring a bottle of Wine as well as food. It is fun to be able to sample a number of different wines. Brian, the resident wine maker at Cadaretta, arrived at this last Potluck with two bottles of Wine in hand.
Brian is also a trained Sommelier and therefore has an extensive wine vocabulary, some of which is lost on the public. He brought a nice bottle of German Riesling that he thought had hints of diesel – really, hints of diesel? My thought is that some terminology that Sommeliers use should stay with Sommeliers. For the record I thought that the Riesling was good, diesel or not.
Brian also brought a bottle of his Cadaretta Windthrow, a blend of Syrah, Mourvedre, Counoise and Grenache. I don’t remember how Brian described this wine but it was excellent and Brain reports that the (yet to be released) 2008 vintage is the best yet.
This is one of the amazing things about living in the WW Valley. You can invite someone over for a social event, they bring a nice bottle of wine and by the way they made it! Thanks Brian!
No matter what you call these events, a Fifth Friday, the Flavor of Walla Walla, or just a Potluck, everyone enjoyed some good food, good wine and had a good time!