As you walk up to the house you can already smell it outside.
Starting to salivate you realize what you’re in for.
A 10 hour session of stuffing your face.
Not a 7-course meal served on dainty plates of bite-sized portions of Foie Gras and Duck Confit prepared by Gordon Ramsey.
This is more of an event, one you almost have to train for in order to take full advantage of it’s offerings.
Following the smell to a folding table with a cheap plastic tablecloth, you see it just simmering away.
Taunting you, waiting for you to claim your spot of the pot, where you might spend the next few hours.
Better bring a chair, you might be here for awhile.
Surrounding the pot around the table are bowls, plates and Tupperware containers full of raw meat, chicken, shrimp, an assortment of veggies, all waiting to be tossed into the “Bagna Bath”.
There is no dinner time, it’s self-serve, when you want, as often as you want.
You must fend for yourself, but don’t be confused.
Like Walter Sobchak of The Big Lebowski says,
“This is not ‘Nam, there are rules”
Although you are essentially cooking meats and veggies in a boiling pot of olive oil, garlic and anchovies on your terms.
There are rules.
Just as baseball has it’s unwritten rules like, “nobody talks about a no-hitter in the dugout” or “you don’t bunt in the 9th inning if you are being no-hit”.
Bagna has its own set of rules like:
1. Replace what you’ve taken out, if you take out 3 pieces of meat and 2 mushrooms out, you put 3 pieces of meat and 2 mushrooms back in.
2. If you put cheese in, you better not forget about it because you’ll be cleaning the pot.
These are the unwritten rules of Bagna —even though I just wrote them, but you get the point.
These rules can differ from house to house, pot to pot and can only be learned through experiencing this tradition.
A tradition that runs deep in my family and hometown.
One that started long before I was born, a tradition that is still celebrated today.
I have brought this annual tradition to Las Vegas with me where we are going on our 4th year.
Recruiting heavily, to spread the joy and happiness to the tastebuds of all of my loved ones.
However, I am convinced now more than ever, that no one outside of Kittitas County, WA has any idea what Bagna is.
Every time I invite someone new to the house for our annual Bagna party, I always get the same response…
“What The Hell Is Bagna?”