For decades, a self-admittedly “quirky obsession” has compelled well-known food writer Kathleen Thompson Hill to seek out and comb through the back roads of California, amassing a unique, one-of-a-kind collection of the tools and ephemera of America’s kitchens. Individually and collectively, the collection pays homage and respect to the evolution of design, beauty and utility of each and every gadget used to create culinary masterpieces.
From a two-century-old, hand-held wooden juicer to an equally old English cheese grater, her collection includes an abundance of culinary ephemera as diverse as restaurant menus and matchbooks to advertisements, food pamphlets, signs and food labels – all objects that remind us of a simpler time in the world’s perpetually evolving attempts to speed up and improve food preparation.
Sonoma Valley Museum of Art will host “Kitchen Memories: The Kathleen Thompson Hill Culinary Collection” from Sept. 7 to Dec. 1, which will be joined by “Delicious Images: Art about Food Paintings and Works on Paper by Wayne Thiebaud and Joseph Goldyne.”
The Sonoma culinary community is at the top of the field of innovative, healthful and creative cuisine. “This exhibition will be both a nostalgic journey into our kitchen memories as well as an education about the excellent design of historic and contemporary culinary tools,” said Kate Eilertsen, director and chief curator for the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.
The kitchen, for many, is the heart of the home, with the gadgets hung on walls and hidden in drawers contributing to the warmth associated with this part of the house. The tools in hand and the sustenance they help provide on family tables, along with the memories of yesteryear they evoke, are represented in “The Kathleen Thompson Hill Culinary Collection,” an exhibition in which everyone can remember and reminisce about their personal scents and stories of the kitchen.