Kitchen Memories’ at SVMA; Home Winemakers Celebration; National Heirloom Festival; Nibs & Sips

Tomato slicers of yesteryear from “Kitchen Memories: The Kathleen Thompson Hill Culinary Collection." Photo by Mack Hill

Tomato slicers of yesteryear from “Kitchen Memories: The Kathleen Thompson Hill Culinary Collection." Photo by Mack Hill

Kathleen Hill


Awkward as it is for me to write this, Sonoma Valley Museum of Art launches “Kitchen Memories: The Kathleen Thompson Hill Culinary Collection” this evening with patrons’ (5 to 6 p.m.) and members’ (6 to 8 p.m.) openings. If you are not yet a member of the museum, you can show up at 6 p.m., become a member and join in the first night festivities. The SVMA is cool and has great air conditioning.

The museum welcomes you any other day, Wednesday through Sunday, from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., and on Wednesday admission is free.

And you can sit down at a yellow formica kitchen table and write your own kitchen memories, and see rare paintings of food by Wayne Thiebaud and Joseph Goldyne titled “Delicious Images: Art About Food.”

The museum will be selling the book I wrote about the collection, and “Kitchen Memories” aprons and tote bags designed by our son, G. Mack Hill, all a tax-deductible donation to the Sonoma Valley Museum of Art.

On Saturday, Elaine Corn, who is past president of Les Dames d’Escoffier for Northern California and a correspondent for both Capital Radio (PBS) and the Bee in Sacramento, will “interview” me about my collection tomorrow, Saturday, Sept. 7, at 2 p.m. $12 museum members, $15 non-members, with all funds going to SVMA.

We have a great schedule of fun events including three foodie movies with chefs cooking food from each movie so you can taste what you are watching, cooking demos, a family creative food day, and an interview of Joseph Goldyne by Kate Eilertsen. 551 Broadway, Sonoma. 939-7862. svma.org.


Della Santina hosts legendary wine grower Phil Coturri pouring his Winery Sixteen 600 tonight, Friday, Sept. 6 (6 to 8 p.m.), and then next Tuesday will feature Raimon Prum of SA Prum who will offer his riesling (7 to 8 p.m.). $5. 127 E. Napa St., Sonoma.


Sonoma Home Winemakers host their eighth annual Sonoma Home Winemakers Celebration Saturday, Sept. 7, at the Swiss Hotel to help fund Sonoma Valley High School’s Boosters Club for extra-curricular activities.

The change this year is that the tasting will feature commercial wineries and not the fine products of our earnest home winemakers because the state of California is enforcing laws that prohibit home winemakers from pouring wine for the public. Could the corporate wine industry lobby be behind this new enforcement?

But loads of our local wineries are pouring in to help raise funds, including Annadel, B Wise, Canihan, Chateau St. Jean, Envolve, Être, Foyt, Glen Lyon, Gloria Ferrer, Grieve, Gundlach Bundschu, Hanzell, Haywood, Imagery, L’Ultimo, Larson, Meadowcroft, Muscardini, R2, Ravenswood, Robledo, Saxon Brown, Stone Edge, Three Sticks and Victor Hill. So you will be well wined and dined on appetizers. $35. 2 to 6 p.m. 18 W. Spain St., Sonoma. sonomahomewine.org.


The National Heirloom Exposition returns to Sonoma County Fairgrounds Tuesday, Sept. 10, through Thursday, Sept. 12, getting bigger and bigger every year. Many people believe heirloom foods pack more nutrients, while others question whether some of these 3,000 “heirloom” varieties actually derive from pure old seeds.

Three-hundred “pure food vendors” will sell some great food to sustain you through several exposition buildings and 100 speakers’ speeches. I wonder how dynamic the Demeter’s Biodynamic Lounge will be. Informative, anyway.  $10 a day, $25 for three-day pass, kids 17 and under free. 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. 1350 Bennett Valley Road, Santa Rosa.

Slow Food Sonoma Valley will share a table with two other Slow Food chapters, and local leader Margarita Ramirez would love help staffing the table – a great excuse to go. If you can be available during those three days, contact Ramirez at margarita@travelingmatters.com.


Sonoma Valley Republican Women will meet Thursday, Sept. 12, at the Lodge at Sonoma. Their menu is enticing: herb crusted salmon with whipped Yukon Gold potatoes, vegetables and mixed green salad, followed by pot de crème, with alternatives available for dietary needs. Rev. Tim Arensmeier of Sonoma Valley Community Church will talk about “Christianity Under Attack.” $30. 11 a.m., speaker at 11:30. Make reservations through Cece Dahl at 939-1029 or dahlhouse476@comcast.net.


Larson Family Winery will host a fun and filling Future Farmers of America (FFA) fundraiser on Saturday, Sept. 14, that will include Sonoma Valley High School farm vegetables in their “From the Classroom to the Table” dinner to support youth in agriculture. Enjoy silent and live auctions, music and fun. FFA basically includes all agriculture students at the high school, of which we have more than 300 this year. Tickets $40 or $50 at door includes dinner and two drink tickets, VIP tables $360 for eight guests. 5 to 9 p.m. For tickets and more info call Becky Larson at 938-3031, ext. 24, or email sonomaffa@yahoo.com.


John McReynolds and Stone Edge Farm present two events featuring environmental activist Bill McKibben.

McKibben will speak Sunday, Sept. 15, at 2 p.m. in Burlingame Hall, totally free and open to the public. Readers’ Books will sell his newest book, “Oil and Honey: The Education of An Unlikely Activist,” his fascinating life story.

McKibben is co-founder of the global climate change campaign 350.org, with Sonoma native Mae Boeve, who will join him on stage. He is also a Methodist Sunday school teacher.

McKibben has written 12 books and writes regularly for The New York Times, Atlantic Monthly, Mother Jones and Rolling Stone. He lives with his wife, writer Sue Halpern, and their daughter in Ripton, Vt. Free. 2 p.m. 252 W. Spain St., Sonoma.


Very few seats remain for Sonoma Plein Air, which raises funds for art in our schools. The Gala Dinner and Auction with the Artists will be Friday, Sept. 20, at the Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn and Spa. During the “Quick Draw,” we see easels all around the Tuesday evening farmers market, after which artists donate their paintings for sale to benefit Plein Air.

Two of the auction items include lunch and a studio tour for eight at Pixar, and a catered dinner party at artist Dennis Ziemienski’s home.

From 5:30 to 7 p.m., servers will pass hors d’oeuvres to live music during the silent auction of the artists’ best paintings of the week, followed by dinner at 7 p.m.

FSMI executive chef Bruno Tison plans a menu of filet mignon, potato Dauphinoise, baby vegetables and Equatorial Chocolate and Grand Marnier Marquise. $200. 5:30 p.m. on. Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn. For reservations visit sonomapleinair.com.


Who can blame fast food workers for protesting fixing assembly line burgers at the national minimum wage of $7.25? Their employers claim they can’t (or won’t) afford to pay them more and threaten that robots will take their places.


Last weekend’s Harvest Wine Auction and affiliated events, a combined effort of Sonoma Valley Vintners and Growers Alliance and the Sonoma County Vintners, brought lots of money and people to Sonoma County.

Lunches, winemaker dinners, special dinners for big donors and seven hours of unlimited wine at the auction itself loosened up the proverbial pocketbooks of generous donors from as far as the East Coast, as well as other generous regulars from Oklahoma and Texas.

Thursday evening, Tom and Julie Atwood hosted a VIP reception for which Julie brought in Chris Ludwick’s Grapevine Catering to launch the weekend’s Brazilian theme with shrimp gumbo; sweet black beans and rice; and pork, beef and chicken sliders with tomatillo and mango salsas, all accompanied by the Stephanie Ozer Duo. Matt Gallo, president of Sonoma County Vintners, and Julie welcomed the happy crowd.

Upstairs in the Atwood barn, guests found My Brigadeiro Brazilian Sweets, meaning everything from coconut to chocolate espresso truffles. Just outside the door was an entire portable counter of Fiorello’s artisan gelati, served with gusto by Anthony Bonviso.

Locals in the crowd included Ethel and Gene Daly, P.J. and Robert Rex, Chandra and Bob Friese, Michael Muscardini, Curt Carleton, Squire Fridell, Joel Peterson, Stephanie Dunn, Eva Bertran and co-executive director of the weekend Maureen Cottingham, who doubles as executive director of SVVGA.

Susan and Richard Idell gave a luncheon Friday at their elegant home in the middle of their vineyard, catered by Sheana Davis of the Epicurean Connection. Davis’ Sonoma duck rillette on toast was served with her Delice de la Vallee and washed rind Weurach and Voss aged goat cheeses. Local arugula and Sweetwater Spectrum micro greens with Ig Vella Jack were dressed with Meyer lemon mustard vinaigrette, and Oak Hill Farm heirloom tomato salad, grilled Sonoma chicken and Meyer lemon salmon with Davis’ signature wild rice salad with grilled vegetables, and Watmaugh strawberries and fresh baked cookies topped off the luncheon.

Gina Gallo and hubby Jean-Charles Boisset hosted a vintners’ dinner at Buena Vista Winery prepared by their chef, Michel Cornu. What a rich menu: Butternut squash velouté with spaghetti squash and fava bean flan in the middle of the bowl; rabbit-stuffed roasted dove with a fondant of cabbage and carrots, a plate of aged cheeses, and bread pudding with raisins and vanilla ice cream, all served with Buena Vista wines and the occasional bottle imported by local winemakers.

Lots of locals sat at tables with winemakers, including Arden Kremer and Phil Coturri, the latter honored throughout the weekend, Abby Zimmerman, Carolyn and Bob Stone, Kate Kennedy, neighbors Fred and Barbara White-Perry, Gayle and Tom Jenkins, Ethel and Gene Daly, Darryl and Cee Cee Ponicsan, Marchele and Curt Carleton, Chandra and Bob Friese, Don and Sherry Staglin, Margo and Don Van Staaveren, Lynette Lyon with Emily Charrier-Botts, Mandy and David Bolling, Robbi Pengelly and Laura Zimmerman, executive director of Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, one of the four beneficiaries of the entire weekend.

As for the auction itself at Chateau St. Jean in Kenwood, big bidders included several people who paid a total of $125,000 for the Gallo Family MacMurray Ranch Barn Dance, Luca and Elizabeth Zanin paid $55,000 for the Buena Vista Boisset Family Wines Thermador Kitchen and dinner party with Jean-Charles Boisset, someone paid $44,000 for the Kosta Brown World Cup Soccer Trip to Brazil. Joe Anderson of Benovia Winery bought the Ram’s Gate trip to Scotland for $40,000, the Hamel Family bid $35,000 for the Phil Coturri and Robert Kamen wine lot, and Rick and Lori Miron bought the Magnum Force lot of magnums for $32,000.

Speaking of Magnum Force, lots of us were surprised by the sexy solo by often (but not always) demure Nancy Lilly, a cattle rancher, grape and olive grower and great cookie baker.

Toward the $691,250 raised for the “Fund the Future” literacy program, Joe Anderson gave $75,000, as did the Gallo Family and Katie Jackson of Jackson Family Wines. Tom Klein of Rodney Strong committed to $50,000 a year for three years, and Lisa Wittke Schaffner pledged $25,000 for each of three years as president of the John Jordan Foundation. Thank you and many others.


Nibs & Sips:

Oenotri, some people’s favorite Napa restaurant, has closed for lunch due to a split up of the chef-owners, leaving Tyler Rodde on his own with reduced staff … Vintage Wine Estates of Santa Rosa purchased Clos Pegase winery near Calistoga … Folgers Coffee, owned by jelly maker J.M. Smucker, is outselling Starbucks and all other coffee brands nationally … Maxfield Parrish’s “The Pied Piper of Hamelin” painting has been restored to San Francisco’s Palace Hotel’s Pied Piper Bar and Grill, with owners ashamed to have removed it in the first place.


Cheers and happy “Kitchen Memories.”