Oracle School Foundation

Tapas, Anyone?

Ann Vernon

One of the fixed price events for the Oracle School Foundation 2022 auction was an authentic Spanish dinner prepared by Nile Vernon and assisted by Ann Vernon and Pat and Ron Andrea. Nile spent many summers in Spain and picked up cooking tips from various families he stayed with while teaching in a graduate program in Santiago de Compostela.

It was a beautiful night, so guests enjoyed sangria and tapas around the fire pit. They munched on chorizo in red wine, dates stuffed with marcona almonds wrapped in bacon, Pimientos de Padrón, Manchego cheese and artichoke skewers, and tortilla Española. Luckily, they weren’t too stuffed to drink some Spanish wine with their gazpacho and paella, followed by bread pudding with whisky and caramel sauce for dessert.

Proceeds from the dinner support the Oracle Schools Foundation, which funds preschool and other much-needed educational programs. Our 2023 Spring Fling Gala and auction will be held on Saturday, March 11, at MountainView. You can help contribute to the Foundation in several ways:

Become a Champion of the OSF—see details on our website oracleschoolsfoundation.com.

Buy gift cards or solicit donations from local businesses and donate to OSF.

Attend the Spring Fling Gala and bid on some great events such as this dinner.

Donate to the auction—contact Ann Vernon at [email protected]

Check the website for more information about the gala and to register for the event in February.

Also mark your calendars—The Tributaries will be performing our second benefit concert on April 16, 2023, at DesertView! You won’t want to miss this!

Walking the Bourbon Trail in SaddleBrooke

Hosts Maria Menconi, Gayle Hosek Spies, Allan Lyon, and Gary Spies

Maria Menconi

Many wonderful events are available for purchase each year at the Oracle Schools Foundation Spring Fling Fundraiser. One of these events in 2022 was an elegant and entertaining themed Bourbon Tasting held on Oct. 23 at the home of Allan Lyon and Maria Menconi in SaddleBrooke. The theme for the tasting was a speakeasy, in this case, named Nello’s Whiskey Joint (after Maria’s father who lived and worked in New York City during Prohibition and had a side job stocking a speakeasy)! The hosts and co-hosts, Gary Spies and Gayle Hosek Spies, dressed the part of speakeasy guests, as did a number of the attendees at the tasting.

Lest anyone think that this event was only about tasting bourbon, it was also about amazing food to accompany the bourbon. The first two bourbon tastes, Elijah Craig and Willett, were served with beautiful and substantial charcuterie platters that, in addition to meats, cheeses, fruits, and olives, included homemade pimiento cheese (commonly made, served, and eaten on the southern Bourbon Trail in the U.S.). With the food and drink came an explanation of how bourbons are created and a history of each bourbon tasted (by Gary Spies and Allan Lyon). In the background, as guests enjoyed their food and drink, David Devlin, Phoenix jazz musician and songwriter, crooned well-known ballads. The third bourbon was Angel’s Envy, accompanied by pork belly and cornbread and chicken and waffles appetizers. It’s just possible that chicken and waffles and bourbon became everyone’s new favorite go-to treat! The final bourbon tasted was Larceny, paired with a Gingerbread Bourbon Cream Caramel Trifle. As the sun set and everyone shared their opinions on the individual bourbons, the hosts provided speakeasy-sized pours for each guest of their favorite bourbon from the tastings.

As guests left, requesting recipes and expressing their enjoyment of the event, they posed the big question: What kind of tasting will you hold in 2023? And can we come? For anyone interested in finding out about or purchasing some of the other great events offered at the Oracle Schools Foundation event each year (including dinners, concerts, game lessons, cooking classes, and art projects, to name a few of the choices), watch the newspaper for the announcement of the details for the 2023 Oracle Schools Foundation Spring Fling, coming on March 11, 2023. Money raised at the Spring Fling support the Oracle School District’s Pre-School program for three- and four-year-olds.