This was a busy couple of days because Sunset held it's annual Celebration Weekend bonanza, with 25,000 people descending on the campus to tour the gardens, buy stuff, see cooking demos, walk through the Breeze House (which really is stunning, even standing as it is in a parking lot behind the administrative building), eat, dance, and marinate in the Sunset lifestyle.
I served as MC at the food stage on Sunday afternoon, which means that I introduced the speakers and then asked probing questions like, "So, if folks can't find shiso at their local market, can they substitute mint?"
Jamie Purviance's "Steak 101" class was the hit of the weekend, drawing big crowds and lots of spontaneous applause (a reminder of how much Americans still love their steak). The highlight came when he taught the old poke test trick from cooking school. For those unfamiliar, it's a way of telling how far cooked your meat is by poking it with your index finger. Once you know how a medium-rare steak feels, you'll no longer have to cut into it to check for doneness. And as a handy reference for knowing that medium-rare feel, Jamie held up his right hand. "Feel that fat pad under your thumb?" he says. "That's how rare meat feels. Now touch your index finger to your thumb and feel the fat pad. See how it tightens? That's how medium-rare feels. Touch your middle finger to your thumb; that's medium. Ring finger to thumb is medium-well, and pinkie to thumb is well-done." Choruses of "Ahhh!" and "Howsabout that!" Thunderous applause! Celebration weekend draws to a triumphant close.