I don’t want to make this depressing, but the reason I can’t convince myself to bring my lunch to work is because it hurts my heart. Sitting at a desk all day is bad enough when there are people out there making a living surfing (cough North Shore lunatic Jamie O’Brien) and flying planes (cough hero Southwest Airlines pilot Tammie Jo Shults) and importing wild cumin from Afghanistan (cough Burlap & Barrel cofounder Ethan Frisch). I shouldn’t also have to wait in line for a sad science box from the 1940s to wilt my vegetables and humidify my leftover pizza. Life is short, and what’s left of the fire in my incandescent anarcho-punk heart has been smothered enough.
You know what isn’t depressing? A butane-powered crème brûlée torch. It could easily light my shirt on fire. If building security finds out I have one, they will probably make me throw it away right in front of them. But they’re not going to find out, because I am going to be extremely careful not to ignite my desk while brûléeing fruit in an oven-safe casserole dish. I’m going to roast corn, peppers, and tomatoes for desk salsa when no one is looking. I’m going to microwave my leftover pizza like a good little drone and then harness the elemental energy of fire and natural gas by-product to burn just the very top layer of cheese so that the pizza is good, rather than bad. It’s a small rebellion, but you have to start somewhere.
Things you can do with a desk torch
Melt cheese on stuff.
Bread, a tortilla, your lunch, a slice of pizza, your phone. Who cares!
Brûlée a grapefruit.
Segment it with a knife first so it’s easier to eat. Top with cane sugar and blast.
Brûlée vanilla Greek yogurt.
It’s like healthy crème brûlée. Actually you can put sugar on anything (oatmeal, ham, a shoe) and create a crust. That’s kind of the whole point.
Blast a tortilla.
Add taco fillings from home.
Top leftover pasta with bread crumbs and a drizzle of oil.
Blast until toasted. Also try: thinly sliced tomatoes, onions, garlic, or almonds. Just thinly slice stuff.
Well don’t you just look like Masayoshi Takayama?
Blister shishito peppers.
Microwave them for a minute or two first, blister with the torch, sprinkle with salt. Share.
Make midafternoon s’mores for all your coworkers.
Use metal skewers. Also very punk.
Torch orange peel to put in happy-hour beers.
Once cool, squeeze over the beer so that the oils dust the top. Also works in manhattans and martinis.
When the inevitable water wars begin, use it to light Molotov cocktails and your bra on fire.
Whoops—I mean make more brûléed yogurt.
A thing you inexplicably can’t do with a desk torch
Make toast. If you butter it first, you can make hot buttered bread. If you don’t, you can make regular bread that tastes burnt.
This article originally appeared in the March, 2019 issue of Seniorhelpline magazine.