As you may have seen in a comment below from Jonathan Gold, somebody has already come up with an acetylene torch-like cooking device: the Searzall by Booker and Dax. As yet it seems to be just a Kickstarter project, but they’ve already raised $226,425.
The Searzall, they say “Turns a blowtorch into a hand-held supercharged instant-power broiler. Sears fish, sous-vide, pizza, cheese, foie, and everything else. The Searzall is a revolutionary hand-held cooking tool for the professional and home cook. It gives you the power of raw fire but also the ability to moderate and control that power. It's a carefully engineered attachment that fastens onto a common blowtorch and shapes and moderates the torch flame to make it far more cooking and flavor-friendly. The Searzall puts the power of a bed of hot coals in the palm of your hand – instantly.” One could go on. And they do.
Anyway, this got me thinking about toasting forks. Back in the day at university, we used to stick a fork in a piece of bread then hold it in front of the flames of a gas fire until it made toast. This, I suppose, in many ways is the reverse of the Searzall, and in any case it probably wouldn’t have worked so well with foie gras.
Of course we used ordinary domestic forks, but there are some very elegant toasting forks out there, both antique and modern. And I must say that in the rooms of Tree Court we never got as far as toasting crumpets. But I think we should have.
And now I just got an email from Sam Bompas, of Bompas and Parr fame, and wouldn’t you know it, as is their way, they’ve been taking things too far. They’ve been cooking with lava. Yep, you heard right.
Sam writes, “Here's Harry cooking with lava last week at Syracuse University. Prof Robert Wysocki has over-clocked a copper smelter and we're working with him on a larger public gustatory event. The team there are brilliant. As the rock is heated to 2100F it cooks pretty quickly. They've done 100 pours but this was the first time the heat has been used to cook. Totally the funnest thing we've done all year.”
And the year is scarcely half over. All of which makes smoking a duck in my “Masterbuilt electric smokehouse” (as I did over the weekend) seem a very modest enterprise indeed. But believe me, that’s one heck of a good duck.