Let’s flambé EVERYTHING!

Do you like to cook? When you cook, do you often think how you wish you could flambé your dish in a safe manner, through the use of a highly complex, USB-dongle powered pan attachment?

The Fiery, designed by Karen I Man Cheong for the [you guessed it] Electrolux Design Lab competition, is just such an attachment. It consists of wire mesh attached to a metal ring that has a handle that attaches to it magnetically; the handle houses a rechargeable USB dongle (?). And it all works together to light your food on fire.

Or, you know, you could use a match. But where’s the fun in that? Think of all the resources we can waste in manufacturing the Fiery! There’s a lot of machined aluminum, as you can see.

Let me get this straight: you pour your flammable spirits in your sauté pan, you cover it with the Fiery, you ignite the flammable spirits by pressing a button, you remove the Fiery from your pan, then you serve. OR you can do it the conventional way: pour spirits into a pan, ignite with a match (or by tilting the pan over the burner, if you’re using gas), then serve. The only difference is that the Fiery contains the flame. But…is that even necessary?

Flambé-ing is kind of a cool and impressive thing, and it’s only dangerous if a) you don’t know what you’re doing b) you use  A LOT of high-proof alcohol in your pan. And that’s the key: don’t use a lot of booze. But if you’re stuck on a), here’s a great video showing how to properly flambé. [Skip to 1:05 to get to the flaming action]

As you can see, there’s not much too it. You really only use a small amount of alcohol, and the flames are quickly extinguished once all the alcohol burns, which happens in a matter of seconds.

Yes, the wire mesh in this product contains the flame, but as you can see in the video above, flames from a flambé are contained in the pan, and flames do not reach outside the confines of the pan because…well, there’s no alcohol or alcohol vapor beyond the pan. So essentially, the Fiery is containing a flame that’s already contained.

USB? Why???

The handle of the Fiery, which attaches via magnets [to a ring made of aluminum…a metal which is not magnetic AT ALL]  seems to contain an electronic igniter, possibly powered by a “USB Cell”.

I don’t know what a “rechargeable USB cell” is, or why anything USB is necessary for a product whose main purpose is to emulate a match. I suppose the removable handle is for safety, so children don’t accidentally use the Fiery to flambé…while they’re cooking…with alcohol…unattended. I can only guess that the removable USB Cell is probably also a safety feature. If, by chance, young, unattended children decide to prepare Crêpe Suzette, and get a hold of the Fiery to flambé, they won’t be able to light up that Grand Marnier if you removed the rechargeable USB cell. Take that, aspiring young chefs! Make sure you have adult supervision before you prepare an elegant flambé dish! But feel free to make fried chicken, kids. That’s fine. Flames that last 5 seconds in a flambé are way more dangerous than really, really hot oil.

As with most products on this blog, this is a product that fulfills no unmet needs, that solves no problems. What are the problems with flambé-ing that this addresses? It contains the flames. Well, guess what? The flames are already contained by the pan. So that’s moot. It ignites the alcohol. Yeah, so does a match, or the burner that you’re holding the pan over. It addresses the safety issue of children using this product. Children are most likely not cooking without supervision, and are definitely not trying to flambé dishes. The fact is, there are very few dishes that require a flambé. I cook a lot—5+ days per week— and in the last year, I probably performed a flambé once. This is not something people are doing at every meal. Therefore, this is a product that would get little to no use in most people’s homes. But wait…maybe the designer is on to something. Maybe…home chefs should start flambé-ing more. Why must all the dishes one flambés always be fancy? Let’s just flambé everything. That bowl of Cheerios in the morning? FLAMBE. Leftover pizza? FLAMBE. The packet of trail mix in your pocket? FLAMBE. Yeah, this could totally work out…except the Fiery is sized to only fit a certain diameter pan, so you would have to make sure to always use that same pan when you want to flambé. That sucks.

Actually, this flawesome product concept sucks. It’s stupid. Of course, now I’m hungry.

Via Yanko Design