Some years ago, Susan asked me to get her a crème brûlée kit for her birthday or Christmas. It had some custard mix, four little ramekins, and a butane-powered kitchen torch along with a can of butane to refill the torch. The torch was very impressive and some of you may have seen it when I took it to Anna Maria one year to light cigars. It had all the menacing danger of a blowtorch, but smaller and cuter.
I don’t know how I started looking for lighters at DealExtreme, the Chinese website where I get a lot of flashlight stuff, but I found out they have jet torches that are lighters. I don’t smoke, so I didn’t realize they also have those in stores here too. I found one that got positive reviews and was less than $3, including shipping. I figured I couldn’t afford not to buy it. They include just enough butane to make sure it works, so when I got it, I got maybe 2 seconds of flame.
Then I started looking for butane refills. I looked all over at Walmart, finally getting up the nerve to ask for some (and wanting to say first that I do not smoke crack). They said they didn’t sell refills (of course, Walmart is all about disposable). Then I went to a Walgreens who had some, but it was over $5 for a little 3 oz. spray can of the stuff. I also went to Rite Aid, but they didn’t seem to have it either. Places online said go to a big cigar shop and you can get them cheap. So I went to a place nearby that is really a package store, but the sign out front says they also have a humidor. Jackpot. They had a bigger can than Walgreens (6 oz.) and it was only $1.99. It was even “triple refined” which is supposed to be better and prevents the little jets from getting clogged with residue. So I have a lifetime supply now.
The lighter is pretty neat. The jet is supposed to make the lighter more wind resistant which is how they advertise them, but it was easy to blow out. It makes a cool jetting noise and shoots a blue flame straight out (not as impressive as the one that Susan has though). This is good because you can aim the flame downwards without burning yourself. That makes it good for lighting grills and . . . for making crème brûlée. I didn’t have any custard so I got an old spoon and put some sugar in it and aimed the flame at that (no, I do not smoke crack!). It melted the sugar and turned it golden brown, so I know it works.