The only thing more depressing than eating lukewarm eggs in a hotel room is watching YouTube video reviews of vacuum cleaners. We know from experience.
Lacking access to five-star room service, most of us who travel on a budget are left with precious few options for feeding ourselves in situ. Your available tools are often limited to a half-used box of Kleenex, a plastic garbage can speckled with chewed-up gum, a defeated hair dryer on the bathroom wall, human remains, and—tucked away on the top shelf of the closet—a clothing iron.
But thanks to the latter, you are only minutes away from a fresh, piping-hot, just-like-Mom-made-it meal—at least, that's what BestReviews.com has demonstrated in its convenient test-run of iron-cooked delicacies. Craving a ball park-style hot dog, complete with toasted bun? No problem. How about a medium-rare cheeseburger straight from the styrofoam tray? Just use the linen setting!
Actually, this is not exactly a new idea. Cooking on an iron has been a popular "lifehack" for years, making its way around frugal-living websites, Pinterest predecessors, and YouTube. Take, for example, this viral video from 2011, in which Natalie Tran demonstrates how to cook bacon and eggs in her San Francisco hotel room.
And sure, everyone loves a fresh rasher. But let's be real for a second: Every shitty hotel in the Western world has access to eggs and bacon. Even at the most destitute of continental breakfasts, there is bound to be a lumpy pile of scrambled eggs made from powder. But maybe you're looking for something a little more gourmet, something made with the touch of your own hand. And that is when you must exercise the kind of resourcefulness that only the incomprehensible hivemind of the internet can inspire.
First, there's the gentleman who offers the helpful suggestion of balancing your iron on your terrifyingly large bowie knife to make some kind of boggy swamp tea:
This iron-cooking demonstration comes courtesy of tween YouTube user "ICantGetEnoughBoobs," who cautions us that a waffle cooked with an iron "does have a small taste of clothes":
But then "My Ass Productions" decided to (only semi-successfully) up the ante with iron-cooked garlic bread, chocolate "lava cake," and steak and mushrooms "in fresh tomato stuff":
But why stop there? After all, a la plancha literally means "with an iron." Fire up the Proctor-Silex, crank it up to "cotton," and throw some fresh razor clams on that fucker. Channel your inner Jamie Bissonnette and drizzle with the travel-size bottle of piquillo pepper vinaigrette you've got stashed next to your handy Jergens lotion.
Traveling to Copenhagen? If you can't afford the prix-fixe tasting menu at noma, stay in your hotel room and immediately turn on your empty coffee machine. Add milk—one generous cup or so—and burn the shit out of it. Turn on the local access TV channel, watch three to four shows, and when the last infomercial for colloidal silver is complete, so is your caramel sauce. When you're ready, set your iron to the linen setting and place it on it's back like a vulnerable lobster waiting to be killed. The handle of the iron should cradle a wastebasket or some sort of stationary object that won't burn you during this process. Place a piece of quality monkfish liver on the "plancha" (make sure to avoid the grooves of the iron) and sear for one to two minutes on each side.
If you're budget-strapped, remember that your hotel room is a cornucopia of food just waiting to be found. Look past the bland, sad offerings in the minibar—though a reduced Mountain Dew glaze can go a long way—and forage your bathroom for bathtub barnacles and the mushrooms that surely lurk beneath the sink. Matsutake are really just a few chromosomes away from shower fungus, aren't they? Grill them in thick slices like the Spanish god of the grill, Victor Arguinzoniz, along with any other sea-mosses you might find stuck to the walls.
Hell, why stop at savory? If you're in Tokyo, whip up a simple custard—nappe, please—with eggs and milk from a vending machine, and steam yourself a sweet take on chawanmushi. Then make a caramel croquante by sprinkling some sugar between the pages of your Gideons International Bible and ironing it on "rayon," which, frankly, is the only time you should ever be using that setting.
Pro tip: Don't wear a terry cloth bathrobe while cooking. They're flammable.
Editor's Note: We do not, in any way, suggest actually cooking with an iron. This is pure satire to lighten your day.