Molecular Deli Wannabe Gifts

While some lifestyle gurus may claim to be eating “chemical-free” food, there is no such thing. Like the rest of the world around us, food is made up of complex chemical systems, and these systems can be manipulated to make olive oil powders, cocktail balls, or cheese sauce from any cheese, even if it doesn’t melt as well. If you know someone who considers their kitchen a laboratory, these gifts are for them.

Sous-Vide Immersion Circulator

Precise temperature control produces predictable, consistent results, and that’s exactly what the sous-vide system gives you. I love both Anova Precsion Cooker and ChefSteps’ Joule , although the latter requires their (very slick) app. Whichever car you choose, know that you are giving the recipient a perfectly cooked meal with less stress .

Vacuum packing machine

While you can prepare sous vide food in freezer bags, the vacuum sealing system makes it a little easier. Not only does this help your food bag stay in the tub, but the thicker material doesn’t break at higher temperatures. In addition to sous vide cooking, the vacuum system will keep all your dishes fresh for longer, no matter how you prepare them.

Any book of modernist cuisine

Every book on modernist cuisine is packed with very specific answers to questions you never knew existed, detailing the science behind great cooking. An Art Nouveau home kitchen is thorough enough for most home chefs, but if you’ve noticed a friend or family member testing countertop centrifuge systems, the original five-volume set might be fine for them. There is also a new, very extensive book on bread, which – given how much is going on there at the molecular and biomolecular level – makes sense.

Torch in the kitchen

Nothing looks like a “mad scientist” like a flaming torch. A kitchen torch is not only a lot of fun to use, but it can help you form a crackle, charred peppers, or add a little or toasted goodness to any food that can use a little fire for. (You can also use it to light marshmallows indoors on a whim, which is very valuable in my opinion.)

Fuel for your torch

Your flashlight will need fuel. Get this fuel.

Hand blender

Correct emulsification is the key to truly excellent sauces and aioli, and the hand blender is the best tool for the job. Silky soups, whipped cream, perfect mayonnaise and heavenly Dutch are all at your fingertips with this workhorse blender , and no cuisine – molecular or not – is complete without it.

iSi Piston siphon and chargers

Molecules are very fond of foam – espuma if you really do – but these pressurized cans can also be used to flavor booze, instant vegetables, and carbonate fruit chunks .

Melting salts

Not all cheeses love to melt. If you’re a grilled cheese enthusiast, you’ve no doubt noticed the difference between smooth, evenly melting American cheese and harder cheeses like cheddar, which can turn into a buttery mass when overheated. The melt salts prevent this tragic separation by acting as an emulsifier, raising the pH of the cheese and making the proteins more soluble. Simply put: These salts can make any cheese melt, like American cheese or even Nacho cheese – a feat that I think should be classified as a “Christmas miracle.”

Baking Steel

There are stones for pizza, and there is steel for baking. This steel sheet is superconductive, which means a crispier pizza crust evenly cooked in both the oven and the grill. It can also help you fry your turkey faster and, when placed in the freezer, can be used as a cold plate or non-slip pan (which means you can make your own ice cream buns ).

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Material for making fashionable food grade pearls

Spherification is the precious process of obtaining any flavorful liquid and giving it the appearance and texture of caviar. This can be done with booze, juice, broth, syrup, or any flavored liquid that has a pH of 3.6 or higher. All you need is a syringe, the two chemicals listed below, and a sense of culinary whim.

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Maltodextrin for making delicious powders

If you have a friend or loved one who is just dying to make powders from nutella, bacon fat, or olive oil, you need to give that person some maltodextrin. This material can turn any high-fat liquid into a powder for cooking dust and – for as little as nine dollars – makes an excellent stocking filler.

PH meter

When it comes to truly molecular, there are times – for example, during the spherification process described above – when you need to know what pH they are working with. You can’t see it by eye, so a pH meter is needed. Besides the unusual molecular methods, it can also protect you from botulism when making fermented garlic honey , which you should definitely do.

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Modernist Cooking Starter Kit

If you prefer a kit over a bunch of little pouches of chemicals, consider this one from Modernist Pantry. Not only does it have all the little pouches your budding grocer will need to make balls, powders and foams, but it also has a spherification machine, scales, and a book full of recipes and methods.

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