If cooking shows are any indication, in order to prove yourself as a genius chef, you have to know some basic chemistry: How to make ice cream in a matter of seconds using liquid nitrogen, and transform just about anything into “caviar” with the help of such ingredients as agar-agar. Masters of these techniques (think Wylie Dufresne and Feran Adrià) have been labeled molecular gastronomists, so named because they construct food with the tools (and oftentimes the studied nerdiness) of scientists. For those of us who watch Top Chef wishing we could turn tonight’s dinner into a science experiment, here’s reason to rejoice: There’s a kit with everything you need to make beet foam, balsamic vinegar pearls, and arugula spaghetti.
Molecule-R’s DIY molecular gastronomy set comes with familiar lab equipment (pipettes, silicone tubes, and a syringe), a 50-recipe DVD, as well as packets of food additives, including sodium alginate, xanthan gum, and soy lecithin. (Uh, yum?) So you can emulsify, spherify, and gelify to your stomach’s content, and Molecule-R also sells replacement sachets, to keep you stocked until the next culinary trend takes hold.