Spherification Starter Kit
This kit is great for serious practitioners of standard and reverse spherification because it comes with a lot of hardware that'd be very pricy to purchase individually.
The infamous “spoodle” or slotted spoon is imperative for removing spheres from their baths, and the handy caviar maker makes hundreds of perfect “caviar” at a time—no longer will you have to fuss over individual drops. The quantity of chemicals alone should last an active amateur over a year, which makes it an investment that will pay off in many ooh’s and aah’s over time. $169.99 at pastrychef.com
Sous-vide is the gateway drug to entering the realm of modernist cuisine, and there is no better at-home model for executing this cooking style than this. It has a leg up on its competitors because it uses immersion circulation technology which makes for more precise temperatures. It’s also extremely versatile.
Since it’s a wand that you place inside a waterbath, you can use it to heat something as small as a saucepan or as large as a trough. Bonus: compared to other at-home sous vide models, the Polyscience pro is extremely portable, so you’ll be sous vide-ing in your hotel room before you know it. $799.95 at cuisinetechnology.com
Ideas in Food
Ideas in Food burst onto the scene last year as the first-ever handy guide to modernist cooking that wasn’t written to the level of an astrophysicist or top chef. The recipes work at home, and many of them don’t require special equipment. Aki and Alex have studied the science behind many modern cookng techniques and crystallized it into a handy little guide that will inspire and delight you in your own kitchen regardless of you skill level. Read our interview with the authors. $15.95; order it on Amazon
Every aspiring modernist needs a precision scale. Period. If you’re not already cooking by weights, you should be, however most standard kitchen scales aren’t sensitive enough to measure tenths of grams, which is what you need to weigh out miniscule amounts of powders in order to achieve accurate results. $20.99 at Amazon
Neutral Pop Rocks
Remember Pop Rocks? Well, now you can make your own flavors with practically anything imaginable with these neutral Willpoppers. Willpowder in general is a great and reasonably-priced outlet from which to purchase modernist powders and the like, however these Willpoppers are in a class unto themselves. They tie childhood nostalgia in with a very adult, sophisticated style of cooking. $7.40 at willpowder.net
This handy dandy smoking gun allows you to add smoky flavor to foods you would otherwise never be able to smoke, such as butter, oysters, cocktails and chocolate. It’s small stature makes it portable enough to bring along to parties, where its big wow-factor is evident the second you hand someone their first-ever smoky Manhattan. $99.95 at cuisinetechnology.com
Modernist Cuisine is the bible of the New American culinary set. It is the ultimate holiday gift that is guaranteed to pay itself back in hundreds of inspired, creative meals over a lifetime. I’ve seen countless people pore over it, from the biggest skeptics to fully-anointed members of the cult, and not one walks away unimpressed. It’s more than just a book of tricks; entire philosophies, histories and ideologies of cuisine are mapped and explained in its pages, but the photos alone are enough to keep you busily in awe for days. $451.89 at Amazon