Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of FlavorToday's gift idea is for a true geeky food lover, Hervé This' Molecular Gastronomy: Exploring the Science of Flavor. If you know someone who loves McGee, they will enjoy this book. "In each short chapter This presents a piece of debatable conventional wisdom-such as whether it is better to make a stock by placing meat in already boiling water, or water before it is boiled-and gives its history, often quoting famous French chefs, before making scientific pronouncements." There's almost nothing I enjoy more than understanding why stuff happens in the kitchen, and seeing traditions wives' tales explained or disproved. Several reviews do warn that it's heavy on the science, so save it for a recipient who likes chemistry and physics, not someone who has trouble keeping up with Alton Brown. $19.77 from

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