In high school, chemistry was always a subject I particularly liked—the controlled experiments and crisp, white lab coats were welcome changes from the chaos of the school day. Fast-forward a few years and I've traded my beakers and protective goggles for an apron and some kitchen utensils. But that doesn't have to be the case: A growing number of home cooks are now experimenting with modernist techniques in their own kitchens. This Molecular Cuisine Kit by ThinkGeek is the perfect starter set for the chemically-inclined chef: The kit contains packets of five thickeners and emulsifiers like Calcium Lactate and Xanthan Gum to jumpstart your modernist pantry, along with a set of tools including a syringe, pipettes, and silicone tubing. If you're unsure where to start, a step-by-step recipe DVD will have you on your way to making culinary delights like arugula spaghetti and beet foam.
Molecular Cuisine Kit, $59.99-$116.99 at ThinkGeek.com