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Gift Guide for a Food Science Enthusiast
Do you know, or maybe you ARE, someone who enjoys experimenting with their food? And are you looking to get a gift for that person? Well, then we’ve got a few tips for you!
Before you run/browse to your store though, be considerate. Can you buy something used instead of new? And will that someone really like this specific fancy tool? It’s a real waste for the environment if things aren’t used, or used very little. Personally, I love to get things used, especially if there’s a nice story attached to how that person found the thing!
Keeping that in mind, here’s a list of things that I’d be happy to get as a fellow food science experimenter, new or used.
When it comes to books, I tend to look for books that:
- don’t just contain a lot of recipes, but also contain a compelling overarching story, teaching you something new about a cuisine/concept/product/etc.
- teach me something new about food, whether it’s facts, chemistry, or human interaction with food
Based on those criteria, I’ve compiled a long list of books that I’d recommend which you can find here. That said, here’s three books that would many a food experimenter very happy!
The Basics: On Food and Cooking
If your someone loves food & science and doesn’t yet own this book, this should be the book to get. I still regularly use it to look up stuff. It’s kind of like an encyclopedia with a little bit of text on just about any food.
For the ice cream enthusiast: Hello, my namie is ice cream
It’s probably my favorite ice cream science book written for anyone interested in ice cream making. There’s something in it for novices, as well as experts and has some great sciency chapters.
For the lover of sweets: Confectionery science & technology
It’s a book for hard code candy fans, who want to learn all the science there is to know about candy. It’s not one for beginners, nor the book to use if you’re looking for recipes. But great to geek out with as a scientist!
Equipment tends to be an expensive gift. So, be sure to check that your food science enthusiast is really into whatever you’re giving. Not yet sure? Buy a (cheap) used piece of equipment they can try out first and see whether it’s for them.
It’s what we did with our air fryer. It’s a very cheap used one that certainly wasn’t perfect anymore. This turned out to be a good thing since I managed to burn a whole in the plastic outer layer within a couple of weeks after getting it. Nevertheless, almost a year later, it still works great, so we have yet to replace it!
ICE CREAM MACHINE
Ice cream is probably one of the nicest foods to do experiments with, faster cooling, slower, with inclusions, new flavours or colours.
SOUS VIDE COOKING
For those who like to experiment in the kitchen (not sure what sous vide cooking is?). REVIEW
Because if you live with a food science enthusiast you’d like to reduce the number of tools in your kitchen. This one blends, cuts, slices, grates, mixes, etc.
We own an Instantpot and it’s great, soups, stews, chilis, all done within an hour instead of hours! (here’s some science to it). REVIEW
Took us >5 years of doubting to finally buy one, been worth every penny! Use it for bread baking experiments
Because even though it might require extra care and effort, that’s exactly what your food science enthusiast loves. Figuring out how best to take care of it is part of the fun. What’s more, these things last a life time and they are super versatile! We happen to be Lodge fans, but there’s more choice out there of course.
This large one can be used for baking breads, deep frying, soups, etc. A small frying pan always comes in handy as well
For those scientists exploring the science of bread baking, but of course, to be used for any sciency experiment with the shape of a loaf
GRIDDLE + GRILL-IN-1
To bake pizza’s, make a pancake, fry
breakfast, prep your hamburger feast and the list goes on.
No need to go expensive! There are plenty small things that make the life of a food science enthusiast so much easier.
Can’t do any good science without great measuring devices! Essential for candy making. IKEA has a great one, way better than most ‘fancy’ thermometers, good for meat, candy, really anything!
Essential for mixing, cleaning, scraping, and any other food sciency kitchen task. Make sure they’re heat resistant!
To store all those experiments and not forget what’s inside there! Our favorites are from IKEA
You want to be precise and normal weighing scales won’t work well for these small quantities!
To mix all those weird batters a good STURDY whisk is essential. No clue where we found ours, but don’t get a thin wiry one please.
Baking by weight instead of volume will give so much more accurate results and gives you so much extra flexibility. You definitely need a scale for them
Last but not least: what you shouldn’t buy
Just like with any gift giving, don’t give gift just for the sake of giving gifts. At least that’s our opinion, that cool little garlic slicer or that one handy dandy tool to peel just that one specific fruit, there’s not a lot of people that will be happier after having that (except of course, if your special person happens to be a huge fan of that specific fruit). Also, for the food science enthusiast in your life, a kitchen is there to be used, as is the stuff inside, so don’t buy:
- Expensive sets of cutlery and plates, chances are these will be used for all sorts of experiments, not a good idea.
- Really, anything that can’t handle a creative mind at work in the kitchen ;-).
- That little cookbook with a random collection of topics, you food science enthusiast will be happier with a specific in-depth cookbook or science book.
That said, you know your food enthusiast best, so use that knowledge to come up with that brilliant gift!