Step 5: She Blinded Me With (Food) Science!
Let's let the phrase marinate a bit and get over some common misconceptions. Molecular Gastronomy approaches food and the art of cooking with a rigorous, scientific zeal. We know egg whites solidify at a certain temperature, but what is going on within the egg white itself? Does altitude, freshness, chicken diet, or water salinity have anything to do with it? These types of questions, seeking to isolate and pinpoint the how and why of food, are what spurred techniques in molecular gastronomy. If you'd like to learn more about the history of molecular gastronomy, as well as details about the science behind the how and why of your food, don't hesitate to check out On Food and Cooking by Harold McGee.
Molecular gastronomy may be best known for its use in in stuffy and expensive small plate establishments (I may be bitter over the cost and wait for Alinea...), but the techniques used have been a part of our culinary language for years. Check the stabilizers and additives in any food you buy (the pimento pieces found in green olives are produced exactly the same way as this espresso roe!). If anyone raises a "chemicals in our food" line with you, gently remind them the food you are eating is a vast array of chemical and biological reactions cooperating and competing against each other. These ingredients have passed rigorous and lengthy health standards with flying colors, and make an amazing addition to your culinary tool-belt.
Molecular Gastronomy has a relatively low cost of entry, as well.
(Carbohydrate derived from brown algae that forms a gel upon contact with calcium ions)
(Calcium ion source that dissolves in water- may taste bitter, but harmless)
The two ingredients used in this recipe go for less than $7.50 (+ tax and/or shipping) and are used in small quantities (on the order of grams). Inexpensive, and long lasting. If you don't have a food scale that is accurate to the gram, you may want to invest in one later- after all, food is science. But this technique is pretty resilient to estimation if you know what to look for.