Like many enthusiasts, foodies fall into several categories: gourmets, who want only the best of everything; cutting edge foodies who want to go to the latest, hottest restaurants; and, foodie geeks.
The foodie geek is a special foodie who might masquerade as an engineer or mathematician during the day, but at night transforms into a food scientist. This type of foodie is best exemplified by the Food Network's quirky Alton Brown, who never fails to have some crazy culinary gadget or mad kitchen scheme to help him prepare dinner.
If you have one of these rocket-scientist-turned-cooks in your life, fear not. Here are five gadgets that any foodie geek would love to unwrap this Christmas.
A cross between a 1950s ray gun and a kitchen gadget, the infrared thermometer might have the kids (or the foodie in your life) making laser gun noises. Rest assured, this gadget is actually extremely useful for taking temperature readings on ovens, grills, etc. All you have to do is point the thermometer at whatever you want to measure, pull the trigger, and watch as the beams tell the temperature of whatever they hit. No fuss, but lots of fun. Internet retail price starts at around $46.
Molecular Gastronomy Kit
This is the gift for the foodie who has watched in amazement as Top Chef competitors have made reverse eggs, eggs out of salad dressing, chemical foams, and other crazy concoctions. A molecular gastronomy kit has everything one needs to begin their exploration of this fascinating new branch of cooking, from the chemicals themselves to test tubs, syringes, etc. A starter kit costs about $70.
A few years ago, no one had heard of the term, sous vide. Then, all of the sudden, everyone wanted all of their food done sous vide. (In case you're wondering, sous vide means to slowly cook food that has been sealed in a vacuum bag.) Now with their popularity, they are available for home use and are dropping in price. A complete kit retails for about $450 online.
Want to boil a pot of water in 90 seconds? The foodie geeks in your life do as they ride the culinary wave of the future with their new induction burners. Induction cooking is another new technology that dramatically reduces cooking times and gets dinner on the table with space age quickness. Taking the first step into tomorrow requires nothing more than a single induction burner that starts at around $70.
USB Hot Plate
This is more for the geek in your life than necessarily the foodie geek, but foodies who work with computers will still love their USB hot plate. This device plugs into a computer like a mouse or smartphone and produces enough heat to keep a cup of coffee nice and warm. It might also be just enough heat to melt butter and chocolate to make truffles for the really adventurous food geek. You can pick one of these up for about $6.