Modernist Cuisine - The Art + Science of Cooking
Rather than write a lengthy description of the fascinating mind/eye candy collection that's Modernist Cuisine, I just thought I'd mention it here with the high recomendation that you give yourself some time with the Modernist Cuisine website* and with the awesome article I read in Wired. The 5-volume set is a little under $500 on Amazon and I'm sure you'll be hearing a ton more about it everywhere.
*I just ate up every little snippet from the About The Authors to the Printing of the Book. This book explains why science is art and why both art + science are necessary to our human spirit.