If you’ve got a nerdy food obsessive in your family, Scientific American‘s Janet D. Stemwedel¬†may have found the perfect holiday gift in Cooking for Geeks. Written by Jeff Potter, the cookbook “presents food and cooking as a realm where the newbie can learn some important principles (that also happen to be cool) and where the experienced cook can learn even more.”

The book is aimed at those with a well-honed love of science, and a desire to know why certain techniques work, not just how to accomplish them. Readers can learn how to compare gluten levels in different types of flour and discuss the science behind everything from wine pairings to culinary solvents. Relevant algorithms and graphs are shared alongside recipes and cooking suggestions.

Essentially, as Stemwedel puts it, the tome can be read as “a transcript of what I imagine would be the geekiest dinner party ever, and an invitation to recreate a piece of it in your own kitchen with your own friends.”

[via Scientific American]