And that's why this stuff is just a flash in the pan. It makes one worry that our civilization has hit its zenith and is sliding into decadence.
But some people are taking the science of food (as I learned it from Shirley Corriher, Alton Brown and Harold McGee) and are pushing it into new realms with equipment, ingredients and techniques not previously found in home kitchens. Some of that has some interesting applications.
Take the iSi whipper (pronounced "icey"). This is like a soda siphon except it uses nitrous oxide cartridges. Restaurants use them to make whipped cream, but you can put soup, sauce or any liquid in them with interesting results. Here are some recipes. Four sheets of gelatin (1.7g each) is equivalent to one packet (1 tablespoon) in North America:
* Zaccardi's recipes
* ISI recipes
* Pina Colada and Americano drinks
* Prairie Moon
(Note about the iSi whipper: Some argue that this flash in the pan is already past, but I think the problem was that restaurants were using iSi-created foams (aka espumas) too much for garnishes that didn't add much to the meal. I think they have endless possibilities for drinks, cold soups, salad dressings, dips, and maybe mayonnaise. Be sure to get the model appropriate to your use: for example, only one model works with hot foods.)
You can also transform a liquid into a gel or foam with calcium chloride and sodium alginate, xanthan gum or agar agar. Gels and foams can be "poached" in a bath of liquid nitrogen to fast-freeze.
Emulsions are also popular. Here's a description of cinnamon oil. Here's a description of making emulsions with an iSi whipper.
Another idea that's new to home cooking is low temperature cooking. In the sous vide method, you put a piece of meat in a heavy plastic bag (you can add spices or sauces if you want). Squeeze out all the air and seal securely. Choose a temperature that you want the internal part of the meat to reach, and heat water to that amount. Put the bag in the water and leave for at least half an hour and up to several hours. The trick is to keep the water at the same temperature - you could do this in the oven, in a crockpot or on a hot plate, but you should pretest the temperature with a good kitchen thermometer. Choose 115F for extremely rare meat, up 160F for well done meat. When ready to eat, remove the meat from the bag and brown quickly on both sides in a hot frying pan. This method results in very tender meat. It can also be used to bring more flavor to very lean meat (and is used by restaurants to precook meat).
Another low temperature method is fish cooked in cooling water.
Turn pastes (for example, Nutella) into a powder using tapioca maltodextrin.
Make boffo spun sugar creations with isomalt sugar.
Use vodka and beer instead of water in your fried fish batter for a crispier, longer lasting crust.
It's not easy to find recipes for some of this new stuff. The El Bulli 2003-2004 cookbook will run you over $250. There is even talk of licensing recipes.
Khymos has some good info. Ditto a la Cuisine. There's a good overview at Foodite. My favorite source is Hungry in Hogtown.
Update: French Culinary Institute blog