Thanks to a tip by Naveen, I had the luxury of spending the day (literally, the seminar ran from 9 to 5) over at Boston University listening to Harold McGee and Shirley Corriher talk food. In addition to taking the torrent of questions from the audience, the two eminent food writers covered the history of food science, heat in the kitchen (including the infamous sous vide), the intricacies of flavor and aroma (with the supertaster test), and finally a discussion on molecular gastronomy that may have actually killed my distain for the field. McGee is an incredibly charming speaker, each presentation engaging and dense with information, while Corriher featured a boisterous Southern personality complete with a knack for storytelling and a dissonant fondness for the word "shit".
Particulars will have to be reserved for personal conversations, except for one fact that simply must be shared. Where did the term "molecular gastronomy" originate? It was devised to help garner funding for one of the first food science conferences. As Corriher so eloquently put it, bullshit.