Cooking with alcohol

Old 11-17-2016, 01:53 AM
  # 21 (permalink)  
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I use to cook with wine ....and sometimes I would even put some in the food, haha.

I actually cook with very little alcohol these days, the only alcohol I use is small amounts of Chinese rice wines in sauces and cooking: far too salty to actually drink.
I can say I haven't missed it, there are substitutes.
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Old 11-17-2016, 09:51 AM
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I am a chef and sometimes have to use wine at the restaurants I work at. I have tasted the broth for mussels/clams and it did not send me into relapse. However, I do not risk it while cooking at home. Just too risky for me in my opinion.
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Old 11-17-2016, 03:54 PM
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I guess it's sort of playing with fire, isn't it?

How similar is this question to you compared to "can I control / moderate my drinking?"

Are you still testing your limitations, or do you know where you draw the line?

So much of the problem for addicts is how they feel psychologically after they find out they've had alcohol. "I've had a little, I might as well have a tonne" slippery slope logic.

I'm not sure, but I think maybe there's a difference between someone who still feels addicted, and someone who has made a lifestyle choice after abusing alcohol. Addiction isn't rational, and sometimes if someone finds out their cough medicine had alcohol in it they go crazy, or even their mouth wash. But if it was a lifestyle choice and quitting wasn't too hard, I guess it's a different situation.

My advice is if you don't feel safe having a drink, I don't think it's a good idea to eat meals like this, especially if you're the one putting the booze in.
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Old 11-17-2016, 03:55 PM
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I was worried about this when I first got sober. I wouldn't use it in food that I cooked myself, but I was more worried about alcohol in food that other people had cooked (at a restaurant, at someone else's house, etc).

I spent a bit of time reading on this topic. It seems like the amounts used in food are simply not enough to trigger a relapse. I found no reports of people going on a binge after eating food cooked with alcohol. Has anyone heard of this happening?

I would much rather avoid it completely if possible, but like I said above there might be instances where you don't know there is alcohol in your food.

It seems like the bigger issues are the fact that it could be a mental trigger if you know your food has alcohol in it, and also having alcohol in the house.
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Old 11-17-2016, 05:18 PM
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Originally Posted by OddOneIn View Post
You can always replace the alcohol in a recipe with some other liquid. If you need a particular flavor you can usually find a substitute online somewhere.
This may be true most of the time; HOWEVER, be very careful; many of the 'flavorings,' and most of the 'extracts' have alcohol in them.

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Old 11-17-2016, 07:44 PM
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My take is that there are minuscule amounts of alcohol present in all sorts of things. They don't trigger me to drink simply because nothing does. And according to that chart, most of it indeed does evaporate, with only 40% remaining after only 15 minutes in the oven. For two hours, it's down to 10%.

There is nothing wrong, to me, with alcohol. I just don't drink it anymore. However, your mileage may indeed vary. There isn't a definitive answer to the question, but there is one for you. And that is up to you.
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Old 11-17-2016, 07:53 PM
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For me it's not about the amount of alcohol - it's a general principle. I've moved on from my relationship with alcohol.

Food tastes better without it anyway IMO

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Old 11-18-2016, 01:33 PM
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I think if you feel that the taste will be a trigger, you should avoid it... My mother doesn't understand why I would avoid a beer cheese dip, as much as I LOVE cheese, and used to be a beer drinker.. I don't know though, we haven't discussed my sobriety yet... I might open up at around a year and in the mean time she's just gonna be offended when I don't eat something with beer or wine involved - HA!

Here is something I found on a site called fooducate:

When added to liquids, alcohol begins to evaporate at three times the rate of the water. The bigger the surface area of the liquid, the higher the rate of evaporation. An open lid will lead to faster evaporation compared to a closed lid.

In tests conducted and published by the USDA, adding alcohol to a boiling liquid and removing from heat immediately retained 85% of the alcohol. However, the application of heat changes the alcohol content dramatically. Simmering reduces the alcohol levels in a liquid as follows: After just 15 minutes, only 40% of the alcohol is retained. After an hour – 25%. After 2 and a half hours, just 5% of the original alcoholic content is retained.

Any cooking beyond 2.5 hours won’t change the alcohol content – 5% is the lowest level so long as there is liquid in the dish. This is due to the fact that water and alcohol are azetropic – when combined, their molecules have a high affinity for each other. At 95% water to 5% alcohol, the evaporation rate of both remains identical.

Let’s see what five percent means when an entire bottle of red wine (750 milliliter, or 27 fluid ounces), with 14% alcohol by volume, is added to a dish. We start off with approximately 3.75 fluid ounces of alcohol (0.14 times 27 fl. oz.). After a few hours of slow cooking, only 5% of the 3.75 fluid ounce of alcohol are retained. This works out to less than 2 tenths of a fluid ounce of alcohol retained – about one teaspoon.

Assuming you still have several cups full of liquid in your dish, the alcohol content is negligible and safe for kids.The most important tip for cooking with wine: Always taste it before adding to your pot. There’s nothing worse than discovering you ruined your stew by adding bad wine.

1. USDA Table of Nutrient Retention Factors, Dec 2007
2. Cooking with Alcohol – America’s Test Kitchen
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Old 11-18-2016, 01:38 PM
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Originally Posted by Dee74 View Post
For me it's not about the amount of alcohol - it's a general principle. I've moved on from my relationship with alcohol.

Food tastes better without it anyway IMO

Ditto. I just got around to buying some more alcohol-free mouth wash, but I had not used it since I created that thread about the one I bought having a disturbingly high alcohol content lol
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Old 11-18-2016, 06:14 PM
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Originally Posted by August252015 View Post
For the Love of All That Is Holy. I don't know why but this issue is EVERYWHERE in my life right now. Sigh.

And here it is at the top of the new posts on SR. Two weekends ago, I was out of town and two issues with food cooked with alcohol came up in the same day. One, the only queso option was tequila flambeed (seriously? You can't just heat it instead?) and despite asking the (fairly inept hence untrustworthy) server to talk to the kitchen and make sure it didn't come that way, it came out looking "bruleed" on top. I didn't eat it; I hadn't consciously thought of what I'd do about cooked food- probably not eat it- so I passed. Then at dinner, we got tiramisu to go- one of my favorite desserts ever- and when we got back to the hotel, I thought "wait! doesn't this have alcohol in it?" Yep, rum. So I didn't eat it either. So I talk to my sponsor, think through it, realize I have hit a wall with a line for me- no food cooked with alcohol, at least right now.

So then what happens? I'm at a dinner party last night and my gf, who is a great cook, has made what looks like a super dinner. She had sweetly asked beforehand what I'd like to drink and even though I assured her water was ok, she got lots of club soda with lime. No problem. We sit down to the first course- octupus over a yogurt and olive oil base, delicious- and afterwards I happen to ask her how it was cooked because it was so good. "Oh, I boiled it in wine then braised it..." WHAT?! Didn't taste like alcohol, just goodness. So then the whole conversation becomes- how did you cook everything else? OMG, what did I just do? So now we're on salad, and I eat just the butter lettuce with the sliced avocado, no dressing just to be safe because she couldn't remember if she put the rice wine in the dressing like she did on the entree.

My stress level is rising this whole time. I'm trying not to become a problem guest and I'm texting my sponsor and mom after the salad course. Can I just eat the veggies that would come with the branzino (she did cook that in the rice wine)? Is any of this a big deal? I didn't MEAN TO DO IT!

Seriously? This is crazy making. I started tearing up after the salad and decided to leave. She feels horrible and because we are all really polite people, I just made a graceful exit about not feeling well - but it was so abrupt, I am sure there was "WTH happened" later since it was a dinner of 7.

What did I actually ingest? I don't know and articles I found pretty much say what Scott said above. *Here is one article I found - Can Recovering Alcoholics Eat Food Cooked with Alcohol? | Debunking Addiction - HealthyPlace *
The intent was certainly not to drink but I honestly can't tell you how I feel about all this other than upset- the control of the ONE thing I can control was....not in my control. Here come the I never eat out? Do I ask painstaking questions of future hosts? Do I just not get worked up about it and make a mental note of the lesson (be ever vigilant and opt for a preemptive no thanks?)?

Clearly, there is some reason this issue is on my plate right now (ha). Maybe it's because nine months is Fri and I need some heightened reminder of the fact that alcohol is everywhere.

Or maybe it's because I'm ok, and this isn't gonna make me drink.

Whatever the case, clearly alcohol in food is a no go for me. No cheese, cake or fish is worth the angst.
Thanks for sharing this fretful experience, August.

I suspect it can serve as an important learning tool for you.

I had a very similar experience happen to me before I was 6 months sober.

It played a real head game with me at the time, but ever since then I have been very dogmatic about alcohol and food and what I choose to put into my body, even if someone's feelings may be hurt by my declination to eat his or her food item.

When it comes to my sobriety, I make the rules.

End of story.

FWIW, I am especially suspicious of desserts, because frequently little or no alcohol may escape during the cooking process (at least that's what they told me at the treatment center I attended when I got sober).
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Old 11-19-2016, 11:13 AM
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My last drink was half a bottle of red wine that I was saving for the spaghetti sauce.
Downed it in one.

I am the family cook.
Not a chef; more of a short-order cook.
I haven't cooked with alcohol for more than 12 years.
Nor have I knowingly eaten a dish containing alcohol at a restaurant.

Would I relapse if I had a bit of alcohol in food?
An accidental taste of a liqueur-filled chocolate says: "Not yet."

Perhaps, just as importantly:
Since I quit drinking, it's no longer all about me.
My family is gratefully reassured by my abstinence.
The kids like the non-alcoholic Bolognese sauce better anyway.
It's now gone vegetarian as well. (Acceptance is key.)

They sometimes help me find the non-alcoholic options on the menu.
Sure, I sometimes hanker for the seafood linguini.
But the white wine sauce puts me off.

I am reminded now of the Garden of Eden:
Why on earth would I want to jeopardise what we have been given?
My wife family certainly don't.
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Old 11-21-2016, 04:27 PM
  # 32 (permalink)  
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Well....I wouldn't be as concerned about how much is retained in the food as I would in drinking the wine/alcohol you're using to deglaze the pan. Just me though.
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