Food and Alcohol
Alcohol in Food
It is usually easy to spot drinks that contain alcohol. Manufacturers are obliged to carefully label their products, and those offering alcoholic drinks will usually warn their guests. There are also many food items that contain alcohol and these can be harder to distinguish. This means that if an individual has decided to avoid alcohol, they will need to be careful around food and some other products. Reformed alcoholics can become distressed if they accidentally consume alcohol; so it needs to be avoided.
The Use of Alcohol in Cooking
There are many different types of cooking that use alcohol as part of the process. Adding wine or other alcoholic beverages to a recipe is said to increase the flavor; and it is also used to tenderize meat. Some cooks will automatically add a glass of alcohol to almost anything they are preparing. There is debate about the necessity of doing this, but some dishes do seem to depend on it for at least some of their flavor. There are also vinegars that are made from alcohol and these too get added to food.
As well as using alcohol in cooking, it can also be a main ingredient in desserts and sweets. Some chocolates contain an alcoholic core and eating a box of these could be enough to get one inebriated. There can also be desserts like trifle that can be mixed with a generous amount of sherry or wine.
Boiling off Alcohol in Food
It is often claimed that even recovering alcoholics can enjoy alcohol in their food because it is boiled off during the cooking process. Studies have shown that even when food has been cooked for a long time, there will still be a small amount of alcohol left behind. The amount might not be enough to create any noticeable intoxication, but it will be there nonetheless. A boiling dish that has alcohol added will retain 85% of the alcohol. Using a flame to burn the alcohol will still leave 75% of the alcohol behind. A normal meal will not contain enough alcohol to put somebody over the limit, but it can be enough that they experience slight intoxication. It would seem then, that those who wish to abstain from alcohol, should not eat food where alcohol has in any way been used in the cooking process.
There are those in long term recovery who play down the significance of alcohol in food. These people will say that their drinking problems were never as a result of eating food. While this way of thinking may work for some, it does not mean it is appropriate for everyone. To reduce the risk of relapse, it is recommended that people avoid alcohol no matter what form it comes in. Even the taste of alcohol can be enough to bring up drinking memories which could then direct then individual into dangerous thinking territory.
Alcohol in Food and Relapse
A recovering alcoholic who accidentally consumes alcohol in food can become extremely upset. Even though it was not their choice, they may take it to mean that they have relapsed. Individuals can even use such a mishap to justify a return to full-blown alcoholism. Just the taste of alcohol in their food can be enough to trigger a relapse.
If a recovering alcoholic accidentally consumes alcohol, they will usually require support and reassurance. So long as it wasn’t intended, it will not mean that they have relapsed. They are not back at square one. It is important that they learn from this mistake so as to avoid such an upsetting experience in the future.
Using Alcohol in Food
Those cooks who like to use alcohol in food should always warn their guests of this. There are people who wish to avoid alcohol completely but don’t like to make a big deal about it. It is wrong to just assume that everyone will be fine with having alcohol in their food. There will also be those who need to abstain from alcohol for religious reasons.
Recovering alcoholics should always be aware of the possibility that food could contain alcohol. They should examine menus carefully and, if unsure, ask the waiter to clarify ingredients. Those who are guests for dinner can warn the cook in advance of their need to avoid any alcohol in food. There are plenty of good alternatives to alcohol that can be used in cooking.