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Is it okay to cook with wine when serving a guest in AA recovery?

I was planning on making a pork dish that I usually deglaze with red wine and boil down into a rich sauce. I assume that the alcohol burns away, but is it rude to serve to someone who is in AA? What would be a good substitute in a meat dish? Better safe than insensitive??

asked by lloreen almost 3 years ago
16 answers 5416 views
Img00019-20100929-0432_1_
added almost 3 years ago

I would not deglaze with red wine bewcause the flavor is still there and despite what some say the alcohol doesn't 100% burn off. Offering non-alcoholic beer is a AA no-no, as well, btw if someone is working and living by the steps. It's not a quistion of insensitive or rude, it's about a disease that needs to be accomodated like a diabetic or heart patient. When I need to sub out booze for a main course, I usually go with a complementary meat stock/broth and some rich fruit juice like apple cider or pomergrante juice.

Img00019-20100929-0432_1_
added almost 3 years ago

Pulled this from an AA forum that addressed everything from cooking sherry in soups, beer battered fish, desserts and more. This recovering alcoholic posted a good response, IMHO and wanted to share:

"Since first coming into AA I adopted a zero tolerance for any food that uses alcohol of any type in the recipe. My well meaning "Normal" friends have tried to persuade me for years that "Its OK the alcohol cooks off". I never believed that and would not take any chances eating out. I know I have another drunk in me but I don't know if I have another sobering up in me. It just wasn't worth the risk as it is a life or death matter."

I did some heavy research and this is what I found:
---------------------------------------------------------------------

A study conducted by the US Department of Agricultures Nutrient Data Laboratory calculated the percentage of alcohol remaining in a dish based on various cooking methods. The results are as follows:

Farmer's_market
added almost 3 years ago

Actually, all the alcohol doesn't burn off, contrary to popular belief. This chart shows you how much actually does, depending on length of cooking time: http://www.ochef.com/165...

As for whether what remains is okay, even after a long braise, that can be individual - how newly in recovery this person is, how sensitive to it...for some, just the taste of alcohol can be a 'trigger.' If it's someone you're comfortable asking, I would. Otherwise, I'd definitely say better safe than insensitive.

Dscn2212
boulangere

Cynthia is a trusted source on Bread/Baking.

added almost 3 years ago

Very kind of you to be so attuned to your guest's limits. A good stock always works well for deglazing.

Meg_b_f52
added almost 3 years ago

Absolutely better safe than sorry - some newly recovered alcoholics actually take a pill that helps them with cravings. If they are on this medication, wine or any alcohol in food (even if cooked) will make them pretty sick. I'd use a bit of stock and maybe some balsamic or apple cider vinegar to replace the acid. good luck!

Img_3538
added almost 3 years ago

My experience has been 'no, not okay' they do not care to taste any form of alcohol in their food as it is a reminder. I would just select something else.

Img_3538
added almost 3 years ago

My experience has been 'no, not okay' they do not care to taste any form of alcohol in their food as it is a reminder. I would just select something else.

Img00019-20100929-0432_1_
added almost 3 years ago

A study conducted by the US Department of Agricultures Nutrient Data Laboratory calculated the percentage of alcohol remaining in a dish based on various cooking methods. The results are as follows:

Preparation Method & Percent of Alcohol Retained in the Food

alcohol added to boiling liquid & removed from heat 85%
alcohol flamed 75%
no heat, stored overnight 70%
baked, 25 minutes, alcohol not stirred into mixture 45%
baked/simmered, alcohol stirred into mixture:
15 minutes 40%
30 minutes 35%
1 hour 25%
1.5 hours 20%
2 hours 10%
2.5 hours 5%

Now, it may be that the amount of alcohol in a dish is modest to start with, but the fact that some of the alcohol remains could be of significant concern to recovering alcoholics, parents, and others who have ethical or religious reasons for avoiding alcohol.




Sit2
Sam1148

Sam is a trusted home cook.

added almost 3 years ago

It's not about the percentages of alcohol in the dish, but the taste that might trigger a craving. Make it completely alcohol free...but if the taste of a 'reminder' is there..that's a trigger.

Most alcoholics won't trigger on some things, like wine, or other than their 'daily driver' alcohol. It all depends on the individual and if they're in the 'drinking mouthwash' stage.

Heck, even vanilla extract is 70 proof for alcohol content..but the flavor doesn't trigger cravings for drinking booze.

Voted the Best Answer!

Img00019-20100929-0432_1_
added almost 3 years ago

Sam, it would blow your mind what "triggers" an alcoholic.

Farmer's_market
added almost 3 years ago

Actually, it doesn't necessarily matter whether e.g., wine is someone's drink of choice for its taste to be a possible trigger. Unfortunately it's not that clearcut. It's also a huge generalization to think drinking mouthwash (or cough syrup, etc.) is a stage all alcoholics go through, or that triggers necessarily depend on any particular stage of recovery.

Regardless, about dinner: recovery is about someone managing his own situation, yet you don't want to make it unnecessarily harder than it already is either - a dinner party is supposed to be fun, comfortable and relaxing for your guests, right? So I'd skip the alcohol - there are other things to use for cooking once in a while.

(Also as someone mentioned, if your friend takes Antabuse, he'd be careful to avoid alcohol - even a tiny amount would make him VERY ill - that's the point of taking it. So he'd probably ask before eating. Btw, anti-craving meds - Naltrexone, Zofran, etc. - aren't the ones that have that effect, they simply cut down on the actual craving.)

Img00019-20100929-0432_1_
added almost 3 years ago

Well said.

Dsc00426
added almost 3 years ago

every person in recovery has his or her own limits of tolerance and ways that he or she lives a sober life. i know a bartender who is in recovery and lives completely sober but who tastes and spits in order to quality control and create his cocktails. this limit is fine for him but might be shockingly unacceptable to someone else. i know others who won't even partake in any sort of alcoholic-looking beverage, like sparking cider in a champagne flute.

the taste of alcohol leftover in a dish is as likely to be a trigger as, say, having to show up for a social dinner at all in the first place.

if you are unsure, and if you are close/comfortable enough with the person, ask if the wine is okay. if you aren't, i'd err on the side of leaving it out.

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 3 years ago

The alcohol doesn't all burn off. And even the teensiest trace of it can trigger a recovering alcoholic to fall off the wagon. I gather from your concern that you would not like to be responsible for such an occurrence.

Stock makes a great deglazer, as do a variety of fruit juices.

My BIL is a recovering alcoholic, so my sis does not cook with alcohol at all, and has made a game out of finding other liquids that add lots of flavor. For instance, Dr.Pepper (flat works best) results in a similar flavor profile to Sherry! And there are "famous" recipes for brisket that use Coca-cola.

Default-small
added almost 3 years ago

Definitely don't use wine to deglaze. My uncle has been in AA for nearly 14 years. I often forget and last year made some truffles that had alcohol in them. He always remembers to ask if any alcohol was used in the food preparation, but I sometimes wonder if it ends up making him feel uncomfortable. It just slipped my mind!

You're so very thoughtful to consider your guests needs though.

Junechamp
ChefJune

June is a trusted source on General Cooking.

added almost 3 years ago

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