Friday, June 4, 2010

Drunk by Food

As some of you may have noticed I conducted a poll asking if you would or do cook with alcohol.  I directed the poll to LDS readers, but I didn't realize until now that other religions also don't drink alcohol.  I apologize for that.  Anyhow, I've always found this an interesting topic.  Just yesterday I did a search at lds.org with the words "cooking with alcohol"  About 5 pages of material popped up but not one addressed this topic.   hmmm......So I guess that means it is up to the individual and God?  I 'll give you my take on the matter. 

First of all, As some of you may know the concept that alcohol cooks completely out of the food is a myth.  There was a university study a few years back that proved this.   Let me provide you with a chart so can see how it works. 

Alcohol Burn-off Chart in Prepared Foods
Method of Preparation Percent of Alcohol Retained

No heat applied but stored overnight 90%

Alcohol added to boiling liquid and removed from heat 85%

Alcohol flamed 75%

Alcohol added to food and cooked for 15 minutes 45%

30 minutes 40%

1 hour 25%

1.5 hours 20%

2 hours 10%

2.5 hours 5%

Here is the alcohol content for some common cooking ingredients:

White Wine    9%- 15%
Marsala         17%-20%
Vanilla           35%

I'll let you do all the math because there are several different scenarios.  But I have to ask is it really breaking the LDS word of wisdom? 

I think 'No'.  Yes, I do cook with alcohol, and I think it adds flavors not achieved otherwise. Typically the amount that a recipe calls for is not really that great.  For example Vanilla only uses about a 1 teaspoon or so.  Chicken Marsala calls for about 3/4 cup per 4 chicken breasts. In that instance your only consuming about 3 tablespoons.  So what's 17% alcohol of 3 tablespoons?  It can't be very much, and I bet it's about the same alcohol content of frosting, a cake than contains vanilla, or if you were to accidentally swallow traces of mouthwash. 

I think the purpose of us not drinking alcohol is to not loose our agency to it.  I would not drink it in a cup ever.  But I think using the flavors in wine is a different story.  I am not loosing my agency.   I don't feel like by partaking of foods cooked with wine that I am displaying "the appearance of evil".  If a general authority came to me and said this is indeed against the word of wisdom, I would listen to them. One has yet to say that it is, unless I'm missing something.

Anyhow those are my thoughts of the subject.  Please feel free to comment or e-mail me your feelings. 


  1. Wow, I never even really thought about vanilla, and look how much more alcohol it has than using white wine. I also cook with alcohol and don't feel bad at all about it. Most of my "wine recipes" are in a crock pot and cooked all day, so maybe that's why; but I don't think it is wrong at all. If we draw a line there then when does it stop? Do we need to stop using vanilla and mouthwash too? I don't think so.

  2. I don't cook with alcohol. I have become a good enough cook that I feel like I can make food taste good without out it. My husband on the other hand, totally different story. But like most things in the gospel, it's the spirit of the law, not the letter of the law. Our agency includes the freedom to interpret. We should do what makes us most comfortable within the bounds of God's commandments. And in that regard, I feel most comfortable foregoing alcohol.

    I liked your comment you left. I am glad to hear that I too am not alone. Good luck sister! Plow through it!