Alcohol is a cooking ingredient for many recipes. Seasoned chefs and home cooks who come to recovery have often put too much alcohol in themselves rather than the food they were cooking it with. For them, and any home cook or professional chef, there is a challenge in one of their most beloved hobbies. Many questions arise regarding cooking with alcohol. We’ll try to answer them here so you can continue to be your best chef and make recipes you love.
What Happens When You Cook With Alcohol?
Adding alcohol to a dish when cooking changes the flavor, the aroma, and can change the way different ingredients bond together. Commonly, patrons are informed that, although alcohol has been added to a dish, it burns off, leaving no alcohol behind. Not enough, at least, to cause any kind of intoxication.
Alcohol in a dish needs to be cooked for a certain amount of hours in a simmer or baked in a dish at high heat. Alcohol added last minute for flavor usually will not burn off. Dishes that put alcohol directly on the food, like some cakes and fruit salads, will have an alcoholic content. Other dishes in which the alcohol is baked, a large percentage of the alcohol will be cooked off.
However, according to the USDA, even alcohol that has been stirred into a mixture and baked and/or simmered for even 2.5 hours still leaves 5% retention of alcohol. Typically, the longer the alcohol is cooked the less alcohol is left over. CHances are there will still be a small amount of alcohol left.
Is Eating Food Cooked With Alcohol Considered A Relapse?
What constitutes a relapse when it comes to eating food cooked with alcohol is more of a subjective decision. People choose to imbibe in drinks like nonalcoholic beer or kombucha which still have trace amounts of alcohol. Contrary to popular illustration, once that small amount of alcohol touched their system, they did not instantaneously revert into wild alcoholics. Having a small sampling of alcohol can cause an upset stomach or a burning sensation on the tongue.
Will Eating Food Cooked With Alcohol Intoxicate Me?
Some desserts and baked goods have a heavy dosing of sweet liqueur poured right into the cake or whipped into frosting. People have reported feeling an effect of alcohol from these foods. Whichever kind of food, one would have to eat quite a lot of it before truly becoming intoxicated.
Do I Have To Avoid Food Cooked With Alcohol?
In earlier stages of recovery, eating food that has an alcoholic taste or smell can be triggering. Many people choose to avoid such foods out of principle, while others feel certain enough in their sobriety to indulge. However, there is no such thing as being “sober enough” to eat food cooked with alcohol. The choice is entirely yours.
Avalon By The Sea offers one of California’s only programs certified to treat both mental health disorders and substance use disorders as primary diagnoses. For more information on our treatment programs or a confidential assessment, call 888-958-7511.