Alcohol in cooking if it "cooks off?"

All research or scholarship questions
AdibM
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:27 pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Alcohol in cooking if it "cooks off?"

Postby AdibM » Wed Jan 28, 2009 3:58 pm

I understand that alcohol in cooking is forbidden in the Baha'i Faith, but I am also aware of guidance from the House stating that using "extracts" of such fruits as would normally contain liquor is permissible:

"You ask whether it is permissible for the friends to use cake flavours, such as vanilla, lemon and rum flavoured extracts, as such flavours have a certain percentage of alcohol in them...
We have found no texts prohibiting the friends from using flavoured extracts in their food. This may be a matter for later legislation by the Universal House of Justice but for the time being the friends should be left free to do as they choose."

--The Universal House of Justice April 7, 1974


Therefore I need to ask just for clarification: if someone uses a sort of liquor, say red wine, in cooking but all of the alcohol "cooks off" once the food is all done (leaving you with only the flavor of the alcohol and not the actual alcohol itself if I'm not mistaken), would it be permissible to eat that food? Or would it be prohibited since alcohol was initially part of the mixture, regardless of whether or not the alcoholic nature of the supplements dissolve?
"To be a Bahá'í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood." -- `Abdu'l-Bahá

BritishBahai
Posts: 251
Joined: Sat May 17, 2008 1:21 pm
Location: UK

Re: Alcohol in cooking if it "cooks off?"

Postby BritishBahai » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:43 pm

I dont mean to side-track in any way, but what are you cooking? Or is this more of a hypothetical question?

I love cooking and experimenting in the kitchen, but if i ever come across a recipe which has alcohol in it then i just dont put it in, end of story. I see it as cheating in some way. I probably sound crazy and dont blame anyone for thinking that, but no means no. So no "choone-zadan" (haggling) as the Persians say .

The way i think of it, when you take a mouthful there are other flavours in your mouth and im pretty sure the food will taste just as good without just that one ingredient.
"I have desired only what Thou didst desire, and love only what Thou dost love"

AdibM
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:27 pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: Alcohol in cooking if it "cooks off?"

Postby AdibM » Wed Jan 28, 2009 7:59 pm

Not side-tracking in the least! Actually the answer to that is integral to my original question: I'm in a Latin American studies class where people are to cook their own dishes for a particular country that they have been assigned. Adding alcohol to the dishes (obviously if it's part of the recipe), such as red wine, is allowed by the teacher as long as it "cooks off." So as you can see, the situation is not hypothetical - it's actually imminent!

But you are absolutely right about choone-zadan, and nice use of it by the way. :lol: I guess in the end, if the dish had alcohol to begin with, there's no beating around that bush. That makes perfect sense and is what I was expecting. I wouldn't want alcohol in my food anyway lol.

I suppose I can just speak with the teacher after class one day and tell him about my situation. That way, I might not seem so insensitive when I might consecutively deny portions of potentially alcoholic dishes that other students make. :D And they're all supposed to list the ingredients of the dishes they make before we eat them, so inadvertently eating an alcoholic dish is a non-issue.
"To be a Bahá'í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood." -- `Abdu'l-Bahá

Truth
Posts: 79
Joined: Fri Nov 07, 2008 6:19 am
Location: Oz

Re: Alcohol in cooking if it "cooks off?"

Postby Truth » Wed Jan 28, 2009 10:43 pm

Alcohol doesn't actually "cook off" in cooking, so no, i wouldn't use it!

http://whatscookingamerica.net/Q-A/AlcoholCooking.htm

If it completely did "cook off" though, yeah i'd still consume the dish. I wouldn't be using it in my cooking, but if it was placed infront of me, i'd eat it, because i know it wouldn't be going against the purpose of the law, which is not to consume something that deprive us of our intelligence. (something intoxicating). If the alcohol all burns off, then you're not really consuming alcohol.

But yeah, in reality, if you aren't gonna cook for 2.5+ hours, i'd avoid it. lol.
No need to ask in whose presence I stood, as I bowed myself before one who is the object of a devotion and love which kings might envy and emperors sigh for in vain!

BruceDLimber
Posts: 189
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 5:34 pm
Location: Rockville, Maryland, USA

Alcohol in cooking if it "cooks off?"

Postby BruceDLimber » Sat Jan 31, 2009 5:42 pm

Greetings!

We had someone in our community raise this "cooking off" question 35 years ago, and we asked the US NSA.

Their answer is that REGARDLESS of whether the alcohol "cooks off" or not, what is forbidden is the USE of alcoholic beverages at all, not merely the alcohol in them! Such use is thus not permitted.

And no, this doesn't apply to things like vanilla extract (provided they're not drunk directly as beverages) because here, the intent isn't to use alcoholic beverages as such.

I hope this information helps clarify the matter.

Regards,

Bruce

AdibM
Posts: 109
Joined: Thu Jun 05, 2008 8:27 pm
Location: Austin, TX
Contact:

Re: Alcohol in cooking if it "cooks off?"

Postby AdibM » Sat Jan 31, 2009 8:38 pm

That was very helpful indeed Bruce, thanks. :)
"To be a Bahá'í simply means to love all the world; to love humanity and try to serve it; to work for universal peace and universal brotherhood." -- `Abdu'l-Bahá

brettz9
Posts: 1363
Joined: Wed Dec 31, 2003 12:12 pm
Contact:

Re: Alcohol in cooking if it "cooks off?"

Postby brettz9 » Sat Jan 31, 2009 9:06 pm

Hello Bruce and all,

Remember though, Bruce, that an NSA statement of one country does not necessarily pertain to all countries, nor is any interpretation they make infallible--only their decision is binding (on the believers in that country). And of course, the letter would be helpful to have too. Here are some authoritative quotations on the topic:

"Under no circumstances should Bahá'ís drink. It is so unambiguously forbidden in the Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh that there is no excuse for them even touching it in the form of a toast, or in a burning plum pudding; in fact, in any way."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, March 3, 1957: Cited in a letter from the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Ecuador, December 21, 1972, in Lights of Guidance, no. 1173)


"You ask whether it is permissible for the friends to use cake flavours, such as vanilla, lemon and rum flavoured extracts, as such flavours have a certain percentage of alcohol in them, and whether Bahá'ís may work in factories manufacturing such extracts.

"We have found no texts prohibiting the friends from using flavoured extracts in their food. This may be a matter for later legislation by the Universal House of Justice but for the time being the friends should be left free to do as they choose. The same principle applies to those who are employed in factories manufacturing such extracts."

(From a letter of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, April 7, 1974, in Lights of Guidance, no. 1174)


"With reference to your question whether those foods which have been flavoured with alcoholic liquors such as brandy, rum, etc., should be classified under the same category as the intoxicating drinks, and consequently be avoided by believers, the Guardian wishes all the friends to know that such foods, or beverages, are strictly prohibited."

(From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, January 9, 1939, in Lights of Guidance, no. 1175)


Another interesting quote to me (which seems it might discourage artificial additives as well!) is this one:

If alcohol were beneficial, it would have been brought into the world by the divine creation and not by the effort of man. Whatever is beneficial for man existeth in creation.

(From a Tablet of Abdu'l-Bahá to an individual believer, translated from the Persian: Prohibition of Intoxicating Drinks, A Compilation, April 1979, in Lights of Guidance, no. 1171)


Of course this might be a case of "exaggerated emphasis", because alcohol does occur "naturally" in the form of overripe fruit (and even "artificial" creation is not of course creating any entirely new components that didn't already exist in some form). One might argue, however, that 'Abdu'l-Baha's intent of "natural" is that something is readily provided to us and abundant in its normal state (though some things are harder to prepare than aging fruit, and yet there is no dispute about them). And again, we have to take into account degree, and perhaps as you suggested Bruce, intent.

It's a little puzzling to me also that the House states "We have found no texts prohibiting the friends from using flavoured extracts in their food" (the context includes "rum flavoured" ones) yet the next quotation cited states "foods which have been flavoured with alcoholic liquors...should be...avoided by believers". The statement "we have found no texts..." implies, however, that texts can exist, so maybe the second quotation was simply not uncovered at the time and overrules the first. (The only other difference between the two that I can see is that the first one is about adding an extract to the food, while the other is about having food which is already flavored--a difference which should hardly make any difference, I would think. Moreover, if you're using a flavoring with alcohol, you're adding something "unnatural" and using a product where someone had the "intent" to add alcohol to the flavoring; if there is a difference, the only one I can see is marketing, and even there, that would seem to preclude "rum flavoured" ones...)

best wishes,
Brett

Shuggles
Posts: 1
Joined: Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:49 pm

Re: Alcohol in cooking if it "cooks off?"

Postby Shuggles » Wed Feb 25, 2009 7:50 pm

Please remember, loved ones that the REASON why we shouldn't drink alchohol is because it derives us from loving God properly.
:smile:


Return to “Discussion”