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Cooking with alcohol vs. handing your child a beer

I watch Food Detectives on Food Network. Last night, they showed how, contrary to what most think, when you cook with alcohol, the alcohol does not completely cook out, and in fact, most of it is still in the food. I had believed that it cooks out. So, now, I'm wondering...given this information, do you believe there is a difference between cooking with alcohol when your kids will eat it and giving them an actual drink? Since I just found this out, I'm thinking, trying to decide. I never cook with alcohol anyway, but this is something I never really thought of, and wanted to see what other people think. So, do you think it's ok to cook with alcohol even though it doesn't all cook out, or do you think it's the same as giving your child a drink in a glass?


Asked by tropicalmama at 1:17 PM on Mar. 11, 2009 in General Parenting

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Answers (8)
  • Yeah, the alcohol is there. It doesn't just disappear. The alcohol doesn't have the same effect in the body as it would if it were given straight. Due to chemical reactions it takes away the chance of a "damaging" effect. So, nope...not worried at all about my son getting drunk off of eating spaghetti

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:27 PM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • Are you serious? Even if it doesn't cook out, it diminishes drastically....waaaaay different then giving your kid straight alcohol

    Answer by Anonymous at 1:19 PM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • I'm not going to worry about it for one second. If I make one dish a year that calls for alchohol in the recipe that would be a lot. But for arguments sake, let's say it is generally a cup or so to a giant pot of food. Now, let's say of that cup or so of alchohol, some of it cooks out, maybe 1/2 cup? (total guess)...that means that in my giant pot of chili or sausage and peppers there is a 1/2 a cup of alchohol that will then be divvied up into 12 servings. Of those 12 servings, how much will my kids even eat considering they don't like spicy or "weird" food? No, I'm not worried at all.

    Answer by gramsmom at 1:22 PM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • Yes, I'm serious. They showed that in a bourbon cornbread, 75% of the bourbon was still there. So, no, not way different.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 1:23 PM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • Well, perhaps I would use common sense and not give my kids Amarretto cake or BOURBON cornbread, lol, I'm talking about say, chicken marsala, or spaghetti sauce (I use a bit of red wine in my sauce), but no, I would not allow my kids to have Bailey's ice cream. Let's be smart here.

    Answer by gramsmom at 1:37 PM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • You also have to remember that say, 1/4 cup alcohol in a recipe divided by how many people are eating it, and considering serving sizes, etc. is VASTLY different than giving a child a beer or any other alcoholic drink. Like gramsmom said - be smart.

    Answer by JPsMommy605 at 1:56 PM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • I'm not being stupid, but thanks for the assumption. I used the cornbread as the example, b/c that was one they used, and since I don't run around with the various recipes for cooking with alcohol in my head, that's the one I have.

    Answer by tropicalmama at 2:26 PM on Mar. 11, 2009

  • I agree, that the little bit of alcohol used for cooking is not going to be the same as giving your kid a glass of wine or a bottle of beer. I grew up eating beer brats almost every sunday night. My father in law was a professional chef, so my husband had his fair share of sauces with wine as an ingredient. My son is three and still has never had a beer brat although it is something i cook regularly. When he's a little older, why not? You don't cook with wine or beer for the alcohol, you use it for taste!

    Answer by Crystal1124 at 2:26 PM on Mar. 11, 2009