Magazine article Addiction Professional

A Recipe for Sobriety

Magazine article Addiction Professional

A Recipe for Sobriety

Article excerpt

A couple of weeks into her outpatient treatment for alcoholism, Liz Scott suddenly realized she would face a daunting task in avoiding the sights and smells associated with her drug of choice as she moved forward. As a gourmet chef, Scott would always find herself in surroundings where an open bottle was within aim's reach.

"My second or third week sober, I had to do a catering event that I couldn't get out of," Scott recalls. "I had to prepare a dish with vodka. I just said to myself, 'Don't look at it. Don't taste it. Just get it done and get it out.'"

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These experiences more than 10 years ago, coupled with what she saw as a puzzling lack of input from her treatment professionals about her nutritional needs in recovery, convinced Scott to examine more closely the links between alcohol and fine food in her profession, and in society.

She learned some compelling facts. For one, a National Council on Alcoholism, and Drug Dependence (NCADD) survey had shown that alcohol dependence and abuse were more highly prevalent in the food preparation industry than in nearly every other profession. Also, while many believe alcohol used in recipes burns off in the cooking process, federal government research actually has shown that depending on the alcohol type and the cooking method used, anywhere from 5 to 85% of the alcohol used in recipes remains in the dish after cooking.

Clearly there was much room for education for both professionals and home cooks, and Scott has helped fill that information need in recent years with several well-received cookbooks, including Sober Kitchen: Recipes and Advice for a Lifetime of Sobriety and Sober Celebrations: Lively Entertaining without the Spirits.

"I specialize in sober parties and sober weddings," says Scott, 52, with the events having some appeal both for individuals in recovery and those who simply don't want to serve alcohol. "These events are not just a matter of removing alcohol; if you're going to take it away, you have to put something back in."

Special substitutes

With her detailed knowledge of flavors, Scott is able to prepare food and drinks that aren't a pale imitator of a popular favorite that uses alcohol, but often improve on the recipe on which they were modeled.

"When you're making Cherries Jubilee, which uses Kirsch liqueur, you can't just pour cherry juice from a bottle instead," she says. But if you examine the flavor profile of the liqueur, you can employ various items such as teas and syrups to duplicate the taste and texture.

"Teas have the same tannic quality as wine, and there are so many great syrups now from the people who make them for coffee bars," Scott says. …

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