A friend of mine asked me about designing a class to teach people how to cook without alcohol.
Now. At risk of sounding like a banana-pants-jerkface, I’m going to tell you my honest reaction and give an approximation of our exchange. Irritation made me snap as I rattled off a list of substitute ingredients. Stock. Grilled lemon juice. Vinegar. Verjus. And to top it off, “Christ, you can just use freaking water.” He just kind of looked at me and very politely said, “See. I’d never have thought of that.”
I thought more about what he’d asked me. I even went so far as to discuss it with a professional cook friend of mine. She sneered and had almost the same reaction I’d had. “Water.” But I kept thinking about it. And I realized why this class needed to happen.
For whatever reason, some people have to give up a very powerful tool when they give up alcohol. Whether it’s due to addiction or any other reason. It occurred to me that this really has to shake up their culinary view.
It also got me thinking about why and how alcoholic products are used. I thought some more on what I thought I knew about it. And I did some digging.
I put together a course and I am really looking forward to teaching it.
I’m going to be doing a series of posts on cooking without alcohol based on my experiments and research. Keep an eye out. It’s some fun stuff.
Do you have alcohol restrictions? What are some of the ways you build flavor without alcoholic ingredients?