or Connect
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Does the smell of wine and vinegar make anyone else sick?
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

Does the smell of wine and vinegar make anyone else sick?

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
This is a problem that I have, the smell of most alcohols and vinegars turn my stomach. Everywhere you turn there is either a vinaigrette or wine glaze or sauce or some other alcohol in recipes or offered at a meal. This problem is so bad that if someone sitting next to me has a glass of red wine, I have to ask them to move it to their side away from me just so I can eat my meal. Am I nuts? Is there anything that I can do about this? I do try to find wines that I can stand the smell of but none seem to pass the nose test so I certainly don't drink it.

For salad dressings I either use/make citrus juice based dressings or cream based. I have made recipes with either alcohol or vinegars for other people but I have not been able to eat them myself. I was told that they were wonderful though.

So does anyone else have this problem? Do I have to be afraid of this stuff forever? Any ideas?
post #2 of 18
Is it possible you have or are developing an allergy to these products???

Wines don't make me sick but I'm not a big fan of any alcoholic beverages. I like sauces made with wines but could care less about drinking wine or beer.
post #3 of 18
Thread Starter 

It's not impossible but..

I don't have any other allergies. I can drink some beers, light ales and such. Lagers tend to not pass the nose too. I can also handle vodka even a bit of tequila but that's about it.
Do you know if I can use vodka to replace other alcohols just to get that acid? I do realize that the flavor would be lost by not using a wine.
post #4 of 18
Putting aside the for now question of what you can do to substitute for vinegar, wine, etc. in cooking -- you really should get checked out by a doctor. It sounds as though you have a bad reaction to acetic acid. Not that your reaction to the fumes is crazy -- I'm sure there are people who shun those odors, but it sounds as though the degree to which you are affected is extreme. Just wondering: can you take aspirin, or does it make you sicker and give you a bad reaction? It is a real and very legitimate allergen (my father was allergic to aspirin). Aspirin is a related acid.

Wines especially are made up of many, many chemical compounds that give it both flavor and aroma. Have you tried using any of the de-alcoholized wines on the market. How do you react to those? I've never tried them, and so don't know how well they'd work in cooking, but that might be a partial solution. And then there's verjus, which is unfermented sour grape juice, kind of acidic like vinegar but nowhere near as strong.

Using vodka will produce a very different flavor in cooking; you would do better to experiment using other liquids such as tomato products or citrus juices (for acid), or other fruit or vegetable juices, stocks, or even just water. Anyway vodka doesn't provide acid, but rather alcohol to act as a carrier of flavor (like fat). The other liquids each provide their own distinctive flavor (except water, which sometimes can be just what you need).

But please, see a doctor to find out why you have that reaction.
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
"Notorious stickler" -- The New York Times, January 4, 2004
Reply
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
I have never had any trouble with aspirin and I do take it when I fly.
I haven't tried any of the alcohol-free wines but I don't like the taste of grape juice,jams, or even candy and such flavorings. The only grape anything that I can handle are rasins or white seedless grapes.
Thanks for the advice on possible subtitutes. I'll have to experiment a bit.
post #6 of 18

Vinegar

Being a bartender for 10 years, I can tell you from experience that people can form allergies to alcohol.
As far as the smell of vinegar, which is how I found this thread, I can relate to your reaction. The smell of vinegar, even a smell bit, causes me to violently vomit. Though I can drink with the best of 'em, I can not even be near a bottle of Tabasco sauce. Go figure?

I do know that yeast, Candida I believe specifically, is attracted to and grows well in vinegar. And yeast is also used in the making of wine. Maybe that is your allergy?
post #7 of 18
Sorry, I may have cited the wrong yeast. It would probably be Saccharomyces cerevisiae if it were yeast causing an allergy.
post #8 of 18
This is a question that has baffled a lot of doctors and scientists for years:

Here's why:

Odours are of course small, air borne particles that have escaped the chemical bonding of any given object. Of course; its more than possible to be allergic to the particles that are entering your body however they're not going towards your gastro-intestinal system (which would cause the automatic reaction to vomit); they either enter the lungs, which can cause an auto-immuno reaction (asthma) or in through your interior nares to your olfactory receptors.

Along the nasal passage way there are minute blood vessels and various forms of slime (epithelium) that are designed for catching unwanted molecules, and there; could also be a small immuno-reaction (such as runny nose or sneezes).

That means at no point do the molecules enter your gastro-intestinal system that could induce vomiting due to an allergic reaction.

Confused?

So are a lot of people... as this is a very noted problem; not just with alcohol but with many kinds of odours.

A lot of people are taking to the world of psychology rather than physiology for an answer:

Is it possible that there are memories associated to the smell that trigger a physical reaction?

...possibly.

And before you become cynical of the idea remember what our (rather peculiar) forefather of psychoanalysis teaches us about the mind; connections aren't always as apparent as one may think: Children Connect Alcohol Odors With Their Mother's Emotions
post #9 of 18
Just to let you know you're not alone... I have a close friend with the same problem. She's also a bit of a foodie so we enjoy the challenge of adapting recipes without wine.

I gotta agree with the pros here- float that one past your doctor too, just in case.
post #10 of 18
Only when I was pregnant.
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
Reply
"The pressure's on...let's cook something!"
 
Reply
post #11 of 18

beer

If you drink beer but can not smell wine, seems strange.
Can you eat grapes?
You might have also (I am serious not trying to make a joke) a psicological reaction.
Try to do a blind test. Have a friend prepare the exact meal, (something that have a strong flavour) one using wine and one without and see whether you have different reaction.
Also try a sulfite free wine.
post #12 of 18
Thread Starter 
Well i thank all of you for your input.
sure, some of the reaction could be mental and relate to my past. I don't like dark grapes but can eat white ones. White wine also bothers me less but I still don't like the taste of white wine but it at least can pass my nose and allow me to take a taste test of it. I keep trying and keep hoping that my tastes grow up some day. It is also nice to know that there are some others out there that have the same issues.
post #13 of 18
My signature speaks for itself. 
"J'aime cuisiner avec du vin, j'ai parfois même mettre dans les aliments je suis cuisson. ""Mi piace cucinare con il vino, talvolta ho persino messa nel cibo sto cottura. ""I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food I'm cooking." - Julia Child 
Reply
"J'aime cuisiner avec du vin, j'ai parfois même mettre dans les aliments je suis cuisson. ""Mi piace cucinare con il vino, talvolta ho persino messa nel cibo sto cottura. ""I enjoy cooking with wine, sometimes I even put it in the food I'm cooking." - Julia Child 
Reply
post #14 of 18
You might have an alergy, small that make your stomac sick, that generated nausea.
The difference in white wine and red wine is NOT the color of the wine. The difference is that white wine is a grape jouice fermented beverage, red wine is a grape fermented beverage.
So: if you want to identify the responible:
try a good champagne. That is made with red grapes. If it bothers you, then we are in the dark, otherwise we know it is something from the skin of the grape.
Unfrtunately there are so many compounds, not considering the fermentation and aging changes. However if the red grape gives you same problem than we know it is something that does not get changed during fermentation.
You might want to try at this point an 10 years old wine (barolo or brunello) if it does not make you sick than we know it is probably tannins or antocians or some other primary flavour..
Does any other fruit gives you same problem (any berry?).
post #15 of 18
seems like a lot of good advice. I just waned to chime in that while I have no aversion to vinegar or wine in my sauces and can sniff at them all day long without issue however I do not like liqueors in my desserts. tirimisu makes me want to gag, rum cake tastes ghastly and Cointreau truffles just seemed ruined in my opinion.
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
Reply
"In those days spirits were brave, the stakes were high, men were real men, women were real women, and small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri were real small furry creatures from Alpha Centauri. "
Reply
post #16 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post

 I just waned to chime in that while I have no aversion to vinegar or wine in my sauces and can sniff at them all day long without issue however I do not like liqueors in my desserts. tirimisu makes me want to gag, rum cake tastes ghastly and Cointreau truffles just seemed ruined in my opinion.
 

I wasn't going to comment in this thread, but I'm in the same boat with Gunnar.  Can't do liqueor desserts.

I also can't drink red grape juice, or eat anything 'grape flavoured'; makes me physically sick.  I can smell it with similar reaction to smelling something foul, but it's only if I injest it that it triggers my stomach's reject function.
post #17 of 18
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gunnar View Post

seems like a lot of good advice. I just waned to chime in that while I have no aversion to vinegar or wine in my sauces and can sniff at them all day long without issue however I do not like liqueors in my desserts. tirimisu makes me want to gag, rum cake tastes ghastly and Cointreau truffles just seemed ruined in my opinion.

I fully agree - while I don't have a gag reflex, i do detest liqueurs ruining the flavor of chocolate, vanilla, or other flavors that are typical of deserts and that are the flavors i definitely do not want covered by something strong.  But more than that I can't even stand to smell bitter almond or any almond extract (which is always bitter almond extract, since it tastes nothing like regular almonds) and amaretto.

I also am unusual in that I'm indifferent to wine for the most part.  I do like beer (though i have a very low tolerance for alcohol, since one portion of it (a glass of beer, a glass of wine) makes me immediately feel floppy and this is definitely NOT fun, when you're with friends and you just want to fall asleep while the others are enjoying a meal or talking - a little less than that and i can feel silly and less inhibited, but it's easy to go beyond.

I can like some wines, and i can see that they do enhance food enjoyment, but I don't like the (perceived) sourness of them.  I never "got it" about wine, and what a big deal it is, and how refined and amazing it is - yeah, i can get the complexity of flavor, i could probably be a wine taster, because i have a very sensitive nose (can tell what are the ingredients in perfumes for instance) but i just don't particularly enjoy it.  I absolutely DETEST champagne.  Makes me sick. 

But the nausea reaction is different, i think.  There are possibly three reasons. 

1. I agree with chris.lawrence that from a physiological point of view allergy just doesn;t make sense physiologically.  However I imagine it could be possible that someone might have a physiological reaction to  a substance that causes a gag reflex in them and not in others.  (Cilantro for me - never could enjoy mexican or indian food because of it.  It's obviously a particular and individual way of tasting it - and there are no memories of it for me, since it just didn;t exist where i grew up in those days).

2.  I think that he is also right when he says that smells are possible triggers for memories.  (We don't have to remain in the 19th century world of Freud - modern studies on memory more than bear out some of these things that Freud originally said, before he rejected his trauma theory, to our great loss.  But for sure the sense of smell is a very powerful force in evoking memory - it's closely tied to emotional memory.  If you have any doubt of this, think how suddenly and unexpectedly smelling something you haven't smelled since you were a kid can bring you flying right back to childhood, whether positive or negative.)

3.  We are predisposed physiologically to remember smells of things that once made us sick.  This is obviously essential for a species that was originally a hunter/gatherer species in it's days of evolution.  Those who didn't remember the smell of that poison mushroom that made them sick in a small quantity will end up dead one day for eating a large quantity!  So we have predisposed nausea reactions to smells that we associate to nausea.  It can even be a very accidental connection- like when you get a stomach flu just after having eaten chinese, or eaten watermelon, or eaten anything unusual or that tends to leave a long-term taste or repeat.  You will feel nauseous when you smell it again even years later. 
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
"Siduri said, 'Gilgamesh, where are you roaming? You will never find the eternal life that you seek...Savour your food, make each of your days a delight, ... let music and dancing fill your house, love the child who holds you by the hand and give your wife pleasure in your embrace.'"
Reply
post #18 of 18

I too get nauseus from the smell of vinegars and just had Ortally wine vinegar on my lunch salad which  was the only vinegar I tolerated (I tried and threw out MANY) and it made me want to throw up.When  got a wiff of my salad made of only organic romaine, toasted sesame oil and the wine vinegar I mentioned,it made me want to throw up  instantly.I have a theor about acidic bodies.I have a very acidic body which I am trying to correct  and make more alkaline through testing with ph strips and eating lemons once a day.I was a vegetarian for 7 years and ate eggplant often.Since becoming a meat eater again,as soon as eggplant goes in my mouth I throw my guts up.It has been four years since I was a vegetarian.I do have asthma and am allergic to birch trees and fruits and vegetables in that family such as apples and potatoes.I used to have the same reaction to coffee.I wonder if there is a correlation?

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Food & Cooking
ChefTalk.com › ChefTalk Cooking Forums › Cooking Discussions › Food & Cooking › Does the smell of wine and vinegar make anyone else sick?