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Anyone abstaining from alcohol but dealing with wine dinners and tastings?

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

This is kind of an odd question, and it's kind of hard to articulate it.  Many of us in the kitchen work hard and play harder.  For many years I busted my ass all day and partied like a rock star all night.  Last year I just finally got sick of the hangovers and drama, and I was at the point where I was pretty concerned that my drinking was going to seriously undermine my health.  My dad passed away a couple years ago, and my already copious drinking got a lot worse.  So I completely quit.  The last year has been pretty amazing!  I feel 10 years younger, I work harder and suddenly I feel like my job has an 'easy button.'  I guess I didn't know just how bad my drinking was until I quit doing it! 

 

Here's the only issue- after years of working as chef I took a step back to work as a line cook while I pursue a Bachelor's degree in business.  If it matters, after graduation I plan to go back to a full time chef job.  At any rate, the new chef where I work is awesome but doesn't have any experience cooking sous vide.  He knows I've done a lot of it, and he asked me to help him out with some stuff for an upcoming wine dinner.  I told him I'd love to work on it with him, but I did point out in a low key way that I quit drinking a year ago.

 

So my question to you folks is- has anyone here quit drinking and had to figure out how to work with wine?  Wine was my drug of choice and I have/had a pretty good palette and quite a bit of wine knowledge.  It's kind of uncomfortable to talk about it in depth but I definitely don't have any intention to actually drink any wine.  Generally the way tastings are done you have a cup to spit the wine in since being plastered isn't a good way to do tastings!

 

Going forward I can see that it's going to be kind of tough to avoid wine, but living to a ripe old age pretty much hinges on me not actually drinking the stuff the way I used to.:lol:

 

Any advice from someone who's been in my shoes?

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
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post #2 of 21

I once became allergic to the iodine in shrimp.  The problem surfaced one day at work when I was thawing 50# of shrimp in a tub of water.  My arms were in the water up to the elbow, and they shortly became red and whelped and itched like crazy, then started burning.  That's how I found out I was allergic to shrimp.

 

No one asked me to keep on thawing shrimp.

 

No one tries to get a celiac sufferer to eat gluten.

No one tries to get a friend to eat a pack of peanuts if they have the allergy.

 

It doesn't matter how often or seldom a person drinks.  What matters is what happens when they drink.  If I always or most of the time or often, drink too much, or drink for a buzz, or get in trouble, or do embarrassing things, or say things for which I'm later embarrassed, etc. etc. then my drinking days should be over.  (they are)

 

People drink for one reason and one reason only...to change the way they feel.  If there is such a thing, a "normal" occasional drinker does not even like the "buzz" we have known and loved.

 

If alcohol had only been invented this morning, it would be classified as a class III drug, only available by prescription.  Check out what a class III drug is.

 

If it were me, I'd tell a customer simply that I had been a very good SOMMELIER in the past, but have become allergic to grapes, but am still able and willing to help with selections.


Edited by Raibeaux - 10/4/13 at 10:53am
post #3 of 21
I quit drinking for a different, yet similar reason. First wine, then liquor and now even beer triggers terrible migraines in me, even after just half a glass!frown.gif
The fun of the buzz just didn't equal the pain sure to come later.
I have learned though, that just a taste does not do any damage and that tasting wine or liquor in a dish will not cause them either.
Taste a spoonful, but just that. You'll be amazed at how much more sensitive your palate is now that it's not always coated with tons of residuals.

www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

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www.foodandphoto.com

Liquored up and laquered down,
She's got the biggest hair in town!

Reply
post #4 of 21

FWIW

 

The receptors in the brain will "remember" if a person takes a swallow of any liquor, whether beer, wine whiskey, etc.  It can trigger an immediate, sometimes shockingly flashback-like reaction.  Also, the brain doesn't really care whether the substance is alcohol, drugs, even Tylanol.  Anything that is "mind-altering" will be seen similarly by the brain receptors.  The same can be true for something as seemingly innocuous as seeing a favorite glass that was always used.  Weird, but true.

 

There is a difference between an alcohol/drug abuser and an alcohol/drug addict.  Given a strong enough motive, such as a health issue or family problems, and abuser can and frequently does, just simply stop.

 

Addicts/alcoholics always can find a reason that the next time will be different..."I've got it figured out".  Always trying to cut back, change drinks, etc.  In fact a sign of problem is spending time trying to figure it out instead of doing something else.

 

Cooking with alcohol is not the same...the alcohol is cooked off.  If used sparingly as a flavoring ingredient in foods such as a roast, there may not be enough to trigger anything, unless the wine (etc.) is a recognizable part of the overall taste.

 

As an aside, there is a bell curve that demonstrates the progression of alcoholism.  It demonstrates that once the addiction line is crossed, it takes less and less of the drug to achieve the "effect".  I once knew a gentleman, a very nice guy, that died at the end of the bell curve prediction.  He and his wife were over at our house for Christmas back in the late fifties.  He kept asking his wife for his Christmas drink.  She had brought a half-pint of whiskey and a thimble.  She put one thimble-full of whiskey into a large iced-tea glass and filled it with Coke.  He was passed out drunk before the glass was empty.

 

There is a layman way of putting this.  The filter is broke. 

For what it's worth, anything stronger than Ibuprofin will trigger some type of receptor recognition.  That's not to say don't take prescription pain killers if your arm was caught in the sausage maker.  It is to say not to take them longer than absolutely necessary.

 

By the way, as far as how long it takes to "get over" ingesting a substance, heroin can be detected at the belly button after a year.  This stuff leaves your body at differing rates.  Maybe it's cleared from your liver first, then the spleen, then the pancreas, etc.  That ain't exactly right, but you get the idea.  I do know that alcohol converts to acetaldehyde in the brain.  And that's pretty darned close to embalming fluid.

 

Sorry about the long post, I couldn't find a stopping place.

post #5 of 21

You should still be able to give him advice such as emphasizing oakiness with this course,  fruitiness with that, tannin and so on. And give categories of wine that meet those characteristics.  Keep up to date with a wine guide like Robert Parker or similar so you know what product in the market is hitting those characteristics. 

Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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Palace of the Brine -- "I hear the droning in the shrine of the sea monkeys." Saltair
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post #6 of 21

Your years of knowledge and experience of wine isn't going to "go away" simply because you've lost

(in effect, since you cannot or will not) the  "sense" that produced the K&E in the first place. I see it as similar

to composing music--just because you can no longer hear what youre composing doesn't mean you can no

longer compose. I think Beethoven pretty much proved that one.

post #7 of 21

Yes I have, recovered for a long time now, you know your recipes,  Mine was hard liquor, I simply had other line cooks pour that in for me and I walked away saying just add this much and got onto another project, the smell was something I could no longer handle nor should be around.

Feel free to send me a message privately and we can talk further about it

post #8 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks, everyone.  It's a lot to think about.  I am pretty knowledgeable about wine, so I know well what generally will match a certain dish.  I was more thinking of evaluating different newer wines.  It is something I'll have to do some serious thinking about.  The smell of wine doesn't bother me in the least, nor the sight of it.  I guess I wasn't very far along the bell curve, at least on some levels.  My decision to stop was based on my intellectual ability to project myself along the inevitable arc of that curve. 

 

I don't really have 'triggers' like they talk about in the programs.  I just really, really loved being drunk.  The taste of drinks was something I tolerated to get smashed.  Until I got into wine!  That's the only thing I really loved the taste of, which is probably why it became a problem for me.

 

I could do my job fine without doing any tastings, so I guess the common sense thing would be to not do them.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #9 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Raibeaux View Post
 

 

Addicts/alcoholics always can find a reason that the next time will be different..."I've got it figured out".  Always trying to cut back, change drinks, etc.  In fact a sign of problem is spending time trying to figure it out instead of doing something else.

I do want to address this part:  Don't worry, I know that all too well!  I don't have any trouble at all not drinking.  My difficulty lies with stopping!  If I don't start I'm golden.  In my view, one drink can kill me...I just don't know if it will be the first for the fifteenth.  For me drinking is a binary choice- yes or no.  If I start I'll drink until there's nothing left or I physically can't pick up the glass any more.  I am blessed with the ability though to not pick it up in the first place.

 

No matter what I will not start drinking again because I know that if I lived to be 1,000 it wouldn't change.  Next time will never be different for me.  Abstaining is the only 'cure' for this.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #10 of 21

The only time I drink is with food, and only wine. I hate the taste of alcohol, and I get almost instantaneous ill effects upon consuming it, lightheadedness, headaches, dizziness, etc... Sorry for your struggles, I will never understand addictions...

post #11 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dobzre View Post
 

The only time I drink is with food, and only wine. I hate the taste of alcohol, and I get almost instantaneous ill effects upon consuming it, lightheadedness, headaches, dizziness, etc... Sorry for your struggles, I will never understand addictions...

Count yourself lucky, Dobzre.  It would kick ass if I could have a glass of Cabernet Sauvignon with dinner but it would lead to drinking the next couple bottles, I'm afraid!

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #12 of 21

In my personal life, I stay away from white sugar, white flour, corn syrup, simple carbs, blah, blah.I could go on, but I don't wont to bore anyone with the details of my own philosophies and choices.

 

It certainly  hasn't affected my work in the least. I still work with those items, know how to work with those items, know how those items taste, know how to pair those items with others. etc. etc. etc.

 

As to addictions, I stopped eating ice cream a couple of years ago. In all seriousness, it was hard and not easy for me to do; to leave my beloved ice cream alone, but a choice I made anyway. I can still make ice cream, create different ice creams, etc. etc. etc. Can you say gelato Modena (balsamic vinegar ice cream) with cracked black pepper and served with fresh strawberries? Last week at work, I decide to have a little plastic tasting spoon of ice cream to finish off my lunch. Before I knew it the spoon was a hotel spoon and the incident involved a mixing bowl. Draw your own conclusions, understand it or not, it doesn't really matter, except to me.  I have drawn mine. I like ice cream, but I like not eating ice cream better.:peace: 

Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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Wisdom comes with age, but sometimes age comes alone.
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post #13 of 21

Hey, Cheflayne, got a little story for you.  Fifteen years or so ago I met a man who was a recovering alcoholic.  His drink of choice was pretty much anything alcoholic and wet.  His wife was on him constantly as was his doctor.  His solution to the "hen-pecking"?  He would buy a gallon of mint chocolate-chip ice cream, which his wife didn't like, let it partially melt, then stir in vodka and refreeze.  Always did think that he was an innovative sort.

 

Another guy rigged up his windshield washer with his booze.  Then he ran the plastic tubing to the inside of his car through the firewall and hid it.  Also innovative, don't you think?

 

Another person made an incision on the inside the thigh.  Inserted a small plastic bag of IV Valium, and connected directly into a vein, gently pressing it when the need arose.  Worked fine until she bumped it one day.  BONK!!

 

There are many stories in the Naked City.  This is only a few!   <[ : ^ )

post #14 of 21
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by cheflayne View Post
 

In my personal life, I stay away from white sugar, white flour, corn syrup, simple carbs, blah, blah.I could go on, but I don't wont to bore anyone with the details of my own philosophies and choices.

 

It certainly  hasn't affected my work in the least. I still work with those items, know how to work with those items, know how those items taste, know how to pair those items with others. etc. etc. etc.

Actually that's me too.  I avoid sugar, bleached flour and other calorie-dense-but-nutrient-poor sources of empty carbs.  That's one of the main reasons I quit drinking; I was getting a bit pudgy and there's really no eating plan that allows 2500 calories from alcohol every day!

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #15 of 21

Most people that go on the Atkins Diet or one like it find out how addictive sugars can be.  I'm trying to talk myself into trying it again, as I need to lose 80 pounds and the diet works.  Two problems I had with the diet was constipation and the headaches that come from the sugar withdrawals.  I, too, am similarly addicted to ice cream, but I'm getting better.

post #16 of 21
Thread Starter 

A lot of people try to do Atkins by eating just meat and cheese.  Really though you can and should eat a lot of veggies and a little fruit, too.  The thing is to stick with stuff with a low glycemic load.  Spaghetti squash is great, so is broc, cauliflower, flax meal, chia seeds, green beans, cabbage, any lettuce, etc.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #17 of 21

Any suggestions are appreciated.  Can't do vitamin K, though.  Bummer.  Found some multi-vitamins without it last month.  INR is now pretty stable.  If you don't know what I'm talking about, good for you.

post #18 of 21
Thread Starter 

Lucky for me I don't!  Does is have to do with liver function?

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
post #19 of 21

Hi.  No, vitamin K can cause problems for people using blood thinners for heart/stroke issues, such as Coumadin (Warfarin), as can eating some leafy greens and other things.  Was having trouble getting my INR test higher until a dentist friend told me about the K thing.  It's working out pretty good now.

post #20 of 21

Greetings and Salutations.

How you doin', Phaedrus?

 

Latest Report:

I now need to lose 90 pounds.  Musta been that Christmas food whut did it.

 

I'll go on the diet "tomorrow", though.  Actually I've got to.  My cancer doctor is close to firing me as a patient.  Not kidding!  It's a body-mass index thing.

post #21 of 21
Thread Starter 

Things are going fine.  No issues to report, and working on the menu without drinking is working well.  I'm in the same boat, put on a few pounds over this exceptionally crappy winter.

"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
"Excellence is an art won by training and habituation. We do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but we rather have those because we have acted rightly. We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, then, is not an act but a habit." - Aristotle
Reply
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