small amount of alcohol in food

General discussion of issues related to Theravada Training of Sila, the Five Precepts (Pañcasikkhāpada), and Eightfold Ethical Conduct (Aṭṭhasīla).

small amount of alcohol in food

Postby Stephen K » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:08 pm

Does eating food that contains a small amount of alcohol (in this case beer) break the 5th precept?
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby Jhana4 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:31 pm

I don't think an authoritative answer exists ( a canonical source spelling out in detail what breaks the 5th precept under which circumstances ). You are only going to get personal opinions, which likely will be self serving for the giver of that opinion.

My personal opinion is that I don't drink and that I personally wouldn't let an occasional dish prepared with small amounts of alcohol bother me.
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby santa100 » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:42 pm

A few factors to consider: does it cause "heedlessness" after eating? is the kind food prepared for you on a fairly frequent and regular basis?
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby Stephen K » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:46 pm

santa100 wrote:A few factors to consider: does it cause "heedlessness" after eating?

I don't know. I am not aware of having eaten food with alochol before, so I don't know whether it causes heedlessness or not.

santa100 wrote:is the kind food prepared for you on a fairly frequent and regular basis?

No, this is just the first time.
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby Stephen K » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:47 pm

Jhana4 wrote:I don't think an authoritative answer exists ( a canonical source spelling out in detail what breaks the 5th precept under which circumstances ). You are only going to get personal opinions, which likely will be self serving for the giver of that opinion.

My personal opinion is that I don't drink and that I personally wouldn't let an occasional dish prepared with small amounts of alcohol bother me.

Thanks for your opinion jhana 4!
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby 2600htz » Fri Dec 23, 2011 2:53 pm

Maybe it depends on your personality.

Some people feel good being that strict, their confidence goes up, their practice to. Some people feel they are being choked by the precepts, feeling they are being to hard with themselves, their confidence goes down, their practice to.

Anyways u could do research if the alcohol in that special food gets into your system or evaporates, or something else that gives u confidence in your decision, otherwise guilt will arise and that is always bad.

With metta.
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby bodom » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:04 pm

Stefan

Enjoy your meal and dont make a big deal about. :smile:

:anjali:
The heart of the path is SO simple. No need for long explanations. Give up clinging to love and hate, just rest with things as they are. That is all I do in my own practice. Do not try to become anything. Do not make yourself into anything. Do not be a meditator. Do not become enlightened. When you sit, let it be. When you walk, let it be. Grasp at nothing. Resist nothing. Of course, there are dozens of meditation techniques to develop samadhi and many kinds of vipassana. But it all comes back to this - just let it all be. Step over here where it is cool, out of the battle. - Ajahn Chah
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby Stephen K » Fri Dec 23, 2011 3:05 pm

In the end, I decided not to eat it. Thanks everyone for your input!
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby cooran » Fri Dec 23, 2011 7:50 pm

Hello Stefan,

We are often told that alcohol evaporates away in cooking. It seems that this is not the case.

Does alcohol really burn away in cooking?
http://www.ochef.com/165.htm

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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby Khalil Bodhi » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:11 pm

Chris,

Thanks for the excellent article. I am continuously in awe of your ability to find great sources whether they be from the Tipitaka or Cosmo. Happy holidays! :heart:
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby cooran » Fri Dec 23, 2011 8:28 pm

Thanks KB! Happy Holidays to you, all! :group:

with metta
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:48 am

cooran wrote:Hello Stefan,

We are often told that alcohol evaporates away in cooking. It seems that this is not the case.

Does alcohol really burn away in cooking?
http://www.ochef.com/165.htm

with metta
Chris

Excellent reference, Chris - thanks.
Another thing to consider is the total quantity of alcohol typically added to a dish, divided by the number of people consuming it.
For instance, I would normally add about 1/2 glass of wine to a stew, or 1/4 to 1/3 glass to a sauce, of a whole glass of beer to a stew, any of which will serve 4 - 6 people.
In baking, 1/4 cup spirits to a boiled fruit cake mixture or poured over the freshly-baked Christmas cake, for a similar number of people over several days.
Desserts might be the most alcoholic food group - trifles in particular, because none of it is lost in cooking or flaming.
But in all the other cases, each person is going to end up with only a tiny sip of the beer, wine or spirits. Heedlessness is therefore not going to be a problem.

Enjoy your meals - within reason :smile: - without guilt.

:namaste:
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby Ben » Sat Dec 24, 2011 12:55 am

Kim O'Hara wrote:Enjoy your meals - within reason :smile: - without guilt.


But...but....it tastes so much better with guilt!
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby Ytrog » Sat Dec 24, 2011 2:53 am

What you ingest through cooked food would probably be in the same order of magnitude as what your body produces by itself, so I wouldn't worry too much. I once spilled pure methanol (an alcohol, though not for consumption) over my hand and it evaporated so fast that it was gone in 10-20 seconds and left my hand quite cold. That was in the time I still studied chemistry.
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby Ben » Sat Dec 24, 2011 3:04 am

When I cook and I might include a little wine in something that gets simmered - and simmered for a while.
Having said that I do recall an incident over 20 years ago when I had some tira misu at a restaurant. It didn't occur to me that the dish contained brandy and I was a bit surprised that I got drunk by eating one serving. I was a bit more careful after that.
kind regards,

Ben
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Re: small amount of alcohol in food

Postby Kim OHara » Sat Dec 24, 2011 5:46 am

Ben wrote:When I cook and I might include a little wine in something that gets simmered - and simmered for a while.
Having said that I do recall an incident over 20 years ago when I had some tira misu at a restaurant. It didn't occur to me that the dish contained brandy and I was a bit surprised that I got drunk by eating one serving. I was a bit more careful after that.
kind regards,

Ben

Yep - same problem as with trifle: quite a lot of alcohol and none of it removed by heating.
A bloke I met once, years ago, told me he got booked for drink-driving after a very sedate Sunday lunch which included no alcoholic drinks but finished with a trifle made by his mother-in-law-to-be.

:D
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