Episode 191: Alcohol 101 for Mormons

49 comments on “Episode 191: Alcohol 101 for Mormons”

  1. Megan von Ackermann Reply

    John – don’t throw out your Vermouth! Buy a bottle of dry, keep it in the fridge, and use it in soups and sauces. Adds some really nice depth and complexity. Just make sure to put it in early and reduce it for a bit to take the raw flavour down.

    Maybe there should be a Cooking With Alcohol 101 in the future…

    I so agree with what you guys were saying about America’s stupid approach to alcohol and children. When my kids got to be about 10 or so they were allowed to have a small liquor glass of wine now and then with dinner (half full – they had maybe two sips total). It introduced alcohol and the idea of it as something that was social, that enhanced food, and that was totally normal. They were also taught the 1-1-1 rule: 1 drink, 1 FULL glass of water in no less than 1 hour. 

    • Michael Johnson Reply

      As a cooking with alcohol topic, may I suggest tiramisu as a recipe that contains alcohol and coffee and is yummy! 

  2. Rdr. M. Fillmore Reply

    As a recovering alcholic, i’d like to point out that not all serious drunks stop showering. 😉

  3. Hermes Reply

    I have yet to fully embrace this part of apostasy.  I tried coffee (black with cream and no sugar), and it was good.  I tried wine, and it was disgusting.  (I cannot try beer, because it smells worse than wine tastes.)  I did like the hazelnut liqueur my wife mixed into our shakes the other night, though.

    At this point, I expect I will remain mostly a teetotaller — not because alcohol is evil, but because I am poor and prefer to spend money and time on other things.  Still, it is nice to hear from the horse’s mouth how to go about partaking responsibly. 

    • Stenar Reply

      It just depends on the wine you have. Some are an acquired taste and others are simply delicious.

        • Nathan R Kennard Reply

           Beer can be the good as well. Before I drank any, I had only smelled what was cleaned off roads after the cans/bottles were discarded. Beer becomes worse smelling when warm or exposed to air.

          • Hermes

            I was introduced to beer when I attended the University of Georgia, before my mission.  Every Monday, I would walk to school,  passing a long row of frat houses, which invariably reeked of piss and vomit (which is what comes to mind every time I smell beer, to this day).  Maybe we can make friends later, but beer and I definitely did not begin our relationship on the right foot!

    • Gunnar1961 Reply

      I’m with you on this issue, Hermes!  I don’t drink coffee either, but only because I never acquired a taste for it and therefore don’t miss it (though I enjoy the smell of freshly ground coffee beans).  I try flavored teas once in awhile, though, but don’t like tea plain (except for some herb teas).  I am favorably impressed by the documented benefits of the antioxidants found in tea. I think the case for the potential health benefits of tea is stronger than that for moderate alcohol consumption, and tea is not nearly as likely to adversely affect our judgement and ability to function or cause us to pose a danger to ourselves and others.

  4. Farmdog47 Reply

    For those of you who want to make up for lost time (now that you no longer feel compelled to live the wow} take it from a one time die hard drunk, you can live a fullfilling, productive, satisfying happy life without ever experiencing alcohol.

  5. Mark Smith Reply

    I heard that texting while driving has the same effect as consuming four drinks, I tried it but it didn’t do anything for me, just made it hard to concentrate on my driving.  

  6. PatrickDarby Reply

    Boo! Boo! For spreading urban myth!

    Headaches and hangovers have nothing to do with mixing beer or wine or liquor on the same night. The negative effects are mostly from the metabolism of conjoiners and dehydration. There is no mystical transmutation of tequila and beer in your stomach into something worse.

    • richras Reply

      I know with a surety of faith and possess a steadfast testimony that mixing certain drinks will fuck you up.

    • Paul Bradley Reply

      Absolutely true.  It’s the same chemical in each.  Only the concentration differs.

      • richras Reply

        There is more than alcohol in cocktails. Sugary drinks, for example, give me a wicked headache when the alcohol effect begins to diminish. You are right, it’s the same  ethanol alcohol that gets you drunk, but there IS plenty of other ingredients that can effect you too. Just my .02$

  7. Brian Johnston Reply

    Yes.  I was yelling at my iPod about Irish Whiskey.  Why couldn’t you guys hear me? 🙂

    List of three good, middle-shelf Irish Whiskies:
    1.  Jameson (my favorite)
    2.  Tillimore Dew (fond memories)
    3.  Bushmills

    I think they are interesting to at least sample.  To me, they are like Scotch without the peat.  They can be very smooth and complex, with more of the flavor of the wood casks, also much less of the charring like in American Bourbon (lighter in color too).  Subtle in a good way, like someone who speaks softly but still has something poetic to say.

    • espinelves Reply

       Good for you! I was doing the same!  I prefer Scotch, but here in Spain I enjoy all those Irish tipples you listed!

      Think the ME team need to escape from little Utah and come on their next cruise to Europe for the wine, huge selection of quality beers and the freedom of being able to enjoy without the guilt.

      Thanks for standing up for Ireland!

      Phil, expat Brit ex mormo

  8. Chad Morrow Reply

    I am of course offended that you all represented such reasonable, moderate advice about how much and when to drink and for what reasons. Why wasn’t there a representative for over-consumption on the panel! 

    Bacardi 151 and Everclear were my liquors of choice for about a year. I could shoot the bacardi straight but only managed to do that with the Everclear two or three times. This is of course without any vomiting or sickness involved. 

    Also, John if you find yourself throwing out alcohol I could just as easily take it off your hands for you for proper disposal. 😉

  9. not for the belly Reply

    The LDS stance against alcohol — as hypocritical as it appears in the light of actual history — is one of the few things I can still stomach about the whole mess.

    Alcohol is poison. Look it up. I go to such ridiculous lengths to avoid toxins and other shit in my food; why would I intentionally drink poison? :/

    Anyway, just thought I’d throw an alternate view out there. Keep on rocking in the free world. Seriously, Mormon Expression has been my secret fuel for several years now. Thank you.

    • Richard of Norway Reply

      Alcohol is poison. Look it up.


      Wine? Beer? Poison??? Thanks for pointing this out. Too bad taking your advice and “look[ing] it up” completely invalidates your point, but oh well.

      • Hermes Reply

        Everything we ingest carries both positive and negative consequences.  Alcohol is no different, and the negatives it brings are larger than those offered by some other things that are common.

        So all food is poison (some of it more so).  Pick your poison carefully!

        • Richard of Norway Reply

          Good post.

          I’d love to hear somebody break down the negatives derived from wine versus other things that are common.
          We are talking drinking in moderation here, not a bottle or two at a time!

          • Paul Bradley

            I teach the class people have to take when they get a DUI in Utah.  Research shows that alcohol has purely beneficial long term effects on health as long as people (who don’t have a genetic predisposition for problems) have no more than one drink an hour, two on a regular day, three on a special day and no more than fourteen a week.  As long as people follow this they actually live longer than the people who don’t drink and the people who drink more than this amount.

            And an additional FYI for this great podcast.  For alcoholism, it doesn’t actually matter what your state of mind is.  It all depends on quantity and frequency of drinking.  And as for mental health problems and alcoholism, the vast majority of people who have both problems developed the alcoholism first and the mental health issues actually develop as a effect of the alcoholism.

          • Gunnar1961

            I agree, Richard.  I have no problem with people who drink in moderation, as you said, but as for me, I prefer to avoid alcoholic beverages altogether–largely because I don’t like the way they taste.  I am so glad I don’t like alcoholic beverages because if I liked them, I would drink them, and I can’t stand them! 🙂

            ps: or afford them!

        • Gunnar1961 Reply

          Good points.  As they say, the dose makes the poison.  It is my understanding that (as you said) almost anything we eat contains toxins, thanks to the constant evolutionary competition between all organisms and those that want to eat them.  Eating a wide variety of different foods is important not only to ensure that we get balanced and complete nutrition, but to minimize the probability that we will accumulate enough of any one toxin to do us harm.

          It is also my understanding that, though vitamins are absoulutely essential to health in small quantities, there is such a thing as vitamin poisoning. With some vitamins, the amount of them that can be dangerous and even life threatening is less than the maximum safe dosage of some substances that are actually classed as poisons. The reason it took so long for scientists to discover vitamins and their importance is that the required quantity of them is so small.

    • Megan Reply

      Know what else is poisonous? Almonds. They have cyanide in them and have to be treated to get rid of it. The worst are bitter almonds but I think the whole family has a bit. Of course, the almond is related to the apricot and guess what’s in apricot pips? Yup, cyanide. Which reminds me, watch out for cherries which are also related – don’t chew on the seed in the centre. Apples too, although (and here’s the point) you’d have down an awful lot of apple pips before you killed yourself.

      Plants have toxins – it’s part of their complex chemical makeup that allows them to compete against each other and protect themselves from predators. But we still eat them – even the ones with poison parts to them – pretty much every day.

      Oh, and careful about that nutmeg you’re putting in your cooking – it’s an hallucinagenic…

      • Hermes Reply

        QED.  I don’t know why I even bother posting, when Megan always comes in and says what I meant better than I did.

      • Jenkins Reply

        I think you’re thinking of cashews that need to be specially processed to get rid of the cyanide.  I work in the almond industry and there is no fear of dying of cyanide from eating almonds.  

        However, you do make a good point that most anything we partake of has positives and negatives.  I would argue that a lot of processed foods have a lot of negatives we don’t even know about.

        • Megan von Ackermann Reply

           Really? I apologize! Serves me right for trusting a) Google and b) 1930’s British mysteries. Of course, I know you’re not going to die by eating almonds (unless maybe you’re really committed and eat nothing but almonds all day long? For months?), but I had always heard about bitter almonds and cyanide.

          Darn, another perfectly good Agatha Christie murder gone right down the tubes.

          I stand by nutmeg though!

          Hermes – you’re lovely! And right back atcha ’cause I often think of something to comment and you’ve already said it beautifully!

          • Gunnar1961

            Re: your comment:

            “Hermes – you’re lovely! And right back atcha ’cause I often think of something to comment and you’ve already said it beautifully!”

            Both you and Hermes are very good at that!

            I’m glad you were mistaken about Almonds, as they are my favorite kind of nut–plus I love marzipan with a passion!

    • Patriarchal_Gripe Reply

      As mentioned in the podcast, brewing beer has probably saved literally billions of lives that would have been foreshortened by waterborne diseases.  The Royal Navy used to issue it to sailors in the quantity of gallons per day.  Somehow they were able to defeat Napolean and keep his Navies bottled up in port for decades.  My great-grandfather died two weeks short of the Salt Lake valley after pulling a handcart 1500 miles because the water they were drinking from buffalo wallows wasn’t allowed to be brewed into tea or coffee, and they didn’t understand that it was the boiling that purified the water.  The Word of Wisdumb is what killed him.

  10. Oz Poof Reply

    A little tip from Australia, the nation that gave the world the box-o-wine.

    When drinking boxed wine at a BBQ, save the bladder from inside the box – it can be blown up and used as a pillow.

  11. jackrodwell Reply

    do you really have to explain this. i watch byu tv for devotionals and the spoken word but half the time it is kids shows

  12. Jenkins Reply

    When is the Marijuana 101 for Mormons podcast?  I volunteer to be on the panel!  Weed is a very healthy alternative to drinking alcohol.

  13. Gunnar1961 Reply

    One of the things about the LDS Church with which I have no quarrel is the advice to avoid alcoholic beverages.  I know that there is credible evidence that moderate drinking (no more than one drink or so a day) can result in small health and longevity enhancement, compared to no alcohol consumption at all (everything else being equal), but I very seriously doubt that it is the only way or even the best and most effective or safest way to acquire those benefits.  And I am not at all sure that it is the alcohol itself that confers the benefit.

    Besides that, it seems that there is a rather small difference between the amount of alcohol that confers those benefits and the amount that is unquestionably deleterious and even poisonous.  Also, as pointed out in the discussion, many, perhaps most people, don’t like their first taste of alcoholic beverages.  I, for example have had a taste each of whiskey, vodka, wine and beer and found all of them rather unpleasant.  Why, then, go to the trouble of acquiring a taste for something as expensive and as potentially damaging as alcoholic beverages?  I can see the point in acquiring a taste for foods that are unquestionably good for us and can broaden the variety of things that we enjoy, but I can’t believe that anyone will be worse off for never having acquired a taste for alcohol (unless, of course, they didn’t have ready access to safe, pathogen-free water to drink).

    I don’t condemn anyone who chooses to take an occasional drink and does it responsibly, but I am reasonably convinced that, all things considered, I am better off not taking the risk or going to the expense of indulging in it.

    • Megan von Ackermann Reply

       Hmmm… I see what you mean and understand your point, but I have great trouble with three things about the church’s stance – one, it is (once again) black and white thinking about an issue that is not that simple; two, it is demonizing something that isn’t as shatteringly evil as they make it out to be – which IMO is problematic as it distorts ethical issues; three it infantilizes members by implying they cannot be trusted to make independent decisions about their own adult behaviour.

      I cook with alcohol quite often. It really enhances the flavour of dishes and I feel it is a definite positive in my food experience. Per the church’s stance I shouldn’t be able to do this. I use beer in stews, wine in soups and sauces, vodka when making gravlax or sometimes pasta (or, rarely, pastry) and occasionally something like grand marnier in desserts. I used to do the substitute-stock-for-alcohol thing and I can absolutely state that it isn’t the same thing. The depth and richness just isn’t there. Plus, several of my favorite dishes simply CAN’T be made properly without alcohol.

      I also drink alcohol with meals now and then. I’ve never liked sweet drinks (wasn’t raised on soda or juice) so I don’t really enjoy mixed things but I’ve found that a glass of dry wine with a really good meal adds to the experience. I like GOOD wine and really don ‘t enjoy the cheaper stuff (sadly) so I don’t have it that often. I buy a very nice bottle maybe once or twice a month and share it with friends. I also like scotch, but almost never have it because a) I don’t think of it and b) again, I buy the really good stuff so it’s an indulgence.

      I find that what I drink and the way I drink does enhance my life. It may or may not help my health – I don’t look at it as a medicinal type thing. Same with food. I eat foods, sometimes, that will definitely shorten my life if I were to eat them all the time or to excess – steak, cheese, butter etc, but I also eat loads of fish, chicken, veg etc. I love food, but I like it for the flavour and the process of making it so I don’t eat constantly or enormously. Same with alcohol.

      • Gunnar1961 Reply

        Thank you for your comments, Megan.  I see and understand your point too.  I particularly agree wholeheartedly with your first paragraph!

        I have had dishes in restaurants that were cooked with alcohol and loved them, so I see your point on that too.  It can indeed enhance the flavor of certain dishes!.  However (unlike you, perhaps), I also enjoy juices with a touch of sweetness to them (that is, not “enhanced” by added sugar.  Some of those are almost sickeningly sweet to my taste!).  I also enjoy a soda now and then.

        In general, I share your food preferences.  I like a good steak now and then and almost anything made with cheese and butter, but I don’t think I over-indulge in them.  They are an occasionaly treat, and I don’t think this is necessarily harmful.  My greatest love foodwise, though, is fish (especially salmon).  Fortunately for me, healthwise, I also love a great variety of fresh vegetables and fruits (except for okra).

        As for “good” wine, the one time I tasted wine was in a restaurant with friends and out of curiousity I took a sip of wine offered by our waiter to our group who was trying to decide on a choice of wine to order with the meal.  The wine I tasted was supposedly an excellent (and expensive) vintage, enthusiastically chosen by the rest of the group after tasting it.  I did not like it at all!  I would just as soon have chosen to drink straight vinegar!  So, even “good” wines are apparently an acquired taste.  I acknowledge, though, that it may be a bit unfair to let that one taste prejudice me against all wines.

        • Megan von Ackermann Reply

           Ohhhhh fish. I lived in Alaska for three years so I can go on for HOURS about salmon and how to cook it. I even listened to, and was interested in, a heated (no pun intended) discussion about smoking salmon in which electric vs non, brine vs marinade, hickory vs oak etc were all hashed out. There was no winner but I totally volunteered to be an unbiased taste-tester! If you’re a salmon enthusiast and aren’t bothered by food that isn’t heat-cooked I highly recommend gravlax!

          Wine probably is an acquired taste these days, particularly in America. In France and Italy and, somewhat less universally, in Germany, children are allowed to drink wine along with their parents – in small amounts, naturally, so they know the flavour from an early age. As I said above, that’s what I did with my own kids. But I think if you’re not used to the astringency then it doesn’t really matter whether a wine is ‘good’ or not, you’re still going to find it odd, or as you did, off-putting.

          Honestly, if you don’t like it and don’t see  need for it I think you’re spot-on in not bothering with it. It’s not a necessity in life, just one of many ways to enrich life!

          • Gunnar1961

            Thanks again for your comments.  I have no problem with what you said about wine and your preferences.  I think we both agree that wine is an acquired taste, and there is certainly no harm in failing to acquire a taste for it.  Since I have not, I can’t miss it, and having gone this long without it, I might just as well continue to do without and save myself the expense of acquiring a taste for it.  With my limited retirement income, it would be particularly bad for me to acquire a taste for it if it turned into an outright craving for it.

            I am Norwegian by birth and if anyone knows how to prepare fish, it is Norwegians!  My dear Norwegian mother knew some wonderful recipes for fish, which my even dearer wife made it a point to learn from her.  Yum!  To this day, the best Cod I ever tasted was prepared for me by my paternal grandmother when I had a chance to go back to Stavanger and stay with her for a week back in the early 60’s.  The cod she cooked for me was still alive and swimming in a tank at the local fish market only an hour or so before she cooked it.  Talk about fresh!  My mouth still waters just thinking about it!

    • Kyle Harris Reply

      “Why, then, go to the trouble of acquiring a taste for something as expensive and as potentially damaging as alcoholic beverages?”
      I used to say the same thing, almost word for word. I have since acquired the taste (at least for some types of drinks) and don’t regret it for a second.
      One of the main things I use alcohol for is a “social lubricant”. I am naturally fairly shy, but I do enjoy social events from time to time. I find that with a few drinks in my body I tend to become much less self conscious and much more willing to engage socially with friends. This has actually turned me into someone who had very few friends outside of uimmediate family to someone who at least has a group of a half dozen or so good friends that I enjoy socializing with. The cool thin is when it comes to those good friends, the alcohol is no longer needed for me to feel comfortable around them. I am still mostly an introvert but alchohol has actually helped me have the social life that I used to be too shy to have.

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