Letter to the Editor

Letter to the Editor

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Dear Editor:

Often under the guise of a "health food" or as an ingredient in many recipes, the promotion of alcoholic spirits is sadly overtaking our culture, as it insidiously lures individuals deeper and deeper into addiction. Promoted as a sign of "gourmet" or "fine cooking," many cookbooks, TV chefs and cooking magazines promote the use of alcohol in the preparation of food.

Whether through lack of knowledge or misinformation, many of these cooking "professionals" believe that alcohol, when subjected to the heat of cooking, somehow "boils away" leaving only the flavor.

This is a myth! According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture--Nutrient Data Laboratory, it takes about three hours to eliminate almost all traces of alcohol. In some recipes, as much as 85 percent of alcohol is retained.

Recipes calling for use of spirits present a clear and present danger. The potentially serious problems associated with cooking with alcohol are fully realized when one considers the categories of people for whom even a minute amount of alcohol is detrimental and even dangerous. Examples include persons with weakened or diseased livers, expectant mothers and recovering alcoholics.

Many people may not be aware that alcohol use can increase their cancer risk. The website of the American Cancer Society lists several types of cancer linked to alcohol use, including cancers of the mouth, throat, voice box, esophagus, liver, breast, colon and rectum. Alcohol is a drug that kills cells.

Please spread the word about the harmful effects of alcohol during April's Alcohol Awareness Month.

Loreta Jent, public relations director,

Woman's Christian Temperance Union,

Bloomington, Ill.