Holiday Fare: Do You Have A Sobriety Friendly Cookbook?

Holiday cooking, holiday shopping…

Are you the holiday chef in your family? If so, then right about now you are finalizing your Thanksgiving menu, re-checking your last-minute shopping list and starting to plan those dishes that you can prepare 24 hours in advance. Let’s face it, being a guest at someone’s holiday table is easier than being the host/hostess/cook. It just is!

Think about your favorite holiday recipes…are all of these sobriety friendly? Or does your salad dressing have a touch of red wine, do your rum balls really include rum, or maybe your veal piccata includes your favorite white wine.

Would you know how to prepare your favorite traditional recipes if you needed to create an entire holiday menu for someone in recovery?

Really old cookbooks!

Let’s dust off our cookbooks…

Any really good cookbook will have a section called “emergency substitutions.” For example, if you have a recipe that calls for buttermilk, then you can substitute it with one tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar added to one cup of whole milk. 

This week we were trying to find a cookbook that offered really good recipes for those in recovery…and we are happy to report we found one (actually more than one)!

Meet Chef Liz Scott…

In August 2003, Chef Liz Scott saw a need and wrote a cookbook, The Sober Kitchen: Recipes and Advice for a Lifetime of Sobriety. In reviewing this book Mark Knoblauch offered:

“Mere avoidance of cocktails, wine, beer, and liquor may not be enough to keep a recovering alcoholic sober. Alcohol can show up in larger-than-expected concentrations in any dish prepared with wine. Even long-simmered dishes such as Beef Burgundy may retain a small portion of alcohol, enough to set off physical responses in those intolerant. Moreover, certain flavors and textures may need to be avoided because they may set off irresistible cravings. Chef Liz Scott’s The Sober Kitchen provides a wealth of basic information and dozens of outstanding recipes to benefit both people in recovery and those who take care of them.”

In case you’re wondering, Chef Scott’s The Sober Kitchen is available in a Kindle version and a NOOK Book version. And for more fun and great holiday gift ideas it turns out that Chef Scott has a number of other cookbooks that she has written both solo and collaborating with physicians. You can see the complete list here.

To give you an example of how Chef Scott converts a recipe, here is a link to her mock chicken marsala recipe.  You will see how interesting these recipe conversions can be.

Cottonwood Tucson’s Cuisine


Chef Richard Serna

Great cooking, using fresh seasonal ingredients, is at the heart of the culinary experience at Cottonwood. Each morning, our Executive Chef Richard Serna personally selects fresh seafood and meats, organically grown produce, and exotic rice, grains and legumes with which to prepare the day’s offerings. Through an exactingly prepared menu that is both refined and memorable, patients are introduced to new foods and healthy cooking and plating techniques each time they dine in our café. Cottonwood chefs willingly work with any patients who come to us with special nutritional needs, cultural or religious dietary concerns or personal taste preferences.

At Cottonwood, patients have the opportunity to practice what they learn about value of good nutrition in recovery. Each meal demonstrates how the creative use of balanced nutrition can result in delicious and satisfying meals that support recovery by incorporating vitamins and amino acids that help to stabilize mood while reducing cravings for destructive substances or disordered behavior.

Additionally, Cottonwood Tucson also publishes a newsletter: The Cottonwood Connection. Each newsletter contains an article about nutrition in recovery and a fun new recipe.

Wishing you a Happy and Healthy Thanksgiving 

Thursday will be here soon. We hope your holiday is peaceful and that you can be where you need to be. Remember to take time to rest, get some fresh air…and maybe read a great cookbook!

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