Discussions of Mormons and Mormon life, Book of Mormon issues and evidences, and other Latter-day Saint (LDS) topics.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

Time for "Mo-Sure" Food Markings?

Everyone knows about kosher food and many food companies show respect for the dietary constraints of Judaism by putting kosher food symbols like a circle with a U or K inside on their kosher products. Since the world population of Jews is about the same as the world population of Latter-day Saints, maybe someday we'll get my proposed LDS equivalent of kosher markings: "Mo-sure" markings (as in Mormons can be sure it's OK).

I thought of this last night while enjoying dinner at our local Fratello's restaurant on the Fox River in Appleton. My wife ordered butternut squash ravioli which included an apricot-brandy sauce. I recognize that the tiny amount of alcohol used in cooking such sauces is essentially cooked out (the apricot-brandy mix just had a trace of alcohol added, the waiter told me when I asked). Probably nothing to worry about, but I still have an adverse "TBM reaction" to alcohol being used in preparing my food. So I zealously scanned the menu for items free of alcohol. Ah, the gnocchi! The description was perfectly Word-of-Wisdom safe. It was even better than I expected, with a marvelous rich, fresh, tomato-based sauce that reminded me of what I had from Italian families while on my mission, the kind of sauce that takes hours to make. When the manager came by to check on our meal, I commented on how good the sauce was. "Oh, yes," he said. "It's very good. We start with our marinara sauce and add a few things to it, then cook it down a bit - that gets rid of most of the vodka." My wife tried not to laugh as I politely nodded in approval.

If only the menu had been marked to show which items were truly Mo-Sure.

Here's my suggestion for those of you who want to be on the cutting edge of food labeling to keep the growing Mormon minority happy. It's a stylized M inside a circle. Other suggestions? If I don't see this all over packaged food and restaurant menus next time I come to a heavily LDS area like Utah, California, or Chile, I'll be sorely disappointed. You don't want LDS customers worrying that someone has been adding unwanted vodka to their gnocchi now, do you?

29 comments:

Kim Siever said...

Alcohol is not cooked out. Rather. at least, not all of it. If you’re lucky, only half of it gets cooked out. You would have to cook it for hours to get all the alcohol out.

Geoff said...

Outstanding post! Randomly stumbled upon your blog, and whether you are being genuine or satirical, I want to be "Mo-Sure Approved"!

Mormanity said...

Geoff, it's getting harder for me to tell the difference anymore. But I'm happy to grant you Mo-Sure status. That and a temple recommend will get you in to any LDS temple.

Kim, I agree that not all alcohol is removed. In distilling alcohol, it's very hard to completely separate it from water and visa versa. Would be interesting to see what percent of the alcohol in brandy or wine remains after, say, 30 minutes of simmering.

Of course, there also may be some trace amounts of alcohol in lots of things we eat, including alcohol created by the yeast that we use to make bread. But I'm willing to put my Mo-Sure logo on fresh baked bread unless it's soaked in liquor or made with coffee, tea, or tobacco as a significant component.

Georgia said...

It's sad that food is being discussed as how it relates to religion. I'm not a better or worse person based on what I eat and the NT will back that up.

Mitch said...

Georgia, since when did the NT say it's ok to eat five pounds of chocolate peanuts and drink two gallons of Dr Pepper each day? Can I find that in the book of PepsiCo?

Mike S said...

I wouldn't worry too much whether ALL the alcohol is cooked out. Christ and Joseph Smith both drank wine, without even "cooking out" the alcohol.

I think the dessert you could eat in a nice restaurant like that is probably worse for you than if you even drank a whole glass of red wine, let alone what trace amount might be in your food.

Anonymous said...

Mitch,

By conflating the problem of how much we consume with the problem of what we consume, you're being unfair to Georgia.

Sharlet said...

What a marveleous idea! MO-SURE approval. Ingenious and something I would fully support!

Mitch said...

Anon, you spent twenty seconds of your life to tell me I'm unfair? I don't think I can eat my green jello. Not!

Onhech said...

"I think the dessert you could eat in a nice restaurant like that is probably worse for you than if you even drank a whole glass of red wine, let alone what trace amount might be in your food."

The topic here is not health, it is religion. Obedience in doing what you believe God declares. Studies have said that drinking a glass of wine a day is supposedly healthy, that doesn't mean I would do it. I believe God has commanded us in these days not to drink wine. He did not for Jesus Christ or Joseph Smith. But today this Word of Wisdom has now been declared a commandment.

Mitch said...

The glass of wine does not kill you; it's the drunk driver.

Zerabp said...

Thank you for your post onhech as you put it exactly how i was going to if i hadn't read yours. If you're not LDS you won't understand why this is a big deal as this is solely a LDS issue. If you're LDS and poking fun of others for wishing to be obedient than you may want to think a bit about what you're doing.

Mormanity said...

Georgia, sorry that this topic strikes you as sad. Is the sorrow from the thought that we are missing out on some great wine or rich cigars by an unnecessary code? If so, thank you for your concern. The rest of the menu is still pretty enticing and we're doing OK, IMHO.

Quite a few religions have some kind of dietary code. We may disagree, but I don't think there's a need to be sad, except, perhaps, for those religions that forbid sushi. Now that would be a tragic loss.

In the LDS version, there are physical and spiritual aspects. I would say that the spiritual aspect is partly due to simple obedience and partly, in some cases, due to the ability of some substances to restrict freedom through addiction or interfere with judgment and clearness of thought. We also believe that there can be health benefits to following the principles of the Word of Wisdom, and this has been born out in studies of LDS people. Avoiding tobacco, for example, is a very healthy thing. Some of the other dietary principles make a lot of sense also, while others are open to argument. But on the whole, I believe it's much wiser to obey the principles of the Word of Wisdom than to ignore it.

Mormanity said...

Here's some info on the amount of alcohol retained during various cooking methods: http://www.ochef.com/165.htm.

Onhech said...

" but I don't think there's a need to be sad, except, perhaps, for those religions that forbid sushi. Now that would be a tragic loss. "

That is false doctrine if ever I have heard it. I don't know if I can trust anything this guy says now.

J said...

I can't remember how the story goes exactly, but David O. McKay was eating a cake that had alcohol in it.

Some members were shocked and asked the Prophet if he was aware of the ingredients in the cake.

His reply was that the Word of Wisdom prohibits a person from drinking alcohol but there's nothing that prevents a person from eating alcohol.

If you're curious about the actual story, its told in David O. McKay and the Rise of Modern Mormonism.

President McKay has a point. There's nothing in the Word of Wisdom that forbids eating foods with alcohol in it.

Onhech said...

The WoW doesn't even specifically mention alcohol it mentions "Wine and Strong Drink" both of which, if you get as picky as the difference between eating and drinking, do not explicitly say alcohol. (especially with the further explanation of pure wine in the next vers)

Furthermore "Hot Drinks" is even more vague! Thus if we hold it up to this light we could drink coffee cold, and be forbidden to eat hot chocolate!

One thing is clear though:whatever "wine" and "strong drinks" are interpreted to be, they are not for the BELLY.
"And, again, strong drinks are not for the belly," (D&C 89:7)

This makes no indication of consumption but only of destination.

Onhech said...

Here is the reference,

2nd Paragraph
http://books.google.ca/books?id=3UBXLIkLEQwC&pg=PA23&lpg=PA23&dq=david+o+mckay+cake+alcohol&source=bl&ots=w0vjQmSnMp&sig=SB4R3Ziy0iYDDPg2EccIsIti9-c&hl=en&ei=66CUS_bNCIvkswPPk-z8Aw&sa=X&oi=book_result&ct=result&resnum=1&ved=0CAYQ6AEwAA#v=onepage&q=&f=false

Right below it is a good caffeine one too.

MarkS said...

Not familiar with TBM. True Believing Mormon?

Anonymous said...

It's surprising how much we rely on oral tradition for the interpretation of much of the Word of Wisdom. If mild drinks made from barley and other grains in verse 17 doesn't refer to beer, to what does it refer? I'm familiar with barley tea from my mission, but it's doubtful that verse 17 was referring to that.

Kim Siever said...

Mild barley drinks does refer to beer. Prophets have since then included beer as against the word of wisdom.

My understanding of strong drinks is that it refers to hard liquor.

60's Guy said...

What I'd like to see is a good guide for cooking with alcohol substitutes.

Anonymous said...

I worked in numerous Muslim countries and found that living the W of W provided me with many opportunities to tell people about the Church without proslyting. On the other hand it is easy to stretch it to extremes as I think worrying about foods cooked with wine is.

Mormanity said...

TBM here is "True Blue Mormon" - usually used as a term of derision by those who don't like us. But it can also be used as a term of derision by those who like us.

Al said...

Great bit, I about laughed out loud. Geoff and I gave you a spot on the 'This Week in Mormons' podcast and both agreed your symbol you made was the icing on the cake. keep it up!

Al

thisweekinmormons.com

claude said...

I had some gnocchi with marinara sauce last week, and I could hardly drive home!

Anonymous said...

I think that as good Mormons who wish to follow the Gospel should probably spend more effort on charity than the trace amounts of alcohol in prepared food. Our church (and our world) would be so much better off if we spent less time on getting caught up in the thick of thin things and more time trying to live Christ's example.

Anonymous said...

Sorry, I should have continued reading your blog before I commented on this post. I see a couple of entries down you have a beautiful post on the evolution of rules. I seems you were just trying to post a bit of irony here.

catholic defender said...

Good Morning All,

Its been awhile since I've been able to post. Finally can get back on. This "mo-sure" topic intriqued me. Having heard a great deal about the WOW, and watching folks try to adhere to it, I have a few thoughts.

One thing that I have wondered, is how is the LDS adherence to the WOW, any different really than the Jewish adherence to the laws of Moses. One of the things Jesus addresses, is the blindness of the Pharisees in following the law, but not living its meaning. Don't mistake what I'm saying here, but it strikes me, at times, that Mormons go to such extremes to follow the WOW, that it seems almost blind obedience. I do respect the idea of obedience to God's commandments, we are called to do that. But, Jesus' concern was that in obeying the strick letter of the law, the Jews actually forgot the bigger picture. Do any of you see the danger here with the WOW?

Consider for a moment this whole talk about cooking with alcohol. Some mormons find nothing wrong with it, others are outright appalled that someone might cook with alcohol. Some says its okay, because most of the alcohol is cooked off. The elder mentioned in any earlier posting distinquishes between drinking alcohol, and eating it. There seems to be no consistency, which appears to be the problem that Jesus was confronting the Pharisees about.

For me, the alcohol is no big deal. As a Catholic, the restriction our church places is one of things in moderation. Some alcohol isn't a problem, but too much becomes unhealthy for many reasons. I drink beer, sometimes make my own. My wife being mormon, doesn't drink at all.

What's intriquing to me about the WOW, is that from the reading of the D & C, it appears that this wasn't a commandment at all, but a strong suggestion. Somewhere along the way, it seems to become a requirement for people to follow it, even though that doesn't appear to be what JS was saying. Its just curious to me. As for a "mo-sure" label I suppose it would be helpful, but I do think the golden "M" may be taken :-)

Sincerely

Catholic Defender