by Dr. Joe LaVilla
When the topic of food and wine arises, the usual flow of conversation revolves around what wine to drink with dinner. The topic that almost never arises: what wine to put in dinner. The use of wine as an ingredient is usually controlled by only a couple factors: white or red and what's open in the fridge. But there is more to cooking with wine than using up last night's leftovers. Wine is a complex beverage and it's use in cooking has many implications. Where does the flavor come from and how will it affect my recipe? What about the alcohol? Just how do I incorporate wine into my cooking repetoire?
Well, here is a layman's primer on the chemistry of wine and food. This should be able to provide some basic answers to questions regarding wine and food. What components of wine add flavor, what happens to the alcohol and what sulfites have to do with anything. Also, how to choose a wine to cook with (besides just using up that bottle in the back of the fridge), how to cook with it and what you can expect for results. Finally, a little discussion on the implications of using wine in food—for our children, our religion and our general health.
About the author:
Joe LaVilla originally hails from Rochester, in Western New York State. While obtaining his Ph.D. in organic chemistry from the University of Rochester, he decided to pursue his culinary calling. A graduate of the Culinary Institute of America, Joe has worked in Manhattan, Washington, D.C. and at Spago in Las Vegas before settling in Phoenix.
This page originally published as part of the electronic Gourmet Guide between 1994 and 1998.
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Modified August 2007
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