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Tobacco


FaustianBargain
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Perhaps not illegal, but very unwise!

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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I've always wondered what would happen if I added a hearty pinch of pipe tobacco to the hickory chunks while smoking a shoulder... I will have to try sometime and report back.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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Anthony Bourdain wrote in "A Cook's Tour" about a tobacco-infused custard prepared for him by Thomas Keller at the French Laundry; so it's certainly possible.

I doubt 'more than a pinch' qould be fatal - snuff takers regularly take several pinches over the course of a day and the mucous membranes in the nose are very permeable (hence the main route for cocaine uptake). I've no doubt there's an LD50 for ingested tobacco (certainly for nicotine), and I shall try to find it.

Allan Brown

"If you're a chef on a salary, there's usually a very good reason. Never, ever, work out your hourly rate."

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In "the art of the tart" there is a recipe for a fig tart with a tobacco infused syrup, sounds pretty good.

Spam in my pantry at home.

Think of expiration, better read the label now.

Spam breakfast, dinner or lunch.

Think about how it's been pre-cooked, wonder if I'll just eat it cold.

wierd al ~ spam

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Nectar, one of our dearly departed brilliant restaurants had the world's best creme brulee--creamy and crunchy and a serious kick to the thing.

chipotle, I guessed, wrongly.

Tobacco.

they somehow infused the liquid with tobacco (some sort of a tincture, I guess) and then used that for the dessert, if memory serves.

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Recipes? How will its addition taste?

Someone told me once that more than a pinch of tobacco ingested can be fatal. Will it be legal to cook and serve dishes with tobacco in the ingredient list?

Nicotine is indeed a fairly potent poison. In fact, it is a natural pesticide There are cases in the literature of fatal nicotine poisoning associated with large exposures from nicotine spraying (nicotine is used as a pesticide too). But I have not read of a case of fatal nicotine poisoning from tobacco ingestion. Ive read that a dose of nicotine 50-60mg can be fatal, which is the equivalent of nicotine is about 25-60 cigarettes. Actually, the tobacco in a single cigarette may contain 25mg of nicotine. However, when cigarettes are smoked, most of the nicotine is lost to pyrolysis or sidestream smoke, so that the actual dose from a cigarette is closer to 1-2mg. At any rate, a very small dose of nicotine definitely can make you nauseous.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I've done a fair amount of beer brewing with lots of flavor experiments. In one batch, at the end of the brew, I added half a Cohiba cuban cigar. It infused for about 5 minutes and did add a tobacco flavor. Very manly beer! No one got sick or had any ill effects, but I also don't think anyone drank more than a couple pints at a time.

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I want to add one more caution. While the amount of nicotine in a single serving of a dish, dessert or drink might be well below the toxic level, anyone handling it as an ingredient is also at risk because it is readily absorbed through the skin. Years ago we used to use it extensively as a garden pesticide and one of the gardeners who worked for me in the early 80s became very ill after spraying the stuff and getting his shoes soaked with it although he was wearing rubber gloves and a mask.

He became disoriented, had hallucinations, was wandering out in the street when we found him, and had to be hospitalized for several days to detox. The ER doctor said he might have died if not for prompt attention. It is not something to play around with unless you know exactly what you are doing.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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Wasnt there a famous tobacco chocolate truffle recently, I think by Arzak?

I doubt that it would be dangerous in any reasonable dose...

As I mentioned, the danger would not be to the consumer, who would hopefully have enough sense not to gobble up 30 or 40 chocolates at one sitting.....

However the person handling the ingredient needs to be warned to wear gloves with good integrity so as to not be exposed to the material for long periods or repeatedly in a short period of time because it is absorbed through the skin.

I grew up on a farm where tobacco was grown and like all the kids, got to help with hanging the bundles in the drying sheds.

From personal experience I can attest to the fact that after getting the sap on hands and arms one could taste it for many hours afterward and that was not the refined and concentrated product.

(They stopped growing tobacco on the farm in 1967.)

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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andiesenji: how about using tobacco to 'smoke'/cure meat? like hickory wood etc?

how does one 'infuse' tobacco? control over safe limits etc?

Wasnt there a famous tobacco chocolate truffle recently, I think by Arzak?

I doubt that it would be dangerous in any reasonable dose...

As I mentioned, the danger would not be to the consumer, who would hopefully have enough sense not to gobble up 30 or 40 chocolates at one sitting.....

However the person handling the ingredient needs to be warned to wear gloves with good integrity so as to not be exposed to the material for long periods or repeatedly in a short period of time because it is absorbed through the skin.

I grew up on a farm where tobacco was grown and like all the kids, got to help with hanging the bundles in the drying sheds.

From personal experience I can attest to the fact that after getting the sap on hands and arms one could taste it for many hours afterward and that was not the refined and concentrated product.

(They stopped growing tobacco on the farm in 1967.)

Edited by FaustianBargain (log)
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People can and do cook with tobacco, typically using it sparingly as an herb. Shortly after the NYC ban on smoking in public places went into effect, I heard a piece on NPR about a Manhattan restaurant using tobacco in its food as a reaction to the change. I was unable to find a link on their site but found this mention of it in a student journalism article from Northeastern University's web site.

from "Smokers Beware" by Amanda Murphy

One Manhattan chef, Sandro Fioriti, who works at Serafina Sandro Bistro, has resorted to cooking with tobacco. A favorite dish of customers is gnocchi filled with Empire English special blend tobacco.

"A lot of people are frustrated with the idea that Mr. Bloomberg is ruining their nights out," said Mr Fioriti in an interview with Coman. "This was a way to allow them to express that frustration and it's proved so popular we're going to keep it on. And tobacco dishes leave a very interesting aftertaste. It gives the food a kick."

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Just a thought...

Coffee and cigarettes seem to be quite the pair. Perhaps a tobacco infused foamy latte?

I wonder if you could just put some pipe tobacco into your coffee filter with the grinds... if enough would infuse that way, might be worth a try.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I am sorry, but to even THINK of cooking with soemthing proven to have so many harmfull chemicals in it, is just lunacy.

Please, do NOT use tobacco in any cooking, it cant be good for you, and there are SO many other ways to attain a similar flavour.

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Commercially produced cigarettes have all kinds of horrible chemicals. Plain old natural tobacco, even if it were freshly grown by organic methods, will still harm your health if ingested regularly, especially if by smoking. I accept that and will mourn when a dear friend dies of emphysema (which she will - she's already been diagnosed).

Recognizing and accepting that.... I wonder if there are specific natural chemicals (apart from nicotine with its addictive qualities) in tobacco that would be cause for alarm in regards to it being used in the culinary ways mentioned in this thread?

Please note that I'm not interested in OT discussion about the evils or lack thereof related to tobacco and cigarettes. I am simply curious as to whether the leaves themselves can safely be used for culinary purposes. An attempt to Google for the info brought up much info about tobacco but nothing in this vein.

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a good double blanching in abundant boiling salted water should remove much of the potential for fatality. it also tames the flavor and makes it much more accessible. once double blanched a short cold infusion will be very effective.

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Commercially produced cigarettes have all kinds of horrible chemicals. Plain old natural tobacco, even if it were freshly grown by organic methods, will still harm your health if ingested regularly, especially if by smoking. I accept that and will mourn when a dear friend dies of emphysema (which she will - she's already been diagnosed).

Recognizing and accepting that....  I wonder if there are specific natural chemicals (apart from nicotine with its addictive qualities) in tobacco that would be cause for alarm in regards to it being used in the culinary ways mentioned in this thread?

Please note that I'm not interested in OT discussion about the evils or lack thereof related to tobacco and cigarettes. I am simply curious as to whether the leaves themselves can safely be used for culinary purposes. An attempt to Google for the info brought up much info about tobacco but nothing in this vein.

Having studied the pathogenesis of tobacco-related illness quite a bit, I can give a partial answer to this question. My short answer is that aside from nicotine, there does not appear to be any property of tobacco that would make it undesirable for culinary use.

Now, the long answer. First, let me point out that the primary health risk associated with tobacco use are cardiovascular disease (primarily CHD), cancer (primarily lung but also other respiratory sites --oral, pharyngeal, laryngeal, etc.), and obstructive respiratory diseases like emphysema. Again, those are the big 3 sources of tobacco-associated illness and mortality. Culinary use of tobacco would not be expected to increase risk of these diseases. Let me explain why.

Cancer. most of the significant carcinogens in tobacco smoke are not naturally present in tobacco, but rather are formed by pyrosynthesis, are secondary combustion products created when tobacco is burned. For instance, the two classes of compounds in tobacco smoke with the highest carcinogenic potency are the polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs) like benzo-a-pyrene, and the tobacco-specific nitrosamines (TSNAs), primarily a chemical called NNK. Based on extensive evidence that I can not elaborate on in this space (but will if asked), it is clear that these two classes of compounds are the primary carcinogens in tobacco smoke. Normal, unburned tobacco has very little TSNSAs. An array of epidemiological studies have shown that persons who use smokeless tobacco has no increased risk of any cancers except oral cancers, and even with respect to oral cancer, the risk is far smaller than that associated with smoking. Moreover, persons who use a special kind of smokeless tobacco called snus, which has almost no TSNAs, there is not even an increased risk of oral cancer.

As for obstructive respiratory diseases, this is caused by chronic inhalation of smoke, and this would not be a concern for culinary tobacco use.

The last issue would be heart disease. Again, persons who use smokeless tobacco do not have anything like the levels of excess cardiovascular disease seen in smokers. There is still some debate as to whether there is any excess heart disease in smokeless users, but it is clear that if any excess disease exists, it is very small. Considering the small dosages of all tobacco alkaloids that would be achieved from occasional culinary use of tobacco, it seems a priori unlikely that it would be a risk for heart disease.

As far as acute poisoning goes, I am not aware of any compound other than nictotine in tobacco leaves that is a cause for concern.

"If you hear a voice within you say 'you cannot paint,' then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced" - Vincent Van Gogh
 

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I am sorry, but to even THINK of cooking with soemthing proven to have so many harmfull chemicals in it, is just lunacy.

Please, do NOT use tobacco in any cooking, it cant be good for you, and there are SO many other ways to attain a similar flavour.

Lots of things can be bad for you in food. Fat, carbs, salt, alcohol, all have potential to cause health risks of over-consumed, but that doesn't make them any less delicious.

It comes down to personal choices. If eating lots of fat, salt, breads, drinking to excess, or getting a nicotine fix makes you happy, and you are willing to live with the consequences, why not do it? If you prefer to live purely on the up and up and reap a long and healthy life out of it, then why not do that?

No one in this country can possibly not know that tobacco can be bad for you these days. So, if a dish is prepared using it, and it is announced on the menu that the dish contains tobacco, only those willing to take the risk will partake. Personally I find the prospects intriguing, and will probably try to smoke my next pork butt with some pipe tobacco as well as hickory, if for no other reason that to see how it tastes and figure out what exactly will happen. Hey, I might find a way to make BBQ even more addictive, if that is possible ;).

You do have a point about the other chemicals in cigarettes though, the stuff added for who knows what reasons... I can't imagine those would taste very good in a culinary application, so, if cooking with tobacco it would probably make sense to buy the pure stuff as opposed to just cutting open a pack of cigaretted and emptying the contents into the stew pot.

He don't mix meat and dairy,

He don't eat humble pie,

So sing a miserere

And hang the bastard high!

- Richard Wilbur and John LaTouche from Candide

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I asked the internist/toxocologist in the office today about it

He said that instead of making infusions from tobacco that is intended for smoking, as in pipe tobacco, the safest route to take would be to use chewing tobacco or snuff in cooking.

However he did say that the amounts to be directly ingested should be quite small and people should be cautioned that if they experience any dizziness or shortness of breath or tingling in the extremities, they should avoid it in the future.

He said in some individuals even minute amounts of nicotine can cause constriction of the capillaries in the fingers and toes and it doesn't matter how it is ingested, smoked or swallowed, it will have the same effect.

He mentioned the increased incidence of oral cancer and other lesions in people who use chewing tobacco and snuff. You might recall that Brett Saberhagen, a Valley boy, gave a talk about the dangers of using "smokeless" tobacco after he developed oral lesions.

"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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