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A question about a recipe: Janet's Mexican Pork Tamales

Af0772f2 7852 4b21 bb7c 52b64f7f2606  2017 0328 pork tamales james ransom 480

I have a question about the recipe "Janet's Mexican Pork Tamales" from Anna Francese Gass. placing a plastic grocery bag on tamales, before steamig, will the bag not melt?

asked by AYA 28 days ago

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7 answers 348 views
48dd002c 4c45 4b84 8006 ac8614d467cd  dsc00859 2
creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added 26 days ago

I have no answer for you, but indeed there are a several unclear instructions; we are not told how exactly the plastic bag is to be placed (cut off the handles? Place it on its side?), there are no photos or headnotes, and, well, we don't even know who "Janet" is nor why this recipe is a community pick.
Reliability and clarity are key in recipe-writing.

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Voted the Best Answer!

23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added 26 days ago

While I have no idea about Janet either, the amusing ( or distressing depending on viewpoint) detail is that the submitter of the recipe is identified as a Food52 recipe tester. So ergo the community pick.

83b2f7bb 6d57 4b26 a96e f27f66b1e409  14355058 10103657439758468 7616383974552013464 n
added 26 days ago

I would not use a regular plastic grocery bag. You should use food grade plastic, and the recipe submitter should have specified this. Non-food grade plastics can leak dyes and/or plastic additives into your foods. Maybe I'm being too careful since the tamales are wrapped in corn husk anyway, but I like to err on the side of caution when it comes to food.

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48dd002c 4c45 4b84 8006 ac8614d467cd  dsc00859 2
creamtea

Lisanne is a trusted home cook.

added 26 days ago

agree with you on this; we don't know what materials are in the dyes used. Components in plastic leaching into the food would be a major concern for me. I'm pretty surprised at the endorsement of this practice that the inclusion of this recipe indicates. What's wrong with just using a tea towel under the lid of the pot?

83b2f7bb 6d57 4b26 a96e f27f66b1e409  14355058 10103657439758468 7616383974552013464 n
added 26 days ago

Lisanne yes! Or foil, or something else (like the towel the recipe already includes). I hadn't read the recipe before, but now that I've read it I don't think any sort of plastic is necessary, food grade or otherwise. LizD mentions topping with more corn husks - there's lots of better options! The one time I made tamales we just used corn husks and a pot with a heavy, well fitting lid; they cooked fine.

C3530c17 ce9c 45b2 9755 cac310550f38  pi day 2015
added 26 days ago

You can also cover with additional soaked corn husks, instead of the bag

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23b88974 7a89 4ef5 a567 d442bb75da04  avatar
added 24 days ago

I have nothing to add to help you, but rather to make a comment about the use of plastic in cooking. Given the research I no longer use anything plastic that gets warm - microwave / in pots, etc. BPA free or not. There is too much evidence that there is the potential for leeching and given the link with health issues I won't take a chance. I would find out what Mexican's used before they had plastic and use that method.

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