Paul (my sig other) always teases me about “my things.” I’ve always had a few “things” that define my life.
1. Ranch dressing is GROSS.
2. Any sort of non-refrigerated cheese or meat product is just plain wrong. Examples: Alfredo sauce, canned raviolis, ranch dressing, etc.
3. Microwaving food or drinks in plastic (due to the nasty chemicals leaching into your food). I’m so dedicated to #3 that Paul even understands the importance of this one. When he reminded me that the to-go coffee mug that I was planning to gift to my little brother was plastic and would leach, I swooned. My man said “leached”? What a turn-on!
#1 and #2 are just to help you get to know me – lucky you! #3 actually has relevance for our post today. My fear of leaching plastic naturally led to my fear of leaching silicone – as in silicone bakeware.
I’ve avoided silicone bakeware ever since it made it’s debut a few years ago – even its crazy colors are a bit creepy. BUT I am also an avid cupcake and muffin baker and use lots of paper muffin cups with all sorts of colors and designs (aka bleached paper and dyes).
The silicone cupcake cups have been tempting me – both for ease of use (throw in the dishwasher) and reusability! No more tossing the paper cups away as I enjoy a tasty pumpkin-chocolate chip muffin…but would I be enjoying those silicone chemicals as well?? (leaching anyone?) I try to avoid paper products in my daily routine (I can’t remember the last time I bought paper towels) yet I keep buying those paper cups for baking! And the plastic that they are packaged in…and the fuel to run to Wal-mart at midnight to buy more when I realize at last minute that I do not have enough to finish the cupcakes due tomorrow…
On an eco-chic side note, I always make my baked goods from scratch – to justify my cravings and to follow the creeds of one of my favorite movies, Food, Inc. You can eat junk food as often as you can make it from scratch!
So as Paul and I were wandering around World Market, trying to score some fabulously unique holiday gifts, he pointed out the silicone baking cups and commented that he was surprised that I don’t own those yet. You know, because they are colorful. And I love cupcakes. So I threw 3 packages of 6 in my basket and kept moving (impulse consumerism!) – and decided to look up the health risks of silicone bakeware.
And the verdict is – OUT! It appears that there are no reports on the effects of baking and cooking in silicone cookware – unless it is at temperatures of 500 degrees or higher. It has been shown and shared that if silicone is put into a 500 degree oven, it will break down and the silicone oil will definitely leach. One of my favorite resources, Care2, recommends avoiding it due to the lack of evidence. Answers.com claims that silicone is as safe as can be. I am taking all of this with a grain of salt and I am going to assume that there is more conclusive secret research out there that is not being shared with the general public (like cigarettes).
So here are the Pros and Cons…
Pros – Reusable! Stop wasting paper, fuel, and chemicals to create the baking cups! Only one trip to purchase the cups!
Cons – Unknown chemical leaching
My personal verdict – I’m going to ok the use of the silicone baking cups in my home – ONLY. I am still going to avoid the cake pans, cutting mats, etc. I can pull out my sturdy ceramic Fiestaware and Pyrex for all of my other baking needs!
Do YOU use silicone bakeware? Did you consider any potential health risks??
Confession: I LOVE nacho cheese dip. After a few drinks, I begin to declare my undying love for cheese dip and have been known to hoard it from others at parties. Embaressing, yes. But oh so yummy! We all have our weak points…