How do I clean a bamboo steamer - the Chinese kind with interlocking baskets?
You don't have to clean a bamboo steamer; in fact, you shouldn't. Residue from any dish-washing liquid would be absorbed by the porous bamboo. From a food-safety perspective, you have little to worry about. When you use your steamer, you are exposing it to very hot water vapor. Your dishwasher gets no hotter than the inside of the steamer.
That said, food odors can work their way into the bamboo, but there's an easy fix: Don't steam food directly on the lattice surface of the steamer basket. You can put food on a heat-proof plate - so long as it is small enough so that steam can circulate around it - or on a piece of parchment paper.
Erica Marcus writes for Newsday.