Cutting board, an obvious tool for the kitchen, but such a difficult (and sometimes pricey) purchase. Do you get wood or plastic? And which type of wood? Or which type of plastic? Lots of research has been done and many opinions have been published. After culling through quite a few of these I did find one that put forth the pros and cons quite well from The Reluctant Gourmet. Ultimately you need to use cutting boards that you like and are right for your kitchen and your cooking. You don’t need a thick cutting block if you’re a vegetarian and never have meat in your fridge.
When I moved into my first apartment I bought myself a couple of boards, a wooden one and a set of plastic ones of various sizes all from IKEA. The wooden one had a groove around the edge which is great for cutting meat and catching the juices. I used the plastic ones for chopping vegetables and such. After more than five years of cooking with them they were beginning to show their age, especially the wooden one. Last summer a crack started in the wooden one and the plastic ones had many knife “scars”. I knew that I would need to invest in new boards sooner rather than later. So when I was given a gift certificate to Sur La Table for Christmas from my aunt and uncle, I knew exactly what I was going to get-new cutting boards!I decided that I wanted wooden boards. They tend to last longer, especially if you take good care of them. You want to rub them down with mineral oil to keep them in good condition. You don’t have to buy the fancy oil from the companies, my dad told me I could find it at my local pharmacy, and I did. With the laxatives, LOL!
I first thought about getting a Boos block. They are a high quality cutting board that the pros love. My dad bought himself one and loves it so I looked at them first. The big downside of a Boos block is the weight. They are a thick board and in a small kitchen can seem bulky. They are also a little pricier than most blocks, starting around $50. After looking at the other boards and debating with my dad, I decided on a set of bamboo boards from Totally Bamboo of three sizes. They are thin, lightweight, and excellent quality (and a great price for a frugal chef!). And since they were on sale my gift card covered the cost of the set with a couple of dollars left over! Yay! I love sales! I was excited to have 3 new boards and they would fit nicely in my small kitchen. And for some unknown reason, I prefer cutting on a wooden board rather than a plastic one. To me it feels…cleaner…I think. Either way, when it comes to kitchen appliances, the biggest deciding factor in a purchase should be how comfortable you feel using it, because if you can’t use it, or don’t like the way it feels in your hand, you won’t use it, and it becomes a wasted purchase.