Don’t Buy a Cutting Board Before Reading This
Find a board on-par with your impressive knife skills.
A secret thing about cutting boards is that they actually really do make a difference. Another secret thing: you need at least two. And a third, very happy secret about cutting boards: price is not necessarily related to quality. The most expensive cutting board is not necessarily the best—and the cheapest cutting boards have strengths that the pricey ones don’t.
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Wood is the most traditional material for cutting boards, but plastic is actually better in some ways. For one thing, it requires basically no upkeep and can go in the dishwasher. It’s also slightly more hygienic than wood, making it ideal for cutting stuff like raw meat and fish. This well-reviewed Gorilla Grip set gives you three cutting boards of alternating sizes for under $20, which is hard to beat.
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There are two other fairly common materials, besides wood and plastic, that cutting boards are made out of. One is bamboo, which you should avoid at all costs. Bamboo is an amazing material, but it’s insanely hard. That makes it ideal for flooring, but it’s so hard that it can dull or even damage your knives. The other material, though, is great: rubber. It’s incredibly sturdy, and hygienic. But most importantly, if you’re using fancy knives, this is the board to get: it’s by far the easiest on expensive knife blades. The peachy color on this one is also very chic—it looks like a giant eraser.
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The John Boos craftspeople in Effingham, Illinois have been making some of the best and most beautiful cutting boards around since 1887, typically from maple. Wood is a great material for cutting boards: hard but not too hard, sturdy and beautiful. A board like this is one that you have to dote on a little bit: you’ll have to oil it, maybe sand it eventually. You’ll have to clean and dry it immediately and carefully after each use, so it doesn’t expand and split. It absolutely, under no circumstances, can sit in the sink or go in a dishwasher. In short, this is your special occasion cutting board, the one for your dinner party, charcuterie plate, or Instagram photo.
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Plastic is such a fantastically versatile material. This set is made of very thin plastic, which enables you to bend the entire board. That makes it easy to get chopped food from your board into a waiting pot or pan: just bend the board into the shape of a funnel. No mess, no dropping chopped garlic on the floor.
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