Chop on Wood

As I have written about many times before, I really really REALLY hate plastic.  I avoid it whenever possible, and I am always looking for ways to cut it out of our lives.  It has become so prevalent in our culture that we easily forget just how awful it is for the planet (not to mention our health!).

Up until a few years ago, however, I relied on plastic cutting boards for food preparation.  I figured that they were “cleaner” than their wooden counterparts, and the convenience of dropping them into the dishwasher sure was nice (wood cutting boards should always be washed by hand and air dried). Prevailing wisdom urged professional and at-home chefs to stick with plastic in hopes of avoiding contamination and sickness.

However, one day I stumbled upon a study from the University of Wisconsin that forced me to change my cutting board ways.  The study found that wooden cutting boards kill bacteria that survive well on plastic boards.  As the press release announcing the study explains, “The scientists found that three minutes after contaminating a board that 99.9 percent of the bacteria on wooden boards had died, while none of the bacteria died on plastic. Bacterial numbers actually increased on plastic cutting boards held overnight at room temperature, but the scientists could not recover any bacteria from wooden boards treated the same way.”

So, ever since I’ve relied on my trusty wooden cutting boards.  I use my large Boos one when lots of chopping is called for, and my handy little bamboo one is used when I need to slice up a few strawberries or cut up some carrots for the kids.  Both are easy to clean – a quick wipe down in the sink – and both air dry in a flash.

Plus, it really is so nice when mother nature provides a perfect and elegant surface upon which to work.  Wooden cutting boards look so simple and rustic and homey, lending a simple sweetness to the kitchen counter top.  To prevent warping or splitting, I wipe the board down with a bit of mineral oil whenever the mood strikes.

I didn’t throw away my plastic cutting board, though.  I still use it to chop up bars of soap whenever I make homemade laundry detergent or homemade liquid hand soap!

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