go with a nice thick wood board. clean it with bleach when needed and sand it down when it gets too marked up.
the plastic ones are okay to use in conjunction with your big wood boards for cutting small items.
I have plastic and wood and cannot say I am in love with either. Now my life has changed. I bought a tuff (rubber) board a couple of months ago. It washes easily; does not stain and does not retain odors (even fish). I rub it with a soapy Dobie pad, rinse off and wipe. I don't even have to take it off the counter. It is very comfortable to use and apparently is not hard on your knives like the plastic boards. I have not yet had the courage to hack it with my cleaver. Does anyone else know if tuff can survive a cleaver attack?
Welcome to the forums Rita, your question is a great one. As for myself I prefer the wood ones, but I always have a few plastic ones around. I have never heard of the rubber ones that Ruthy is talking about, they sound very intersting. Is there a particular brand that you would recommend Ruthy?
They call them rubber in the kitchen supply stores but I honestly think they are a fairly new type of plastic and, as far as I know, only one brand, known as Tuff.They are widely available on the Bowery and in all the Chinese supply stores in New York. You must have similar suppliers in Chicago. I am not concerned about health problems with any of the materials as long as they are kept clean but I love the fact that Tuff, being non porous, does not retain odors and can be just washed and used interchangeably for fish, meat,etc.
At the restaurant I use plastic boards. They are more durable and easier to clean. They are also dishwasher safe. But at home I only use wooden boards. I like the feel and look of them mush more. Just don't put them in the dishmachine. The other plus of wooden boards that no one has mentioned so far is the fact that they can double as a serving tray, cheese board, etc. Would never do that with a plastic board.
I use both. If I know that I'm going to be doing a lot of chopping and cutting then I take out my large heavy(5 lbs) wooden board. If I just want to slice a tomato to put into my sandwich, then I grab my plastic board.
By the way, I never bleach my wooden board. I'm never sure that I succeed in getting all the bleach out of the fine cracks, or that the wood soaks up the smell. I sand the board down every now and again and then rub olive oil over it to tone the wood and stop smells from seeping in.
That is really interesting Nick. When I was in Greece the butchers used thick tree stumps as their chopping blocks. I believe that they used the same method of salting the wood down. By law they were required to plane down the block every 15 days.
also, on that subject, even though PE chopping boards can go through the dish washer et al, wooden chopping boards "apparently" have a natural antibacterial action that doesnt need bleaching, but at this stage, but i havent at this stage seen any scientific proof.
P.S. i have also heard a rumour that aluminium cusaes cancer, if so, we really should use wooden spoons more, yeah?
P.S. i have also heard a rumour that aluminium cusaes cancer, if so, we really should use wooden spoons more, yeah? [/B][/QUOTE]
Aluminum has been linked to Alzheimer's disease. (Frequent misspelling is an early warning sign!) Early studies in the 1960s showed that aluminum created changes in animals' brains that, on first glance, were similar to those in the brain of a person with Alzheimer's disease. However, closer analysis showed that the changes in the animals' brain were very different from the structural changes in the brains of people with the disease.
Despite this difference, research into a possible connection between aluminum and Alzheimer's disease continues. However, to date, there is no proof that aluminum causes
true unichef, but after a lifetime of forming knowledge and memories, it probably would be a grave risk to gamble all of that in the hope that it wouldnt happen. Plus it also a horrendous thing to subject your closest to if it does occur.
The best thing to do is to avoid exposure to it (as best as you could) until proven otherwise, methinks.