In todays world, chefs, cooks, or anyone that knows their way around a kitchen and a chopping board are almost deified, in no small part thanks to the boom of daytime TV personality chefs who make cheeky jokes, or “game show” cooking competitions spearheaded by critical minded superstar chefs. Whilst not inherently a bad thing, the downside is most that very art of cooking- even the basic steps- is seen as something only a select few talented people are capable of doing, and the rest of us little people are to be content with whatever pre-packaged ready meals the supermarkets are going to spit out.
Chopping Board Options
Fact of the matter is, you don’t have to be some sort of kitchen god to make food that tastes good; whilst talent does go a long way, cooking mostly comes down to technique, and timing. Whilst we are in no way professional chefs here at Silke, we have taken it upon ourselves to teach you a few very simple little tricks, tips, and techniques to both help you impress your friends, and to help you get the absolute most out of our line of quality kitchens.
For this first entry, we’re tackling one of the simplest bits of knowledge there is to know; chopping board and utensil discipline. If you were one of the few who took a home economics or cooking course during your secondary school days, you probably know already that scarfing raw meat- specifically raw white meat- is a pretty bad idea, and you needn’t be a celebrity chef to understand that it pays to wash anything said raw produce touches. What you might now know, however, is that you need to be fairly careful exactly what type of board or utensil you use for what, to avoid cross contamination and potential food poisoning.
Wood or Not?
Wooden chopping boards should never be used when handling raw meat, as wood is a porous material; the juices from the meat will seep into them, creating a veritable breeding ground for the bacteria to grow and thrive unchecked, in a way that is next to impossible to thoroughly clean. Generally speaking, wooden chopping boards are best used for slicing and preparing bread or hard cheeses. The problem is negated slightly when using wooden utensils such as spoons or stir fry spatulas, as the heat should kill off anything nasty before it has time to soak in.
The biggest threat to your plastic chopping boards are the very things you use to slice and dice with; your knives. Daytime celebrity chefs across the land have no doubt said this before us, but many plastic chopping boards are made out of a kind of plastic that is very easy to scratch and dent, especially after elongated use; the thinner ones especially are likely to show their battle scars very quickly, although some thicker, hardier plastic boards stand up to repeated dicing fairly well. This creates crevices that juices or liquids can get trapped in, and although a little bit easier to clean then Wooden boards, they’re still very difficult to clean thoroughly, meaning it is very likely that any juices from raw meat will find themselves trapped in these hard-to-scrub places. Plastic chopping boards are best used for preparing vegetables and fruits, although it is wise to remember that they’re going to need a very thorough scrubbing if you use them whilst cutting up especially juicy produce.
Chopping boards made out of granite, marble, or any other hardy material (including quartz-based moulds, or cheaper imitation materials) are the only ones that should ever be used when cutting up raw meat; the harder material means that scratches and dents are far less likely to occur during everyday use, and they are nonporous, meaning that liquids cannot soak into or otherwise penetrate the outer surface. If your budget allows you might even consider Decton, an incredibly strong mad-made surface often used for worktops. In fact, with one of these surfaces you probably don’t even need a chopping board at all. Not only does this mean cleaning them is incredibly easy, but it also means that they cannot be contaminated by bacteria outside of the most strenuous of circumstances, and we here at Silke like to trust that our valued customers wouldn’t leave bits of food hanging around on their finest marble boards for weeks on end.
As we begin our journey, it’s always best to keep in mind that cooking often comes down to the little details like this, and that good kitchen etiquette is the first step to making good, home cooked food to a standard that even the celebrity chef hosts of shows such as My Kitchen Rules would be proud of.