Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Chopping Blocks & Knives

What is your favorite chopping block style and material?
Do you have a favorite brand of knife?

I have always loved wooden chopping blocks, even when "experts" have warned about germs on our boards!  I clean my board regularly as I work to prevent cross contamination, give it a good scrubbing about once a month and apply a good coat of mineral oil to protect it.  No one in my home has EVER become sick from anything I've chopped on my chopping boards!

After buying, throwing out, wearing out and going on a search for a new board a few years ago I went into sticker stock and a melt down over the cost of chopping blocks!  They were too expensive and all the wrong sizes.  As you can see from the photos I like my board LARGE and sitting right next to the sink.  I want to be able to push any mess right into the sink!  
 I was looking at an Ad from Lumber Liquidators one day and saw a large 8' x 25" cherry wood chopping blocks advertised.  The price has risen over the years since I bought mine and is now $299 but before you faint consider this - if you can find a friend, or a couple of friends to go in together then you can cut an 8 foot length into 4 chopping boards of 24" x 25" for the cost of approx. $75 dollars each!  I realize you can buy less expensive wooden boards but not out of cherry.  I made a 4 hour round trip to buy my plank and my husband did the cutting so you would have to decide whether this can work for your personal needs.

I have loved this board more than any commercially made boards I've owned over the years.  I'm mindful of its value to my every day cooking so I care for it properly and plan on it being around a long time.

 My husband added a piece at the back of my board to keep messes from falling off the back.  I'm not sure that was really necessary but he thought it was a nice touch - whatever makes the carpenter happy I say.

There are feet on the underside because I needed it to sit above the rim of the self rimming sink (which I hate but that's a conversation for another day).  Looks like the camera picked up a few crumbs I had not seen before I took the photo.  Time to lift the board and clean house!

Since this post is also about knives let me say that buying good quality knives can be VERY EXPENSIVE and if you have many of them then you will want to take the best care you possibly can of their edges.  Cutting on a wooden board will save those blades versus slicing away on granite, plastic or any other non-porous surface.  I have collected mostly Wusthof Classic knives over the years and most of them are 37 years old and still in service every single day.  I sharpen them when needed and if they really need a new sharper edge I have taken them to a professional - which has only been a couple of times over the years.

Wusthof's 8" Classic knife

  I own two of these 8" knives and at least 25 other sizes.  The 8" is my work horse knife!  I have a couple of very large 16" knives that have the wooden handles but I would not recommend those because they take special care to protect those handles - I'm not even sure the wooden handled ones are being made any more.  Use, wash, dry and store.  Do not leave a wood handled knife in water because they will get soaked and dry the handle out and ruin your knife over time.  Do not put the wooden ones in the dishwasher either.  I must admit I have put the Classics with the poly handles in the dishwasher and I've been doing it for 37 years and they are still like new but you decide if you want to risk it.   I did have a poly handled paring knife made by Henckles that I used to plop in the dishwasher regularly and the handle spit after a few years of doing that.  Not really a good practice to put any good quality knife in the dishwasher but I get lazy and sometimes do it - not with the wooden ones though - NEVER!

 I have always stored my knives in a knife block and currently own this one in cherry wood (see to left of chopping block in photo #1.  It holds 35 knives:
So love your knives and treat them with great care and they will service you for a life time.

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