26 June 2012

On Cutting Boards

I must confess, I don't understand all the fuss that is made about cutting boards lately. Nowadays, we have wooden cutting boards, glass cutting boards, plastic cutting boards, and even cutting boards made of bamboo! Everyone and their mom has a cutting board! Chances are, if you ask your grandma what you can do to help with preparing Sunday dinner, she'll first ask you to chop potatoes and after that, she'll get out a knife and a cutting board for you to use.

It's true, even I have a cutting board. Two, in fact; one of glass and one of bamboo. They rarely see the light of day, however, stashed as they are beneath my stack of wire cooling racks and cookie sheets. When I need to chop an onion, a tomato or some thawed chicken breasts, a plate is a good enough cutting surface for the likes of me! I feel no need to take the extra steps involved in digging up a cutting board and, after cutting the food into appropriately sized pieces, washing and drying an extra dish which is as wide and long as my entire dish rack.

No, a plate works perfectly fine for me. I understand not wanting to cut directly on your counter--that is a very wise thing to do. It's easier always to replace a plate or a cutting board than a countertop. Still, why do we have this cultural norm that the "safe" and "normal" way of ingredient-chopping takes place on a cutting board? While a cutting board may be convenient in some homes for some food situations, it is hardly the catch-all answer for everyone who's ever wanted to slice an apple or a cucumber.

The other day, I was chopping up sweet potatoes for a casserole using my large chopping knife and a plate, as is my habit. My cousin was spending the day with me and she eyed me nervously as I chopped the first potato, "Umm, Rachel, don't you want to use a cutting board?"

Noticing her clear discomfort with the situation, I gave in to her wishes, dragged my cutting board out of the depths of the cupboard and finished chopping my potatoes on that. The use of cutting boards is such a deeply ingrained cultural norm that those who have grown up under it's influence are very uncomfortable when they see this rule being flouted. However, I say that this norm need not persist! There is no reason why we should be confined to cutting solely on cutting boards purely because membership in society dictates it. Fellow vegetable choppers, throw off the chains society has placed about you! Be free of the cutting board standard! Dare to chop differently! Be free!

Note: I haven't cut myself while vegetable chopping since May, at the very least. And that one was only a flesh wound.


  1. Haha. Fabulous! Although I have to admit that I am a chopping board person! I am being taught otherwise though as I now live in a house where they are not really used.

  2. Hi Rachel, Found and following you from the GFC hop. Gotta admit that I love a cutting board too. Perhaps you'd appreciate it more (maybe?) if you're cooking for a crowd. A plate just can't hold as many chopped veggies as the board. Have a cheery day.

  3. Haha! We actually have a beat up bar-height table in our kitchen that I use as a chopping board (except with meats - I use an actual chopping board for those). Saves time and I'm not worried about a few extra nicks in it. ;)

  4. I've got the crappiest of all crap cutting boards. Like flimsier than a sheet of paper. Yet, somehow, I continue to use it? I do not know why. I don't foresee it being any protection between the food and the counter. Maybe it's time I use your method of sturdy plates!

  5. I rarely use a cutting board, but I do have one. It is engraved with our name, so it's super cute! Haha!

  6. we have quite a few cutting boards too! and i hate cutting sweet potatoes - it is hard!

  7. Hey lady!! I just found your cute blog via the hop and added myself to your followers! Also I’d love to have you check out a fabulous OSCAR DE LA RENTA giveaway I’m having right now!!
    Hope to see you there! And thanks so much!
    Xo, Emily

  8. This is so true. I pull out a cutting board and end up with a plate every single time. I should find another use for the cutting plate and then it might be more appealing to use. Maybe a fly killer.

  9. i seriously love this, girl! this is really true. and it's something i've never seen written about before. you are awesome, keeping being your beautiful self!


  10. While small jobs and peeling is perfectly acceptable over a plate, whenever I am truly "chopping" something (meaning my blade is penetrating from the top of the piece of food to the bottom and landing on the surface of which I am working) I always, always, always use a cutting board. Plates, especially if they are porcelain, can be very rough on knives (which is one reason I'm sure many people haven't already resorted to using just plates), and they can slip, causing you to cut yourself. Cutting boards are not just a cultural stigma, but a safety precaution. Wood cutting boards are a traditional favorite for this reason, as they are heavy and durable. Here's a with some more info on wood cutting boards: