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August 16, 2011

Experts' Experts: "The last cutting board you'll ever need"

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Cook's Illustrated, in its latest issue (September & October 2011) unhappy with how their once-favorite cutting board broke down, decided to put nine new boards through their "test kitchen boot camp."

"To get the toughest board we could find, we distributed copies of each model to our test cooks, who put them through three solid months of daily use — the equivalent of years of use in the average home kitchen."

Long story short: The winner by a wide margin was the Proteak Edge Grain Teak Cutting Board (top).

Testers' comments: "Roomy, knife-friendly, and exceptionally durable, this teak slab was worth every penny ($84.99). It resisted warping and cracking, showing only minor scratches, never seemed 'thirsty' [i.e., needed to be oiled] and — despite its heft [15.05 lbs.] — was easy to lift and clean, thanks to handholds on each end."

Of note is that the most expensive (they ranged in price from $21.99 to $199) of the nine boards tested — the Epicurean Big Block Series Thick Cutting Board with Cascade Effect — was rated the worst of the bunch.

So it would appear that in this arena, the old adage "You get what you pay for" isn't operative, as they say inside the Beltway.

August 16, 2011 at 04:01 PM | Permalink


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Comments

I'm very surprised that a teak cutting board was their winner. Teak has a high silica content and can be very hard on sharpened metal edges. Perhaps these boards are made from a species of teak that is lower in silica than most teak???

Personally, I don't like to use wood cutting boards - except for bread. Give me a big thick slab of HDPE - easy to clean, does not warp, easy on knives and dishwasher safe.

Posted by: HeavyG | Aug 16, 2011 10:51:18 PM

The USB Hgc test is far more important, but - as my interest in cooking necessitates knife skills - these reviews are of interest.

I have two criterion above all others in selecting my cutting boards:
(1) ease of cleaning / bacterial control; and,
(2) not so hard a surface that it harms/dulls my knives' edges.

Obviously, the textured glass cutting boards pass test #1 with ease, but destroy knives.

Wooden cutting boards may harbor bacteria in micro-cuts - albeit that studies show that wood is bacterostatic over time, that is of little value where one wants to work with a meat and following that course, prepare a raw course - say, Avocado, tomato, scallion and Zucchini salad. Cross contamination is quite possible. Wood does not fare well when using hot water with an oxidizer (bleach) to clean the cutting surface between coursed.

Food-grade PTFE cutting boards and those thin, flexible PTFE sheet cutting surfaces are my most common cutting surfaces. I own a large Messermeister cutting board and several other boards along with about a dozen of the flexible cutting surfaces. I'll use a flexible sheet on top of the main cutting board for meats and fish, and then retire that sheet to the dishwasher while washing my knife and then my hands. I'll wipe down the main cutting board with a side towel soaked in a 10% bleach solution along with the surrounding counter space before starting the next project.

Wood works well for cutting breadstuffs, as a pizza peal, and to carve hot items (plastics do melt).

One final note: wood cutting surfaces cannot be placed in a dishwasher. Ever prepare raw beets?

I subscribe to CI and just read the article - and there is no coverage of my favorite cutting board nor of the sheet approach. Shame on Christopher for allowing Amy Graves to get away with such a skimpy piece!

Posted by: 6.02*10^23 | Aug 16, 2011 5:46:41 PM

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