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Have you thrown away all your cutting boards this year?


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I am in the process of packing up my kitchen—we’re about to demo and remodel—and am sorting about 20 years of accumulated cookery bits into pack/donate/trash categories. Which led me to an article from the expert advisors at Epicurious, “The 9 Kitchen Tools You Need to Replace Every Year,” in which they advocate for an annual household purging of Microplanes, cutting boards, paring knives, dish towels and more (ideally replaced via convenient affiliate links). 

 

Two questions (at least) arise from this:

  1. How much cheese and nutmeg grating does it take to dull a Microplane? I haven’t noticed a diminution in mine’s powers, and I’m pretty sure it’s at least decade old.
  2. Is there anything that you do replace annually on principle, regardless of its condition?

 

For the record, I don't think they're wrong about sponges.

 

(Also, Hello! I’ve been away from eGullet for quite a while and am ineligible to post a Welcome Our New Members Thread, but I’m a domestic dabbler in Portland, Ore. Mostly stovetop and sous vide of late, since my ovens have been out of commission for a few years… looking forward to getting my bake on soon).

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4 minutes ago, mumkin said:

Two questions (at least) arise from this:

  1. How much cheese and nutmeg grating does it take to dull a Microplane? I haven’t noticed a diminution in mine’s powers, and I’m pretty sure it’s at least decade old.
  2. Is there anything that you do replace annually on principle, regardless of its condition?

 

For the record, I don't think they're wrong about sponges.

 

1.  I have a Microplane nutmeg grater.  If I dull the blade I'd be more worried about nutmeg intoxication.

 

2.  Milk.

 

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Ridiculous. Sure change sponges or sterilize them. Ditto cleaning cloths.

This isn't an article. It's an ad trying to get you to throw away perfectly good stuff you already have and then buy it again!

Don't fall for it!

Edited by liuzhou (log)
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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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Yep, love the affiliate links. All the subtlety of an advertorial. Hey, wait, that's exactly what it is!

 

Not so curious about Epicurious. If I want gratuitous advertising, I'll jump on social media for a more immersive experience.

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Nick Reynolds, aka "nickrey"

"The Internet is full of false information." Plato
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FWIW, pathogens in sponges can be largely removed by microwaving for 2 minutes and 10 seconds*. Since I like efficiency, I nuke my sponges for 2:22 every week or so. We don't use any scented products at home, so one can usually smell when the sponges need attention.

 

*If I ever find the reference data, I'll let you know.

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3 minutes ago, TdeV said:

FWIW, pathogens in sponges can be largely removed by microwaving for 2 minutes and 10 seconds*. Since I like efficiency, I nuke my sponges for 2:22 every week or so. We don't use any scented products at home, so one can usually smell when the sponges need attention.

 

*If I ever find the reference data, I'll let you know.

 

 

Yeah. I nuke my sponges too

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...your dancing child with his Chinese suit.

 

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I have a couple of plastic/silicon cutting boards I use for raw meat, and those go in the dishwasher after each use. Wooden cutting boards, used for veggies, cheese and cooked/cured meat, get frequent wipedowns with a disinfectant wipe and/or one with bleach.

 

All my boards are likely more than five years old; maybe more than 10. I have not yet died. In point of fact, I have not been sick from any apparent food-borne pathogen.

 

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Don't ask. Eat it.

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I mostly use the disposable plastic sheet types, which won't go through the dishwasher without malforming permanently. I wash them with bleach after every use, and dispose of them when they get old and skeezy looking. They don't get used in a set and organized rotation, so that might be four months for one and two years for another.

I don't like/use sponges, but my dish cloths also go into very hot bleach water with every use (ie, anything I hand-wash), and look and smell very clean once they dry. I trot out a new one after every few uses, or if they're used for mopping up something from the counter. Brushes go into the dishwasher after use.

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"Not knowing the scope of your own ignorance is part of the human condition...The first rule of the Dunning-Kruger club is you don’t know you’re a member of the Dunning-Kruger club.” - psychologist David Dunning

 

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9 hours ago, mumkin said:

I am in the process of packing up my kitchen—we’re about to demo and remodel—and am sorting about 20 years of accumulated cookery bits into pack/donate/trash categories. Which led me to an article from the expert advisors at Epicurious, “The 9 Kitchen Tools You Need to Replace Every Year,” in which they advocate for an annual household purging of Microplanes, cutting boards, paring knives, dish towels and more (ideally replaced via convenient affiliate links). 

 

Two questions (at least) arise from this:

  1. How much cheese and nutmeg grating does it take to dull a Microplane? I haven’t noticed a diminution in mine’s powers, and I’m pretty sure it’s at least decade old.
  2. Is there anything that you do replace annually on principle, regardless of its condition?

 

For the record, I don't think they're wrong about sponges.

 

(Also, Hello! I’ve been away from eGullet for quite a while and am ineligible to post a Welcome Our New Members Thread, but I’m a domestic dabbler in Portland, Ore. Mostly stovetop and sous vide of late, since my ovens have been out of commission for a few years… looking forward to getting my bake on soon).

Welcome back.

 

I've read through a similar article that shows up on Facebook, I believe from Amazon. It was clear that it was written to stir up sales. I do agree with melted spatulas, and damaged wooded spoons. Like kayb, my cutting boards go into the dishwasher (I don't use wooden boards at all).

 

My microplane is only used 3-4 times a year. Still very sharp.

 

I don't replace anything on an annual basis, but rather when something is no longer in good condition.

 

 

ETA: Paring knives? Really? Only if you haven't a clue of how to sharpen your own knives.

Edited by Porthos (log)
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I confess that I did not know that "stain" was the same as "dirty".  As I write this, I can see the cognitive dissonance.  But I think of a "stain" as a kind of a cosmetic thing.  So, in other words, the stains on an otherwise washed tea towel would not trouble me.  Not even a little bit.

 

You know, my home might be a bona fide biohazard.  

 

And the cutting board thing . . . I'm just gonna take the Fifth on that.  I have a lot of confidence in bleach.  I use more of it than any single one of my peers.  So . . . .

 

I throw out tea towels when they get hole-y, not when they are stained. 

 

But I don't actually throw them out.  Rather, I demote them to rags.  I live in a rag home, not so much a sponge home.    The non-oil rags are washed with each use; this is how I grew up.  I think of sponges as like a marketing gimmick, I think it's a holdover from my depression-era parents.  When I first moved out, I switched to sponges.  And then I was like, nah . . . . 

 

I think this article is really weird, to tell the truth.  Downright weird.  

 

[EDITED TO ADD:  I use dishtowels to wash dishes.  They don't get washed each use if the humidity has permitted them to genuinely dry; but there are a lot of them and they get washed frequently.  I realized on reflection, what we're talking about here is using sponges for DISHES.  I use dishtowels for dishes, and rags for other cleaning.].

Edited by SLB (log)
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I charitably thought that "expert advice" listicle might've been the work of interns writing to deadline, but no, they're actual staff editors who must be very hard on their graters if we aren't to impugn their journalistic integrity.

 

I tend not to toss anything unless it's broken or superseded eitherPlastic cutting boards get the dishwasher treatment because I'm not a big bleach user (not really a fan of anything that asks me to wear thick rubber gloves). Wooden spoons and cutting boards get sanded and oiled when they start looking suspect, knives get sharpened (duh), dishcloths are washed until they're demoted to rag status, and Microplanes simply persist.

 

This is probably a good time to retire a few nonstick pots and pans that are losing their mojo. Otherwise, I guess I'll just be giving long, hard looks at the garage/estate sale finds from the past few decades, trying to recall if I've ever used them. So many small molds for some reason... you'd think I served seven-course aspic dinners on the regular.

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I have some microplanes from their first kitchen appearance - purchased in an independent hardware store that also supplied artists that worked in wood.

I was told by the owner of the store to occasionally "dress" them with very fine sandpaper NOT AGAINST the cutting surface but along it, followed by a few strokes with crocus cloth.

They are as sharp today as they were in 1991.

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"There are, it has been said, two types of people in the world. There are those who say: this glass is half full. And then there are those who say: this glass is half empty. The world belongs, however, to those who can look at the glass and say: What's up with this glass? Excuse me? Excuse me? This is my glass? I don't think so. My glass was full! And it was a bigger glass!" Terry Pratchett

 

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On 2/18/2020 at 3:14 PM, andiesenji said:

I have some microplanes from their first kitchen appearance - purchased in an independent hardware store that also supplied artists that worked in wood.

I was told by the owner of the store to occasionally "dress" them with very fine sandpaper NOT AGAINST the cutting surface but along it, followed by a few strokes with crocus cloth.

They are as sharp today as they were in 1991.

Alright - I'll bite - what's crocus cloth? What I know as tack cloth?

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3 minutes ago, TdeV said:

@Kerry Beal, what's a tack cloth? 🤣

 

It's cheese cloth impregnated with a tacky material that you wipe over a surface to remove any lose particulate before the next layer of varnish when you are working on the brightwork on the boat. 

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29 minutes ago, Kerry Beal said:

Alright - I'll bite - what's crocus cloth? What I know as tack cloth?

It's an abrasive cloth or paper.  It's an iron oxie abrasive (usually fine, but in theory, it was available in a range of grits), loosely bound to the sheet.  Because iron oxide is relatively soft, and the grains are not firmly attached to the backing, it will not cut well, and is used for finishing, the steps before a buffing compound is used.    It's very much like (real) emery cloth, but using iron oxide instead of the aluminum oxide in emery.  

 

I rather expect you're not going to find it at your local hardware store, let alone a big box.  It's pretty thoroughly obsolete for industrial use.

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5 hours ago, dscheidt said:

It's an abrasive cloth or paper.  It's an iron oxie abrasive (usually fine, but in theory, it was available in a range of grits), loosely bound to the sheet.  Because iron oxide is relatively soft, and the grains are not firmly attached to the backing, it will not cut well, and is used for finishing, the steps before a buffing compound is used.    It's very much like (real) emery cloth, but using iron oxide instead of the aluminum oxide in emery.  

 

I rather expect you're not going to find it at your local hardware store, let alone a big box.  It's pretty thoroughly obsolete for industrial use.

 

Just ask Jeff...

 

http://amzn.com/B0157AWYT2

 

 

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8 hours ago, JoNorvelleWalker said:

Just ask Jeff...

 

That's a packet of 50! Surely one sheet is enough to freshen up the microplanes in an amateur(amateuse)'s kitchen. Maybe 50 of us could get together and . . .

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