Jump to content
  • Welcome to the eG Forums, a service of the eGullet Society for Culinary Arts & Letters. The Society is a 501(c)3 not-for-profit organization dedicated to the advancement of the culinary arts. These advertising-free forums are provided free of charge through donations from Society members. Anyone may read the forums, but to post you must create a free account.

Cutting Board Confessions


Recommended Posts

I have a confession to make:

Sometimes (usually?) I cut things without using a cutting board. I just hold whatever it is in my hand and cut towards my hand, or towards my neck, or in some other direction or manner that doesn't affect the countertops. Yesterday I cut up a whole watermelon without using a cutting board. I think I'll go cut a bagel right now.

Ellen Shapiro

www.byellen.com

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I sometimes cannot be bothered to reach down to the draw that contains my cutting boards in my very small kitchen and will use the scratch resistant work surface to cut on instead, which when you think about it is the height of laziness. I wouldn't chop an onion on the work top, but would cut up an orange for example. Bagels are easy because you can slow the knife down before it cuts all the way through and avoid any possible damage to the surface below. I would rarely cut things in my hand, except for maybe slicing garlic over a pan once in a blue moon. I have a suspicion this could well be a male:boards/female:hands thing.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll tourne without a cutting board.* Devein shrimp. And peel vegetables. But that's about it.

[*joke for NeroW]

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Bagels are easy because you can slow the knife down before it cuts all the way through and avoid any possible damage to the surface below.

I have scars on my hands from cutting bagels, knife pointed wrong direction.

The cuts heal, giving my hands just a bit more character. I forget, then do it all over again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of the older generation of Italians I know who cook (i.e., grandmothers) rarely if ever use a cutting board.  Almost everything is done in the air with a small knife.

My mother in law cuts everything this way (not Italian, German). But the knife she uses is so dull I doubt it would break the skin.

I personally am afraid tocut anything not safely secured on the board. But I am a great big wuss with only fair to middling knife skills.

Bill Russell

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Most of the older generation of Italians I know who cook (i.e., grandmothers) rarely if ever use a cutting board.  Almost everything is done in the air with a small knife.

This is an older generation Jewish thing as well. My mother and m-i-l always cut in the air. I get nervous watching them slice onions, apples, carrots, etc.

I've been known to cut on a piece of paper towel if the cutting board is dirty. My husband uses the plastic covers to our bowls and then can't understand why they're all sliced up.

Edited by bloviatrix (log)

"Some people see a sheet of seaweed and want to be wrapped in it. I want to see it around a piece of fish."-- William Grimes

"People are bastard-coated bastards, with bastard filling." - Dr. Cox on Scrubs

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mother too -- she's both Jewish and Italian. And she's a really good cook. But she'll take a whole chicken and go to work on it with basically a butter knife. It's bizarre. Works for her, though.

Steven A. Shaw aka "Fat Guy"
Co-founder, Society for Culinary Arts & Letters, sshaw@egstaff.org
Proud signatory to the eG Ethics code
Director, New Media Studies, International Culinary Center (take my food-blogging course)

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mother used to cut on a china plate. I'm not sure if she knew why her plates were scratched or her knives dull. I see real cooks on TV cut against their hands and it annoys me to watch the way the sound of fingernails against the blackboard must annoy others. Paring, peeling and trimming are something else, but cutting is always done on a board. We have several food service approved plastic boards which I'm convinced harbor lots of germs in the scratches. Lab tests back me up on that. Wood boards seem not to harbor bacteria the way the plastic ones do. Even dishwashing leaves me skeptical. That explains my use of our old butcher block counter without reaching for a cutting board so often, although admittedly, fish, meat and poultry always get cut on the plastic boards -- they can easily be put in the sink or dishwasher. Bread is always cut on the counter and, often enough, so is parsely and garlic. Periodically the suface is cleaned with salt and lemon juice.

Robert Buxbaum

WorldTable

Recent WorldTable posts include: comments about reporting on Michelin stars in The NY Times, the NJ proposal to ban foie gras, Michael Ruhlman's comments in blogs about the NJ proposal and Bill Buford's New Yorker article on the Food Network.

My mailbox is full. You may contact me via worldtable.com.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is the Welsh way of slicing bread....held in the crook of the arm and slice towards the chest :shock: My late Auntie Florrie used to cut bread this way

Is that why she's your LATE Auntie? :shock:

I was thinking of that. I hold stuff in my hands and cut my hands, I'd HATE to think what she'd cut!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I didn't think I had a hang-up until I read this thread. I always use a cutting board. Absolutely always. And it has to be a clean one. Clean side counts. But I have no dishwasher and don't do them even every other day so I've had to accumulate many boards. Oh dear.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cateringco demands that we use chopping boards of all colours for our cutting tasks. Some are obvious like green for veg and red for meat. But then it gets a bit weird and we have blue for fish. There is also a brown one for something, but vanity precludes me from preparing foodstuff on a brown plastic sheet.

It's just not right.

You get used to this system, though. And it largely makes sense.

In my own kitchen I have a huge wooden slab that I flip, wash, de-sanitise and dry for re-use all night. I find it best to accept that you don't have another choice but to perform this way because of the fact that someone else will eat your stuff.

I'll cut in in my hands if I have, say, four 5Kg trays of mushrooms that need sliced and time is pressing. Otherwise I'll use (and prefer) the boards.

Edited by A Scottish Chef (log)
Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few years ago we had 3 major injuries in our department at work from slicing bagels. Think microsurgery, cut tendons etc.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Cateringco demands that we use chopping boards of all colours for our cutting tasks. Some are obvious like green for veg and red for meat. But then it gets a bit weird and we have blue for fish. There is also a brown one for something, but vanity precludes me from preparing foodstuff on a brown plastic sheet.

Smart system.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

A few years ago we had 3 major injuries in our department at work from slicing bagels. Think microsurgery, cut tendons etc.

This is a dangerous job. In the last three weeks there have been two heart attacks, one burn so bad the chef was hospitalised. Innumerable other smaller burns and cuts. Panic attacks, fights and

We have a guy with a finger missing. He lost that whilst demonstrating how not to lose a finger in a mixer.

Best be safe as possible, it's difficult to argue that a board isn't the best place for cutting things mostly. All bad kitchen habits must stop right now :biggrin:

Link to comment
Share on other sites

My mother (Italian, born in America) uses nothing put a paring knife, I bought her a cutting board and a chef's knife

2 years ago and she says it is awkward. My grandmother (Italian, born in Italy) always uses a cutting board. :wink:

I am lazy and don't pull out the board unless I really need it. I slice vegetables for salads directly into the bowl, cube tofu in the palm of my hand, slice breads directly on the countertops or hands, etc.

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is the Welsh way of slicing bread....held in the crook of the arm and slice towards the chest :shock: My late Auntie Florrie used to cut bread this way

Is that why she's your LATE Auntie? :shock:

She died from smoking too many fags for too many years.Her cooking involved boiling veg untill it was almost a puree.. :sad: .but she cooked mighty fine Welsh Cakes :biggrin: Her morning rountine was to boil the black kettle on the open fire, make tea and toast, eat the toast, then dunk the crusts in her tea as she didn't put her teeth in till after breafast . And they had a tin bath!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll cut in in my hands if I have, say, four 5Kg trays of mushrooms that need sliced and time is pressing. Otherwise I'll use (and prefer) the boards.

Oh, one of my favourite things is going through 20 pounds of cremini mushrooms on a block with a Henckel. I really love that.

Really, the obviousness of cutting boards for knives instead of holding and hacking has caused me much puzzlement. Many cuisines, such as Moroccan, seem to have no idea of the use of cutting boards from my own personal experience.

I understand not using one if one is making small quantities of something and dragging out a board is just more time spent.

But taking fifteen times as long to do something as it would take with proper knife technique and a board (as is standard with French, Chinese, and Japanese cuisines) makes no sense to me.

"I've caught you Richardson, stuffing spit-backs in your vile maw. 'Let tomorrow's omelets go empty,' is that your fucking attitude?" -E. B. Farnum

"Behold, I teach you the ubermunch. The ubermunch is the meaning of the earth. Let your will say: the ubermunch shall be the meaning of the earth!" -Fritzy N.

"It's okay to like celery more than yogurt, but it's not okay to think that batter is yogurt."

Serving fine and fresh gratuitous comments since Oct 5 2001, 09:53 PM

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'll tourne without a cutting board.* Devein shrimp. And peel vegetables. But that's about it.

[*joke for NeroW]

Finally, something in common. I also tourne with no board. I find that I prefer to tourne while sitting in a chair. :biggrin:

I use a board unless I'm feeling very lazy (i.e., it's 4 AM and I MUST slice and eat 20 pieces of cheese), or if I am in a big hurry and slicing something directly into the bowl/pan, like mushrooms, or garlic.

Noise is music. All else is food.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

 Share

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
×
×
  • Create New...