The most important tools in your kitchen are a good chef’s knife and the skills to use it. The next is an end-grain cutting board, and here are five reasons why:
1) They are works of art. I mean seriously just look at these things.
2) You get what you pay for. End-grain boards are not cheap, a good one will run you well over $200. With proper care however your grandkids will be using it 100 years from now. End-grain boards require routine maintenance. They need to be cleaned and oiled regularly to protect against bacteria. The oil acts as a sealant preventing anything bad from seeping into the wood. It’s very important to use mineral oil because it won’t go rancid and it isn’t toxic. Olive oil or any other plant-based product will eventually spoil and start to smell.
3) Your knives will stay sharper longer. If there’s any reason to own an end-Grain cutting board, this is it. When cutting on an edge-grain cutting board, the knife is effectively trying to saw the fibers in half; the sharp point of the blade will quickly become rounded and dull. Because the wood fibers stand upright on an end-grain board, the blade is able to slip in between the vertical wood fibers, protecting the cutting edge and not cutting the wood fibers. This is the exact same concept as splitting a log with an axe. On your end-grain cutting board, the vertical fibers will naturally return to their starting position, sparing the cutting surface.
4) You will cook more. If you’ve invested the money to buy a high quality board chances are you’re getting serious about cooking. In my house the cutting board is a permanent fixture on the counter. Not only does the thing just look great but it’s heavy. Both factors lead to it pretty much living on my countertop. Since it’s always out I find myself using it ALL the time. Plus if you cook more, chances are you’re going to be eating healthier too. Think about it, you don’t need a chef’s knife or cutting board for a frozen dinner...
5) Your knife skills will get better. In my opinion you can never be too skilled with a chef’s knife. Whether you’re chopping onions or slicing a good cut of meat, uniformity is important because differently sized pieces cook at different rates. Having the skill and dexterity to efficiently do your chopping will make your cooking experience much more enjoyable.
So buy yourself an end-grain board, sharpen your knife skills and throw away your avocado slicer. You’ll thank me for it, I promise.