How are you holding up? After last week’s bout of COVID, I’m finally feeling like myself again, but as with most times I’m feeling under the weather, I experienced some loss of appetite while recovering. So I’ve been focusing on feeding myself really well for the past few days. Gotta get that strength back up!
My concerted eating efforts have meant quite a bit of snacking. I’ve been really into these treats from Trader Joe’s, and am going through a bit of a popcorn phase. One of my tried and true afternoon snacks is a big ol’ Honeycrisp apple. If I’m not on the go, my preferred way to enjoy it is to cut it into wedges and serve it with a nut (or cookie!) butter du jour.
Yesterday, while I prepared my standard little apple nosh, I reached for an item I use nearly every day, and consider absolutely necessary for making things taste delicious. But I worry some people might not have one, so let’s chat.
What is this very necessary kitchen tool, you ask? My second cutting board. And you know I’m loathe to duplicate anything unnecessary in my kitchen! But yes, you need two! And actually, I’d argue that two is the exact right number. Not one. Not three. Two! And here’s why:
My first cutting board is used for chopping anything savory. The second is used for any cutting for dishes intended to be sweet. That’s it. Easy peasy. But why?
Unsurprisingly, I’ve got a brief, demonstrative anecdote for you: the first time I encountered this duplicative cutting board practice was during my culinary externship at Prune. The first time I worked in the prep kitchen, I noticed some cooks working on blue cutting boards, and others on white. It took me a few more days to notice that the blue cutting boards were all stored along the back wall of the kitchen, while the white ones were stacked next to the prep surface. After another few days, I finally worked up the courage to ask why (it was an intimidating work environment, okay?!) and the gal training me explained: we use the blue for sweet dishes, and the white for savory, otherwise our desserts would all taste like garlic and onions! A big no-no always, but especially when patrons are paying good money for those desserts!
And it’s true, regardless of how thoroughly you clean a cutting surface, alliums will always leave their fragrant mark. For most savory dishes, a little allium taste transfer is not an issue at all! But when it comes to your sliced apple snack, the next pie you bake, or an evening banana split, I think we can all agree that a lingering onion or garlic taste is downright unappetizing. Maybe you’ve encountered said unpleasant taste while enjoying a sweet treat and wondered where it came from. Well, your cutting board is likely the culprit.
So yes, if you haven’t already, my tip for you today is to get yourself a second cutting board, designate it for sweet items only, and go forth and enjoy your untainted desserts! I use this one for my savory dishes and one very similar to this for the sweet! I know some people like to have a third cutting board used just for meat and fish prep, but I can tell you that this is not a practice you’ll find in any professional kitchen! So do whatever makes you feel comfy, but me and my cramped NYC apartment are sticking to just two boards, thank you very much.
Before we wrap up for today, while we’re chatting chopping tips, let me remind you that Abigail and I have a Basic Knife Skills class coming up this Thursday! Sign up and we’ll shoot you a note with a code so you can bring a friend for free. We can’t wait.
Okay, that about covers it. Have a lovely well-fed week ahead.
With love and a tip of my chef’s hat,
Want more? I’m so flattered! You can also follow me on Instagram, pop over to my YouTube channel, or check out my blog where you can find my tips-laden e-book collection.
Makes so much sense, thanks for the helpful info! What are your thoughts on having a separate cutting board for raw meat and fish? I've been doing that forever and found it to be more sanitary (using plastic and wooden cutting boards).