Wooden cutting boards from LarchWood Canada - backbone of the Slow Food Movement

Wooden cutting boards are the stalwarts of food preparation. They’re strong enough to resist the heaviest cleaver, yet they don’t blunt your knives.
By: Suzanne Robicheau
 
 
Cutting Board Collection by Larch Wood Canada
Cutting Board Collection by Larch Wood Canada
 
Oct. 16, 2009 - PRLog -- You can have all the slow cookers and cast iron pans that you want, but don’t expect to embrace the Slow Food Movement if you’re still plugged into fast-moving kitchen appliances like mixers and blenders.
   As a general rule, if something has an electric cord, it’s not that slow – a simple understanding that makes it a snap to evaluate the slowness of any endeavor.
   Should you wash dishes by hand or in the dishwasher? Should you whip cream with a whisk or with the Mixmaster? Simply look to the electric cord for your answer.
   It was advice that had me bemoaning the fate of my impressive and colorful collection of small appliances. “They can’t all go by the board,” I cried out loud – and that’s when it hit me.
   “GO BUY THE BOARD,” I repeated with conviction, and admittedly with a slightly different spelling of the word “by”.
   I decided in an instant to save my electric appliances for a faster day, and to purchase a wooden cutting board, something to celebrate the pleasures of the table, to help me rediscover the natural rhythm of hand chopping, and better still, to cover the turmeric stains on my countertop.
   Wooden cutting boards are the stalwarts of food preparation. They’re strong enough to resist the heaviest cleaver, yet they don’t blunt your knives.
   Like proud old soldiers, they may have a few battle wounds, a few small scars, or even the occasional knife wound. Most of these marks will fade over time, but don’t worry if they don’t. You can’t make an omelet without breaking eggs, and you can’t put onions in it without chopping them.
   I decided to honour the Slow Movement by buying a board that was made by local people, and from local wood, which narrowed my search considerably and took me to Larch Wood Enterprises (www.larchwoodcanada.com), a Cape Breton mill that specializes in larch cutting boards.
   Larch is a native species that thrives in Atlantic Canada’s forests and bogs. It is also know as tamarack, hackmatack, and juniper, and it is the only deciduous conifer in North America to turn colour and lose its needles in the winter.
   If that’s not enough of a distinction, it has a natural resistance to water and rot – a quality that has made it the historic wood of choice for shipbuilding and wharf construction, and more recently, an excellent candidate for cutting boards.
   In addition to unique tongue-and-groove flooring, Larch Wood Enterprises (www.larchwoodcanada.com) makes a variety of cutting boards, using traditional butcher block construction to glue stacks of wood together and then cut to leave the distinctive end grain on top.
   Their small rectangular board sells for about $150. The larger carver’s board is $290. My favourite is the buffet board ($230), a 55x15x6 centimeter thick length of functional art that makes a perfect display for everything from appetizers to cheese. The only thing more compelling than the serpentine grain of these larch wood boards is a mystical shape that’s as old as time.
   Several of the oblong boards – and even the shapes within these boards – are Golden Rectangles, unique mathematical forms that appear in nature, music, art and architecture. It’s been used in the Great Pyramids, the Mona Lisa, and now in a mill in East Margaree.
   Sanitation enthusiasts might argue that plastic and glass cutting boards are easier to disinfect than are wooden ones. Of course they are, and plastic tablecloths and paper napkins are easier to care for than linen. If you’re really worried about contaminating your larch board with chicken parts, buy a second, less expensive board and reserve it for meat and poultry.
   Slow Food devotes are quick to endorse the merits of fresh food and home cooking. Their happy meal is one made from scratch, and when they say “chop chop”, it’s not about being in a hurry; it’s about food preparation and the natural cadence of slow cuisine.
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