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Old 02-22-2009, 11:33 AM   #31
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Originally Posted by Callisto in NC View Post
Okay, so my SIL is a Pampered Chef sales person and for my birthday and to help her out to get started in her new state, I'm ordering a bunch of stuff from her. They sell bamboo and plastic cutting boards. The plastic is great for meat, that I know because you can bleach it. But what I don't know is, is bamboo good for your knives. I'm spending a bunch of money on knives, I don't want to ruin them if bamboo is bad for them. And what about plastic? Is it okay for knives or does it dull them? Need to know before I proceed.
I have plastic cutting boards for raw meat of any kind, and as you say they're great because they can be bleached or put in the dishwasher to be cleaned and sanitized.

I currently have bamboo cutting boards for other things, made by Totally Bamboo, including this large end-grain butcher block:

In the past I've had other cutting boards made of various hard woods, so I think I have some basis for comparison. Both are good, in my experience, and the decision of which to buy pretty much comes down to price and appearance.

Many people will tell you that bamboo is too hard and will dull your knives quickly. I have not found that to be the case; my knives maintain a fine edge for a long time. Granted, I do use the steel on them quite frequently, and sharpen them now and then, but I've not noticed any significant difference in how quickly they dull on the bamboo boards.

I've read other comments about bamboo having more resin than hardwood boards, that it's somehow less sanitary, etc., etc., but I think that's mostly industry hype.

One other positive thing about bamboo -- it's actually a member of the grass family, not a tree, and it grows like crazy. It's thus "greener" in the sense that bamboo is a sustainable resource; using it prevents the destruction of ancient hardwood forests. And I like the way it looks, too.

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Old 02-23-2009, 10:31 AM   #32
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GB - The board I use is edge grain.

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Old 02-23-2009, 10:36 AM   #33
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I would bet you would have a different experience if you tried end grain. It is quite a bit more expensive, but with good reason.
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Old 02-23-2009, 03:51 PM   #34
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Originally Posted by Lewi View Post
Sanitary wise - Depends on how you see it. You can get deep cuts in both wood and poly and at my restaurant the board will start changing color in these cuts.
It really depends on whether you believe scientific studies or not - UC-Davis Food Safety Laboratory: Cutting Board Research
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Old 02-23-2009, 05:35 PM   #35
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Originally Posted by GotGarlic View Post
It really depends on whether you believe scientific studies or not - UC-Davis Food Safety Laboratory: Cutting Board Research
I believe I'll go with the scientific studies as opposed to a layman's guess.

It's end grain hard wood or Sani-Tuff for me. Has to be I guess. I have both. Last time I saw bamboo was at Jungle Survival School at Clark Air Force Base in the Philippines. I decided to leave it there.

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Old 02-23-2009, 07:36 PM   #36
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I have a couple of Epicurean boards that I LOVE! The are strong and light and clean well. I like the weight because they are easy to lift and take to a pan on the stove.

My favorite one is 10" x 22"

The stuff they make these boards from is manufactured near Portland OR and has been used in construction for several years. They make outdoor skateboard ramps out of it and a bunch of other bizarre stuff.
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Old 02-24-2009, 05:44 AM   #37
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The Epicurean boards are made from MDF, medium density fiberboard, which is wood flour and small pieces mixed with a waterproof resin. The resins make it very hard, waterproof and heavy.

I have used waterproof MDF in a cabinet shop that was used for medical purposes, rather in a medical teaching lab where the cabinetry had to be hosed down and disinfected daily after use. Although the boards are quite expensive, the material is downright cheap. (I saw that the local Outback restaurant has changed over to this type. I researched the boards and found that I could make them for 48 cents each and they were paying $5 to $6 each.)

As for bamboo, it is still grass, requires an extreme amount of glues and resins to adhere all the small pieces, is finished with an organic mystery oil and is made in shops in the Orient that are not as clean and worker friendly as here in the USA.

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