Knives are a cooks best tool, and therefore have a very close relationship with the chopping board. As good knives are an investment, they need to be cared for, a wooden board is far more forgiving than other work surfaces, so your knives will not loose their ‘edge’ as quickly.
My personal preference has always been for a wood board. Having said that, I do like the better quality thin, flexible, chopping mats available at speciality kitchenware shops. These I just use on top of my wooden board when prepping lots of different ingredients, as it saves time washing the board all the time, and of course, cross contamination of foods.
While wooden boards were once considered less hygienic than plastic, recent studies at the University of California suggest otherwise. When bacteria colonies on washed marble, plastic and wood were measured ans compared, wood won hands down.
To view the full report : http://health.ninemsn.com.au/whatsgoodforyou/theshow/694161/which-chopping-board-is-worse-for-spreading-germs
My trusty wooden board has been on my benchtop for years. I discovered it had a 4mm ‘divet’ in the centre – no wonder I was finding it difficult to chop some foods ! Luckily I have a friend with a serious workshop and he has brought it back to new. I was about to coat the ‘new’ timber with a vegetable oil until I did a little research.
I discovered that a food grade mineral oil was the most recommended oil, followed closely by walnut oil. I had some of this in the pantry, so that is what I used. All of your wooden spoons, cutting boards, salad tongs, etc. need to be periodically oiled to avoid drying out and cracking. Most cooking oils will oxidize and become rancid after a few days, so don’t use olive or vegetable oil for this purpose. Walnut oil is completely nontoxic and you won’t have to worry about it spoiling.
GET A GRIP
DON’T FORGET TO STABILISE YOUR BOARD ON THE BENCH WHEN IN USE. Always make sure your board sits firmly on your work surface and does not slide around, as this can lead to accidents. A damp kitchen cloth, or even damp folded paper towel, underneath the board works well.
As I have my board permanently on my benchtop, I have screwed four little rubber feet on the underside. These are readily available from the hardware store and stop the board moving, while letting air circulate underneath it.