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The Sound of Science - 'Cutting Boards'


Ann: Welcome to the Sound of Science. I’m Ann.

KC: And I’m K.C. with NIU STEAM.

Ann: Today we’re busting a common kitchen myth that tends to pop up this time of year.

KC: Ooh, is it that turkey makes you tired?

Ann: That’s a great guess, but the answer to that question is it’s not just the turkey making people tired. What we’re looking at is which cutting board material is the best option for your food, knives, and safety.

KC: That’s easy, I’ve always been told it’s plastic.

Ann: And lots of other people have always been told it’s wood. But in reality, the myth that one cutting board material is universally better than the other isn’t true. In fact, whether wood or plastic is better for cooking depends on multiple variables including what kind of food you’re cutting, how sharp your knives are, and the kind of plastic and wood used to make the board. 

KC: But what about safety? I was always told plastic was better because it’s non-porous.

Ann: Safety should always come first, especially in the kitchen. You’re right that plastic is non-porous and it’s easier to clean. However, it develops knife cuts faster, allowing bacteria more places to hide. Wood doesn’t develop knife cuts as fast and can be self-healing, but the up keep is more difficult, and the boards can warp and crack quickly if not taken care of, making them unsafe.

KC: Wow, I guess I need to go home and reevaluate my cutting boards.

Ann: Cutting boards? I’m glad to hear you have more than one.

KC: Of course! Having more than one cutting board helps prevent cross-contamination. Cross-contamination happens when germs and bacteria from one food contaminates a different food. In some cases, cross-contamination can make people sick, which is why it’s very important you never cut meat and non-meat items on the same cutting board. Some homes and restaurants even have color-coded cutting boards, with each board being reserved for a specific category of foods, like meats, dairy, root vegetables, and more. 

Ann: I think we’ve given our listeners some great ideas for this Holiday season.

KC: Thanks for joining us! This was the Sound of Science on WNIJ.

Ann: Where you learn something new every day.

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