Sally in the Zen

Confessions of a Befuddled Zen Buddhist

Chopping Block

One day last week, when I got home in the late afternoon, Zen Mum was there in our little foyer waiting for me.  She looked forlorn, her brows crinkled in a frown.

Me:  “What’s wrong?”

Zen Mum:  “Our chopping board broke.”

Me:  “How did it break?”

Zen Mum:  “It dropped on the floor.”

Me:  “How did it drop on the floor?”

Zen Mum shrugged, that forlorn look still on her face.  We went into the kitchen and she showed me our chopping board.

This was actually an interesting dilemma because I’ve never had a board break before.  Now try saying that one fast.

Zen Mum:  “Bad quality.”

I nodded in agreement, not pointing out the fact that we had that chopping board for many years.

So in the following weekend, we went shopping for its replacement.  There are a number of Asian supermarkets in our area that commonly sell these things as well as other Asian appliances, like woks and whatnots. 

Here’s the kicker for the new chopping block:  it needed to be prepped before it could be used.  Hence the picture of the actual instructions that came with the new chopping block.  I certainly didn’t know about this.  And let me be the first to point out that although, yes, I am Chinese, that doesn’t mean anything because I still didn’t know that a chopping block needed to be prepped.

But of course Zen Master knew, him being a retired cook from Chinese kitchens. 

“Of course the chopping block needs to be prepared.”

According to the instructions written in Chinese, the block must be:

1.  Soaked in salty warm water for 24 hours, twice.

2.  After the second day of thorough soaking, it needed to be dried for 24 hours.

3.  After the drying period, it needed to be brushed with vegetable oil and dried for 24 hours, twice.

4.  Finally, it needed to be washed with soap and water before using.

So all in all, it took 5 days to prep and make ready our new chopping block.  Oh, for the curious, the dimensions for our new chopping block are 1 1/4 inches thick in width and 13-14 inches in length.  The length is a rough estimate because my one ruler was broken (short an inch) and I just used what I had.

According to Zen Master, Asian people know to prep chopping blocks.  With the exception for me, of course. 

Prepping is usually done for those blocks of wood that are sold in Asian supermarkets, not for the thinner boards like the one that was dropped in our kitchen.  The Asian chopping blocks are treated with something that makes proper preparation necessary before their usage.  Treated with what and how, I have absolutely no clue.  If someone knows the ins and outs for the wood treatment, feel free and let me know. 

On second thought, I think I don’t really want to know.  I’ll just be content to remain in ignorant bliss about the chopping block being used for my meals.

So, there you go.  Everything you needed and wanted to know about Asian chopping blocks.  Oh, and before I forget, this is not a paid advertisement for the Asian chopping block.  Just so we’re clear.

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