With a raised edge to contain juices and a lip designed to hook the edge of the countertop — holding this board securely in place — this polyethylene cutting board from Acrylic Plastic Products adds useful new features to an already popular design.
I’ve worked with polyethylene cutting boards since the early ’70s, both at home and in restaurant kitchens, and there are very logical reasons that these rugged and sanitary boards are the industry standard. Slip them into a dishwasher, punch the button on the control panel, and they’re clean. The surface yields just enough to a cutting edge that the blade doesn’t dull faster than normal. The flawless new surface of a poly board gives bacteria and food particles no hiding places — sanitize regularly during use and cross contamination isn’t a worry.
Poly boards are slick and do skate a lot during use unless you fold a towel under them or work on a rubber mat. The dropped lip on this board doesn’t completely solve problems, but it does help. A paper towel or two under the main board makes it even more secure. Fourteen-and-a-half inches is actually a lot of working space unless you’re using a very large chef’s knife, so the raised lip shouldn’t get in the way of most techniques.
Poly boards raise only a few concerns. Some of today’s best knives use very hard steel which chips if used improperly, and poly boards grab knife edges as they slide across the surface. With an ordinary knife, you can feel that when mincing herbs and slicing vegetables, but there’s no real damage to less tempered steel. The hardest steel could chip under that same pressure, so be sure this board matches the quality of your own cutlery. For the best knives, you’ll need to learn new methods.
Poly also scars, developing cuts and grooves that could harbor germs. Dishwashers are the best treatment for poly boards, but badly worn boards should be replaced. At least for the home, consider a good bamboo cutting board as a more permanent replacement.