Over the holidays, we spent several days at my inlaws', including a New Year's Eve celebration that had me cooking a pretty substantial meal. It's always a little hectic cooking in someone else's kitchen, figuring out where the bowls are, how hot the oven runs, etc. But I've really always felt a little off my game in my mother in law's kitchen, and on this trip, I finally placed it:
She doesn't have anything wood. No wooden spoons, no wooden cutting board, not even a wooden salad bowl. Nothing. All plastic.
This is exactly the opposite of my kitchen, where I use a LOT of wooden tools. I love my wooden spoons (two of which I've had for over 10 years, which I bought in Paris during a study aproad trip,) and a wooden butcher-block style board lives on my counter for chopping. I love the feel of wooden spoons and cutting boards, and really, really do not like the feeling of plastic.
I asked my mother in law about it, once I figured out what it was that felt different about her kitchen. "Oh, I would NEVER use wood," she said, scandalized. "You can't put them in the dishwasher, and they end up all fuzzy. So unsanitary!"
Research indicates that wood may be *more* sanitary than plastic, because its fibers draw bacteria away from the surface, where it dies, plus wood is somewhat self-healing, so you're less likely to end up with deep grooves where bacteria can hide.
But I'm curious: how do other people feel about wooden spoons and cutting boards? Do you use them, or do you prefer the dishwasher-safe plastic stuff?