Whenever I get my cutting board out with friends or family, good things always happen. I remember chopping garlic and fresh ginger with my boyfriend (now my husband) on one of our first dates. We were hungry after playing tennis, and we had to find something in my kitchen for dinner. Afterward, he offered to scrub my stove. I was in love.
And it’s not just a woman thing.
Cutting boards are manly; don’t be tempted to apply the pioneer woman or 1950’s housewife stereotype. Have you seen Cake Boss, Bobby Flay, Alton Brown, or Emeril on the Food Network? This is why I can tell a group of men that good writing is a lot like good cooking. They nod their heads and start thinking about crème brulee and reduction sauces. It’s not a woman’s domain anymore.
So I have this theory about cutting boards and love. You start to love the people you cook with. You just do. Maybe it has something to do with working towards a common goal and enjoying the fruit of your shared labor. It’s hard to be angry with someone when he’s chopping the onion you need for the soup. It’s hard to be bitter and stressed out when you have to stand there rolling out pizza dough on a nicely floured cutting board. It has something to do with choosing to take the time to do it.
I’ve been stressed out today. Who isn’t? And I’ve been impatient with my daughter for demanding so much of my attention all day. And I’ve been mad about having to clean the bathrooms. I don’t have time for all this.
So I got out my cutting board. I didn’t have time to do this. It was lunchtime, and I asked my daughter if she wanted to make homemade pizzas. Of course! Really, Mom? Really? She sat by the counter, right by my side, spreading sauce on the crust and then sprinkling ridiculous amounts of cheese on top. She took her time, slowly spreading, slowing sprinkling. We relaxed as we waited for them to cook. Then we relaxed more as we ate them.
Then I hugged her. Then she hugged me.
The cutting board saves the day once again.
Living with flair means bringing out the cutting board precisely because I don’t have the time for it.