The wooden bread board that has served us for the last twenty years finally gave up the ghost a few months back and it has been a challenge to get a suitable replacement.
The old board acquired during the early years of our marriage was a simple circle of wood that we used to slice bread on. A simple shake and wipe after each use kept it clean and about once a week it got a run through the dishwasher. I can't recall exactly where we got it but I know it wasn't an expensive product. It was simple and robust and it did the job for many years before old age finally caught up with it and it cracked in two.
Aside: My father worked in the building trade and when I was growing up he kept us supplied with solid wood chopping boards cut from stair treads. These were virtually indestructible so I was not surprised at the longevity of our humble cutting board.
When I first went looking for a replacement I was surprised to find that bread boards appear to have moved on in the last twenty years. House-ware stores now display an array of designer products in many shapes and sizes carved from exotic woods. These magnificent products (with equally magnificent price tags) promised to transform our humble kitchen in to an oasis of holistic sustainability. I was somewhat sceptical of these far fetched claims but still in need of surface on which to cut my daily bread so I bought one.
I was a little taken aback to when the instructions explained that such a refined cutting board should never be cleaned with soap and water and in particular should never ever see the inside of a dishwasher. Instead various complicated rituals involving the thighs of vestal virgins and the refined oils of exotic fruits and nuts would be required.
Life is too short to go searching out vestal virgins just so one can slice bread so I simply left the board in our kitchen to fend for itself. It lasted less than a week before warping and splitting into fragments.
I spent the next few months in a frustrating hunt for a better replacement. I went to far as to buy two more over priced slabs of wood but each also fell apart in turn when they were subjected to my family's understanding of "normal wear and tear".
I had almost given up hope when I stumbled across a simple circular board on sale for €3.99 in a local discount shop. To hell with €20 and €30 designer boards. This was more like it. I bought one and put it to use that day. It has stood up to the rigours of cutting and washing (including the dishwasher) for three weeks and no exotic oils nor virgins have been required. Highly recommended. I am tempted to buy another simply to keep in storage for twenty years time.
If you are interested it is this exact product: http://www.apollohousewares.co.uk/products/details/idProduct/1533/
The material is marked Hevea Wood which I believe comes from the rubber tree.