In a recent post on mezzaluna, I showed the cutting board at my parents' house, and Lisa of Champaign Taste noted that it looked "like it was meant to be pulled out from under the counter." If I remember correctly, that cutting board was part of the kitchen table in the apartment where we lived until I was about 16. The kitchen furniture was custom-built when my parents moved into the apartment, their first after getting married. That table had two other items you could pull out: spianatoia e matterello (kneading board and rolling pin).
In my current kitchen, there are two taglieri that I can pull out of the counter like drawers. I can't imagine doing without them. The top cutting board is the one I use most often and is dedicated to vegetables. The bottom one is reserved for chopping chocolate or nuts and for mixing a dough for which I don't need a lot of space, like in the case of my biscotti.
Both boards were recently refinished by a thoughtful and skillful friend, and they look beautiful. The eggplant you can see on the photo is called Listada de Gandia, a recent find at our farmers' market. It is described as Italian on several sites, but the name is not Italian. Gandia is a Spanish town on the Mediterranean Sea, and listado means striped in Spanish, so the name can be translated as: striped [eggplant] from Gandia.
There is no such thing as having too many taglieri in the kitchen (cucina), I think, so I have three more, all made of wood, that I use in various ways, including as photo props. The rectangular one was handmade for us: a really nice gift. I use it mostly to cut [my homemade] bread (tagliare il pane). The bread in the photo above includes whey from some of my fresh cheese as one of the ingredients.
The irregular-shaped one is made of olive wood (legno d'olivo) and was given to us as a gift by an Italian friend. I love to look at the lines of the wood. I like to use this board to bring to the table formaggio fatto in casa con le pere (homemade cheese and pears).
Plastic and silicone cutting boards are handy too. I have two small ones made of recycled plastic and use them as support for cheese that is being aged. So, I have a use for all types of cutting boards.
Two cut-related Italian expressions:
- Tagliare la corda means to slip (or sneak) away (literally, to cut the rope)
- Tagliare la testa al toro means to settle things once and for all, to deal decisively with a problem (literally, to cut the bull's head)