Cutting boards are the workhorses of the kitchen. But they’re equally at home in the dining room or living room, as casual serving platters.
“Boards are just so beautiful and easy,” said Shelly Westerhausen, the author of the cutting-board-focused cookbook Platters and Boards (Chronicle Books) and the founder of the blog Vegetarian Ventures.
“I’ve always loved the way you can serve a robust meal” — an impressive spread with a range of choices — “but still have it cater to everyone,” she said, including guests with different preferences and dietary restrictions.
So why limit yourself to just one? While a single board could certainly do double duty, Ms. Westerhausen recommended having several, some for food preparation and others for displaying the meal.
“An everyday item that I’m gong to keep handy on my counter,” she said, “is going to get a lot of wear and tear.”
Unless you’re careful, she added, you could “end up with a bunch of knife marks” on your favorite serving platter.
What’s the best material for a cutting board? Ms. Westerhausen prefers various kinds of wood and bamboo, but “for a serving board, you could also do marble, slate or pink salt,” she said.
What’s the ideal size? In the kitchen, “I usually use an 18-by-24-inch, because it’s not too big to store, but also fits well on the counter,” she said, but smaller is often better when it comes to serving.
Can any slab of wood serve as a cutting board? Definitely not. “Make sure that your cutting board has a food-safe finish,” Ms. Westerhausen said, like mineral oil or beeswax.
Organic Cutting Boards
Shapely cutting boards in oak or maple
From $75 each at Hawkins New York: 844-469-3344 or hawkinsnewyork.com
Slate Cheese Board
Natural stone serving board
$22 at Anthropologie: 800-309-2500 or anthropologie.com
Tumbling Block Boards
Cutting boards made with end-grain maple, walnut and cherry
From $175 each at Jayson Home: 800-472-1885 or jaysonhome.com
Dansk Niklas Round Paddle Board
Acacia wood board with integrated handle
$50 at West Elm: 888-922-4119 or westelm.com