Slow Food and Essential Tools

Slow Food is a global, grassroots organization, founded in Italy to stop the disappearance of local food cultures and traditions, counteract a fast lifestyle and tackle people’s dwindling interest in the food they eat, where it comes from and how our food choices affect the world around us. It has the view of appreciating both the process of making and eating food. Taking the time to enjoy quality food in the company of others. Slow Food encourages cooking from scratch with what is available locally and grows naturally as well as awakening ones natural curiosity about how and where food is grown and who are the producers of your food.

If one takes this approach to all aspects of food then that will naturally extend to the methods and tools used to prepare food. The feel of the perfect spatula, the sharpness of your knife, the quality of your pots and pans; all contribute to the pleasure of food preparation and consumption. Slow Food doesn’t strive to increase a materialistic and replaceable economy but to develop and create a sustainable one. Choosing durable and lasting cooking tools becomes a quest that represents both your style and your values. Finding the “right tool for the job” actually means that you will not need another and eventually you can pass that one on; it becomes an heirloom. You have a tool for life. Realizing that you only need what is necessary expands and contracts with your lifestyle.

Slow Food believes food is tied to many other aspects of life, including culture, politics, agriculture and the environment. At Larch Wood we feel that we are part of the forestry version of Slow Food. We aim to promote and support the diversified forest and all of the organic and inorganic elements that diversification brings.

Our chopping blocks are not only the perfect tool for food preparation but for food presentation as well. They are a handcrafted product made with a locally grown wood, the Larch, that is sustainable and durable. Our cutting boards, chopping blocks and countertops are constructed in a traditional manner with a contemporary design.

Key features of a classic chopping block
• end grain surface (easy on knives)
• adequate thickness (for the knives being used)
• adequate surface area for the tasks
• correct ergonomic height for the work
• stability or immovability
• proper drainage or aeration (avoid water damage)
• adequately oiled (avoid cracking)
• designed for one main use

Additional key features of the ‘modern’ chopping block
• minimum thickness dependant on surface area
• customizable
• greater range of woods to choose from
• can be used for multiple purposes
• adds a textural or design element
• can be a table or counter and chopping on is a secondary function

Features of portable end grain chopping blocks
• modern kitchen sized
• no slip rubber feet
• lighter weight
• easy to pick up
• can be used for service and presentation in the same way as an edge-grain board

One of the values of the Slow Food Movement is minimising waste or redundancy. At Larch Wood we use every part of the log in our making. The outer ‘slab’ wood is sold to our neighbours for winter burning and for various building projects. The sawdust from the milling and finishing of the boards is shared amongst our local farmers for animal bedding. The wood that doesn’t make the cut or is cut off in the process of making a board is bagged and sold locally as inexpensive kindling. We also burn our slabs to help heat our kiln, offices and workshops. This makes us less reliant on other sources of energy.

We at Larch Wood are reflective of Cape Breton’s forests and beauty. We prefer small-scale harvesting methods and our wood is harvested locally, purchased from small independent contractors who help select the Larch we use. Our unique and durable products are both enjoyable to the senses and practical for every day life. Wood is one of the most natural surfaces to prepare food on. It harkens back to an earlier era and is actually better at managing bacteria growth than plastics.

It’s a feel thing. 😉