That tastes good! Naturally abacterial wood
Austrians call it Brettljause and refer to cold dishes such as ham, salami, pickles, horseradish, sometimes tomatoes, radishes and, of course, cheese. Typically, it is all served on a wooden board. According to the latest clinical studies, it is not only authentic but also the perfect tray for treats in terms of hygiene.
Before the age of plastics, wood was the material the butcher used to dismember meat and the vessel to turn milk into cheese. The universal cooking spoon is made of wood! A rolling pin made of solid beech wood – sometimes used to reprimand husbands – is a necessity of any bakery. Even today, traditional bakeries make their gingerbread using old wooden moulds, some of which are up to 400 years old. In many places, though, wood has been replaced by plastic or silicone. But are these artificial materials actually more hygienic than wood?
Quite the contrary! In clinical studies, small drops of water with test bacteria were applied to glass, steel, plastic and various types of wood. The surprising result: while the complete concentration of bacteria was still present on the synthetic materials, the bacteria on the wooden surface fought for survival without success.
But what trick did Mother Nature use here and why? The answer to why is easy to find: trees are usually several decades or even centuries old. Bacteria and root fungi would get in the way of their longevity. So what does a tree do to keep the annoying little pests away from its trunk or bark?
Bacteria need moisture to grow and multiply. That’s why a tree ensures that its surface remains dry. The wood cells siphon off water and moisture. The result? Germs dry up and die off. The other weapon is its own antibacterial substances such as resins or acids. That’s why real incense, for example, which is nothing more than the resin from frankincense trees, is attributed with anti-inflammatory, analgesic and antimicrobial properties. In the East, people chew incense for the purpose of oral hygiene just like chewing gum.
So if wooden boards are so hygienic, does it mean also that you can also „eat off the ground?“ If the ground is a naturally oiled parquet floor which is cleaned regularly, the answer is yes!
By the way, it is worth mentioning that wooden household products are sustainable. What can be said of wooden boards, spoons or bowls which is not true of plastic is that their fundamental raw material is crude oil. In this sense, enjoy your meal in good, green conscience!