In order to eat broccoli, one must chop broccoli, and chopping broccoli requires two things: A (sharp) blade and (stable) surface. In addition keeping your knives sharp, stabilizing your cutting board is a key part of a safer slicing, dicing, chopping experience. Cutting on a wobbly, sliding surface is dangerous, but luckily there are many ways you can keep a cutting board in place.
You can use a damp dish towel or paper towel, rubber bands, or a piece of shelf liner, but if you do a lot of baking, you most likely have another stabilizing tool at your disposal: The silicone baking mat (or Silpat, if you’re into French brands).
Like this little cheese crumbling hack, this one comes to us from Cook’s Illustrated’s July & August print magazine:
Many cooks like to steady their cutting board with a damp paper towel or dish cloth. Instead, Randy Andrews of Henderson, Nev., reaches for a silicone baking mat or trivet so that there’s nothing to waste or wash.
As a clumsy person who loves not wasting things and not washing things, I think this is an elegant hack. Similar to shelf liner, a silicone baking mat is endlessly reusable, and its natural stickiness means there’s no reason to get water involved as you would with a dish or paper towel.
As someone that doesn’t bake all that much, it feels good to have another use for the silicone baking mat currently sitting in my pantry, waiting and hoping to see a little action. Actually, all this talking about silicone mats has reminded me of their role in making crunchy peanut brittle which, unlike baked goods, is something I actually enjoy making. Perhaps I’ll use one to secure my cutting board next time I chop peanuts for brittling.