Apple on a Chopping Board

Friday non-food treat: October2 minute read

Food should be enjoyable—but it shouldn’t be your greatest source of joy. Each month I focus on a non-food treat that’s boosting my happiness, in the hope that you’ll find some pleasure in it too!

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For anyone who loves food, a chopping board is a functional thing. Whether you’re dicing onions, crushing garlic or quartering tomatoes, it’s here where meals begin. It’s the meal that’s the thing of beauty—the chopping is simply the enabler.

Or so I thought. My husband, who’s artistic eye puts my utilitarian outlook to shame, has taught me that useful things can also be pretty. Our house is full of such items; never did I imagine, for example, that I’d own a reclaimed wheel for a coffee table, or a smooth marble toothbrush holder.

The latest addition to our pretty-but-useful collection is this chopping board. And I must admit, I now spend a good few seconds staring at it before any sort of knife work begins. It’s made from an olive tree, and the rough edge is the outline of the trunk it as appeared when it was alive.

Not that this tree was felled to be a chopping board. The company behind this beautiful creation, The Rustic Dish, only uses trees that have come to the natural end of their fruiting life. The boards are then cut and shaped by hand, so each one is different.

I love that the board is made from wood (like many, we’re slowly trying to rid our cupboards of plastic) and I also love that it isn’t the result of unnecessary destruction. I adore the fact that it makes an excellent serving board for cheese.

The silliness of waxing lyrical about a chopping board isn’t lost on me. But really, it’s not about the chopping board. Rather than whipping out the usual plastic slab, I now take the time to look at the whirls and whorls of this special piece. I sometimes consider the tree that made it, and it makes me that much more reflective about the food I’m preparing to sustain my own life.

I suppose the purpose of any sort of art—if indeed there should be a purpose—is to capture your attention, pulling you into the moment. It’s that sense of presence that had a dramatic impact on your mindset. If happens often enough, it can have a profound effect on your life.

Some people enjoy a Caravaggio print, while others pour over a Bosch. Me? I just gaze at my chopping board.

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