There’s a long history of wooden dishes in Europe dating right back to the Iron Age. They only became less popular in the late 17th and early 18th centuries with the advent of inexpensive glazed pottery. Recently though wooden plates and bowls are gaining in popularity as an eco friendly tableware choice. But are they right for you?
First off, wood’s a natural material. This means it’s biodegradable and renewable. Biodegradable means it’s easily broken down and recycled by nature. It will return to the soil, adding nutrients, if left outside for a few years. Renewable means it can be replaced by growing more. Therefore, provided we replace the trees we use with the same amount then wood is a sustainable material.
Handling a wood bowl or cup is a very tactile, satisfying experience. Using wooden plates, bowls and dishes can strengthen this connection to nature in our daily lives. As a consequence we’ll increase our sense of well being.
Another great characteristic of wood is its durability. Good quality wooden tablewares is exceptionally long lasting and ages well. If cared for woodware will retain its good looks year after year. It’s toughness also means it can withstand the rigours of daily family mealtimes. Breakages and chips are a rare occurrence.
It’s a misconception that wooden surfaces are dirtier or somehow not as clean as otehr surfaces. Dr Dean Cliver, Professor of Food Safety at the University of California, undertook research comparing bacteria levels on wooden and plastic chopping boards. Hi found that wood actually retains less bacteria than plastic. It has also been proved that wood is naturally antibacterial.
If anything would be on the negative side it would be the hand wash only part! Beeing a natural material wood is not made for dish washers with strong detergent.