Published August 1, 2005. From Cook's Illustrated.
We found these to be a perfect supplement to a single cutting board.
In the test kitchen, we avoid cross-contamination (passing bacteria from one food to another) by using different cutting boards for meat, poultry, seafood, and vegetables. Restaurants often do the same thing, but having a cupboard at home devoted to four cutting boards seems excessive—and expensive.
Flexible cutting mats (also called chopping mats) are a perfect supplement to a single cutting board. They are thin enough to be rolled up like a newspaper yet sturdy enough to withstand the strike of a blade. Cut up chicken for a stir-fry, toss it out of the way in the sink, and then proceed, safely, with the veggies. Flexible mats are also great for transferring ingredients: Simply roll up the mat and funnel food right into the pan.
A set of two flexible cutting mats can cost as little as $5, but we liked a $10 set. All six mats are dishwasher-safe, and they are thicker (and stronger) than the competition.