Remember your carefree days as a baton twirler in your high school marching band? Well, this has nothing to do with that.
Step 1: Wash & peel Wash and peel the vegetable, if necessary.
Step 2: Grasp knife Grasp the knife in your dominant hand.
Step 3: Cut off ends Use your other hand to hold the vegetable firmly on the cutting board, and cut off the ends, keeping your fingers away from the blade.
Step 4: Grip vegetables Turn the vegetable onto its cut, flat surface, and hold it down close to the area you will cut, with your fingers curled under, finger tips firmly planted, and your knuckles pointed outward. This is called a 'claw grip.'
Step 5: Position knife Position your knife at a 90-degree angle to the vegetable's length, and cut it into pieces two inches long.
Step 6: Cut ends Cut the ends off of the vegetable, resulting in 4 long flat surfaces, so it resembles a block. This will make it easier to create uniform pieces.
TIP: Keep an empty bowl next to your cutting board to place trimmings in, so you don't have to run over to the garbage can to toss them out.
Step 7: Slice into slabs Position your knife parallel to the vegetable's length and slice the blocks into uniform slabs a quarter inch wide.
Step 8: Stack slabs & cut Stack the up slabs and cut them lengthwise again into quarter-inch strips, using a steady rocking motion of the blade. Congratulations, you now have a 'wood pile' of baton sticks.
FACT: Baton twirling caught on in the U.S. in the 1930's when bandleaders added flashy, twirling drum majorettes to their bands to broaden their appeal.