We've expressed our distaste for formica before, and though many think it's the only way to go if you don't want to spend the dough on marble or butcher block, that's absolutely not the case! Check out this how to, where you can literally put the plywood directly on top of your old kitchen counter...
So it's actually plywood veneer, and for best results it's a good idea to get strips of the real wood (if you're going for maple veneer, get some pieces of actual maple, etc), to line the sides so there's no telltale line of plywood on the side. Still, much less expensive than a real slab of wood.
See the full instructions from This Old House.
Via: Reclaimed Home