RECIPES GOT YOUR KNICKERS IN A TWIST
Published: 20 May 2016
The impending demise of over 11,000 recipes currently held on the BBC website has galvanised the British public more than any internecine warfare over EU membership. Suddenly the people have their cause celebré and even if they spend a lot more time watching food being made instead of making it themselves, the removal of recipes means we can't even pretend we are going to make Coq-au-Vin for our in-laws using real Coq. But where has this vitriol come from—and where is it going?
Back in the old days, you could only learn a recipe from a family member or some dusty tome dug out of the well-funded local library. Copies of books would have the jotted notes of the hundred other people to have used it before you, daubed with obscenities and in generally poor shape. Then the internet came along, and suddenly every yahoo from here to Antarctica could post and share their favourite recipes. Power-chefs saw the advantage—it's why there are 11,000 supposedly unique recipes on the BBC.
The outcry was so pronounced that the powers that be at the BBC have decided instead to move most of the content over to their commercial arm, BBC Worldwide, instead of taking the recipes down altogether. Which is lucky, because according to one prominent British politician the absence of these recipes would make our lives “a little less easy”. As if that were a heinous crime to be deplored and thoroughly denounced, the minister in charge (John Whittingdale) insisted to the angry mob that it was nothing to do with him. So now the public have no one to tar and feather, much to their dismay.
Rival recipe websites are complaining that the move is 'cynical', an attempt to galvanise public backing at a time when the BBC is under threat, especially now that the recipes have been moved and not deleted. It's unlikely to make much of a dent in public opinion however, which seems to be firmly in the pro-Beeb camp. Part of this is because so many of the recipes on the website are from the chefs that appear in BBC programming—it's incredibly difficult to see the two entities as separate issues when chefs are celebrities who naturally support their employer. Ultimately it is true that millions of people use the BBC as a source for recipes and although it was paid for by the taxpayer, better recipes ensure better general health amongst the population—reducing the strain on the NHS and costing the taxpayer less.
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