The Government is coming for your to ability to cook anything other than frozen fish fingers – and people should be angry.
If you haven’t been keeping up with this news, the BBC are looking to make cut-backs of £15 million to their online services in line with the latest decree from Culture Secretary John Whittingdale, who has said that the Beeb must focus on ‘distinctive’ content as opposed to being all things to all people.
The latest decision will see the BBC Food website archived – with more than 11,0000 searchable recipes taken offline.
In addition to this, recipes from all upcoming TV foodie offerings will now be available for only a 30 day period before being taken down.
This is really terrible news. The BBC’s recipes are one of the site’s flagship features, and people are rightfully annoyed that they’re going (a petition to save the recipes has reached 24,000 readers at the time of writing).
If you’re wondering why this archiving should have you mashing your peas in frustration – let’s mark out the reasons why you should back the Beeb’s recipes.
Food content is front and centre of the BBC
From the success of Great British Bake Off to Saturday Kitchen to The Hairy Bikers – programming based around the love of food is second only to the Beeb’s drama programming.
It’s something that the channel has done consistently better than its commercial competitors for decades and continues to do so. Is it not bizarre that while your TV continues to dish out new foodie treats, the website’s foodie offerings are refrigerated?
It’s an incredible free tool
In countries where commercial networks are King, they would literally spit out their pecan pie at the idea of a huge encyclopaedia of 11,000 recipes available at the click of the button.
That’s a pretty amazing tool, and one where the internet has opened up culinary options to a wider audience than any cookbook could ever reach.
It’s a sign of quality
We’ve all been there. You’re looking to make your very first aubergine lasagne to impress a date / friend / your own belly. You tentatively type into your search engine and The Beeb appears, offering an easy-to-follow recipe complete with a mouthwatering photo and possibly a culinary name you know and trust.
No other site offers that warm familiarity – a sense of an experienced hand guiding yours as you chop into an onion.
An historic record
Food is more than just a way to stop those weird gurgles in your stomach. It’s about the art of cooking, tastes, texture, culture and history. Recipes from the BBC’s globe-trotting chefs such as Keith Floyd and Rick Stein open up a world outside our own borders, first beamed in on our TV screens and then available to revisit online.
It’s not all about the wider world though: the BBC recipes from the likes of Delia Smith also tell us a lot about our culture and attitude to food over the last 30 years. It’s as much as historic archive as a commercial product.
Inspiring a generation of new chefs
For younger generations, culinary adventures began with the Beeb’s digital output.
Once you’ve grown tired of instant noodles and beans on toast, BBC Food is an incredible opportunity to branch out, try something new and open yourself up to new possibilities in the kitchen. How many potential culinary greats could be put off, by not having that easy first step?