09/05/2016 15:46 BST | Updated 10/05/2017 06:12 BST

BBC Recipes Being Cut From their Website Is More Than I Can Stomach

The Tories have crossed the line in their latest move to impose cuts on the BBC.

Ministers are planning to axe several 'soft' elements of the broadcaster's output, including travel advice and 'magazine' style features. But the most shocking casualty will be the removal of most of its cooking recipes, which range from a humble burger to a painfully fashionable kale and quinoa sauté.

The vast BBC Food library of over 11,000 recipes will reportedly be "scythed" from the broadcaster's site - a phrase that conjures images of decapitated broccoli heads, or a lasagne with all but the bottom layer brutally hacked away.

Anything that's not associated with a specific TV programme, that has been on recently, will be toast.

This is a massive error of judgment, and could even provoke a group of voters who previously didn't care about the BBC debate to make a fuss, as journalist Alex Spence pointed out today.

It's reported that the recipes are being dropped to answer criticism that the Beeb has become too unwieldy and should focus on its "bread and butter output" of news.

But BBC recipes are an under-appreciated wonder, and a useful and trustworthy resource in an internet full of dubious rubbish.


Like so many good things, I have only realised how much my life (and diet) depends on them now that I am about to lose them.

I often type the name of two or three ingredients in my fridge into a search engine with the word "recipe" in a sort of edible version of Cluedo (the aubergine, with the onion... in a casserole?) BBC Food always comes up first with reliable ideas.

The sheer scale of the site is what makes it wonderful. If you search for 'roast chicken' in the site you get over 500 recipes. There are 47 pasta salad recipes, and seven banoffee pies. (And what other website offers a side bar showing you things "also made with whipping cream" or "also made with dark chocolate" when you visit a banoffee pie recipe?)

The plans to kill off BBC 6 Music, and BBC Three's shift online have upset the public, but those changes were at least attempts to adapt to the changing media landscape. They affected our ears and eyes - but this would affect our stomachs.

Who asked us license fee payers? What's wrong with recipes?

Like a good cup of tea or a tasty pie (3,661 recipes for those are on hand on the site) the BBC's food section is one that appeals to all ages and all classes.

Elements of the BBC are undoubtedly in need of a trimming, but by culling recipes the government is simultaneously giving people less information to cook with, and also suggesting commercial sites (which could have more of a vested interest in what we eat, or be more open to sponsorship by unhealthy brands) should be the ones to tell us what to rustle up for dinner each night.

Recipes are timeless, they require minimal updating or maintenance on a website - so why remove what many people may have cooked and enjoyed, and want to cook again?

And why share only recipes linked to famous faces in recent programmes?

Sure, I'd trust Mary Berry with my life (and aspire to echo her impeccable sense of style) but there's something I trust even more.

Not Jamie, not fish-whispering Rick Stein with his melodious voice, butter-loving James Martin (who I just want to meet, and hug), not Gennaro Contaldo and Antonio Carluccio (the Italian uncles we wish we had), not even the boundless enthusiasm of the Hairy Bikers can inspire the trust I place in our national broadcaster to gather a diverse, dependable selection of recipes, for the nation.