Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Smaller portions

The Times (paywalled) says the BBC is about to cut back on its Food website, in response to the charge levelled by Chancellor George Osborne back in July, the tone of which was that carrying recipes is the protected job of national newspapers. 

The main bbc.co.uk/food site is impressive, with 130,000 recipes from 662 chefs, from Aaron Craze to Zoubida Batarfas. But, as far as I can seen, they've all come from programmes; some with a history tinge, like Escoffier and Mrs Beeton, some from the celebrity craze, like Gywneth Paltrow and Kirsty Wark, and some from shows looking at the diversity of the UK, from ordinary punters.  I haven't been able to identify any that might have been commissioned just for the website, so it'll be interesting to see if, and how, the numbers are cut, and on what grounds.

The list of chefs beginning with A gives an indicator of the range. Aaron Craze, Abbey Clancy, Abdon Manga, Abdul Yaseen, Adam Bennett, Adam Byatt, Adam Simmonds, Adriana Trigiani, African women's group, Aggi Sverrisson, Aiden Byrne, Ainsley Harriott, Aki Matsushima, Aktar Islam, Alain Roux, Alan Bennett, Alan Corduner, Alan Thorpe, Alastair Little, Aldo Zilli, Alex Kingston, Alex Lomax and Ed Bond, Alex Mackay, Alexa Chung, Alexis Gauthier, Ali Imdad, Alice Taylor, Alison Stringer, Allegra McEvedy, Alvin, Alyn Williams, Andre Garrett, Andre Hughes, Andre Queiroz and Anderson Queiroz, Andrew Blake, Andrew Fairlie, Andrew Pern, Andrew Turner, Andrew Wong, Andy Campbell, Andy Pearson, Andy Varma, Angela Boggiano, Angela Griffin, Angela Hartnett, Anh Vu & Van Tran, Anissa Helou, Anjie Mosher, Anjum Anand, Anna del Conte, Anna Hansen, Anna Jones, Anna Venturi, Annabel Karmel, Annabel Langbein, Annie Assheton, Anthony Demetre, Anton Edelmann, Anton Mosimann, Antonio Carluccio, Antonio Carluccio and Gennaro Contaldo, Antony Worrall Thompson, April Bloomfield, Arthur Potts Dawson, Ashely Palmer Watts, Atul Kochhar, Auguste Escoffier, Avis Davies.

If 130,000 seems intimidating, it's a back catalogue of nearly ten years, and looks like a logical multiplier if you consider the growth in BBC outlets, the growth in cookery shows, and the faster delivery of recipes within them (because the recipes are on the web).  And Auntie has history: 2LO in 1928 was carrying recipes for Pancake Day;  2ZY in Manchester in 1929 featured Miss Laverock with Old North Country Recipes (this week, Chorley Cakes and Eccles Cakes - the Real Recipe with some interesting Suggestions.

Many newspapers could get quite close to 130,000 that if they wished to present a growing archive; most have at least a recipe of the day, and pages more at weekends, and often, special supplements across the year. There is the wider issue of bbcgoodfood.com, the ad-carrying website made by BBC Worldwide, which has boasts 7,000 recipes associated with the BBC Good Food Magazine, and promoting the Good Food Channel and various Good Food roadshows and apps, etc. Does Osborne think that should be stopped ?

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