More than just a baking show

Great British Bake Off

Many EYB Members are admirers of The Great British Bake Off and the many cookbooks it has spawned. To its fans across the pond, The Great British Baking Show (as it’s known in the US) is a polite yet entertaining reality cooking show. But the show is far more than just another reality baking program, Tom Whyman tells The New York Times Magazine. Whyman contends that the show that helps explain modern Britain.

He likens the show to a battle to define the nation’s identity. He points to a recent challenge between the current season’s three remaining contestants. (Spoiler alert for non-UK viewers.) One of the contestants was “exactly the sort of middle-class stay-at-home dad you might expect to win a national baking competition that airs on the BBC.” His competitors, however, represented very different type of citizens: a gay doctor whose parents are from India and a hijab-wearing woman of Bangladeshi descent.

When the latter woman won the contest, Whyman noted that pundits pounced on the win to expound on what it meant for the country. “It was at this moment that I began to realize something,” he said. “The Baking Show” doesn’t just present a static, zombie image of an ideal Britain that can never exist. It defines the nation in a dynamic, living way. The outcome of the contest itself decides the image that the country holds of itself. For the Britain of today, it serves the function of an epic poem.” And we thought it was just a show about baking.

Post a comment

Seen anything interesting? Let us know & we'll share it!