My New Favorite Binge: The British Baking Show

Posted on November 13, 2015 at 3:02 pm

I spent last weekend in bed with a cold and was immensely comforted by lots of chicken soup and binge-watching the British Bake-Off (called The British Baking Show on PBS), which I first heard about on the Slate Culture Gabfest. I happily went through the entire Season 5 on Netflix. On PBS, they’re showing Season 2.

It is great fun because no one is there to become rich and famous, there is no tiresome product placement, and no one is a drama diva, not even the celebrity judges, cookbook author Mary Berry and artisan baker Paul Hollywood. The contestants are amateurs, all endearingly earnest and immensely talented. Their love for what they do shines through every task put to them. And the tasks are very daunting, involving all kinds of exotic techniques and ingredients and design challenges. Everyone is there for the love of baking, and the competition never gets in the way. For those who want to learn more, YouTube has the masterclasses available, with Berry and Hollywood taking you through some of the series’ best recipes.

I’m pleased that Mary Berry is bringing the show to the US for a limited-series American version. But it will never match the simple bliss of the original.

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