"Preheat oven to 250 °C, add three teaspoons of salt into water, rinse and peel the asparagus and wait 30 minutes before cooking…" If you are craving asparagus au gratin after reading these lines, you can find the rest of the recipe online, on any number of cooking websites … Or, until a few days ago, smack in the middle of an official Belgian government decree.
An asparagus and Cantal cheese recipe was found, lost in the text of a new law on the price of medicine, published by the Federal Public Justice Service of Belgium. After further investigation, French daily La Voix du Nord found that the cooking recipe belongs to Marmiton, a popular cooking website in France and Belgium.
If asparagus lovers might be pleased, Belgian daily La Libre reports that lawyers had mixed feelings about the odd copy-and-paste incident. "Sometimes, we see errors or glitches in a text. But a cooking recipe… Never!," says the anonymous lawyer who first shared the news to radio channel RTL.
Belgian justice officials tried to downplay the situation, explaining that the document isn't the official publication of the legislative text, only a database and has no standing legal value. The mistake has been fixed since then, before the final version of the document was approved.
Government lawyers apparently get a second chance — no such luck in the kitchen!