Category Archives: Life and style

Swallow This review – horror stories from the food factories

Joanna Blythman reveals the dangers lurking within even supposedly healthy convenience food in this outstanding investigation Continue reading…
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Stanley Tucci: Take what’s in front of you and make it something else. That’s art

The Hunger Games actor, director and author of two cookbooks on why he feels settled in London, why preparing food is like art, and being a father, fourth time around, at 54

One of the pleasures of lunch with Stanley Tucci is that it gives me the excuse, beforehand, to rewatch his film Big Night, easily the best movie ever made about running a restaurant. It’s 20 years since Tucci co-wrote (with his cousin), co-directed and starred in his homage to the Italian immigrant experience in New York but the battle lines – between the two brothers Primo and Secondo, purist chef and drowning maître d at their restaurant Paradise – remain as fresh as ever. “People should come just for the food!” Primo (Tony Shalhoub) repeats, as a mantra, refusing to compromise his cooking for American tastes. “I know that, I know,” Secundo – Tucci – mutters, desperate, “but they don’t …”

“It always seemed to me,” Tucci says, when we talk about the genesis of that film “that running a restaurant is kind of accidentally poetic. I don’t have a brother or anyone in my family who worked in the restaurant business, but that idea of expressing love through food has been and is an important one in my life.” Also he says, Big Night was his personal antidote to the prevailing cinematic idea of Italian Americans. “I wanted to tell that story without the mafia being involved in it. I mean, I grew up in that community, I never met anyone in the mafia. None of my family ever met anyone in the mafia. That kind of violence was never a feature of our lives.”

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Len Deighton’s new Cookstrips No 4: last-minute soups

Last-minute guests can be great fun, but squeezing extra portions out of a chicken or pork chops is a challenge. I add an extra course: soup. Serve it in a bowl or a shot glass there’s always enough to go around.

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Posted in Art and design, Food & drink, Life and style, Soup, World news | Comments Off

Men’s fashion jury: ‘Never has a man fallen so fast and so far in the style stakes as Jared Leto’

Fashion hit or sartorial disaster? Our judges put Kanye West, Shia LaBeouf, Aidan Turner, Lewis Hamilton and Jared Leto under the style microscope

Helen Seamons Guardian men’s fashion editor; Ronnie O’Sullivan Five-time world snooker champion; Alan Johnson Former home secretary; Mark-Francis Vandelli Star of E4’s Made In Chelsea.

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Rachel Billington: My grandfather’s sacrifice at Gallipoli

Rachel Billington began to research her grandfather’s war record – he was killed at Gallipoli during the first world war. What she found, revealed Tom’s quiet bravery and the catastrophic effect of his death on her father, Frank, Lord Longford, the Labour politician and prison reformer

Rachel Billington never met her grandfather Tom, but family history had him down as rather dull. Unlike some of her relatives he was never a great scholar or a famous writer; and when her grandmother fell in love with him, her side of the family regarded him as an uninspiring catch.

Until a few years ago, all Rachel knew about him was that he had died at Gallipoli, during the first world war. Then she found letters he had written home from Egypt to his wife and six children, and something in their tone captivated her. “I realised what a sweet, charming man he was. It was clear how much he adored his family; his letters were full of stories about animals and the sea, and he would do little drawings of flags and ships to make them more interesting for the children.”

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Brompton Bicycles – the unfolding saga of a two-wheeled success story

A growing army of urban devotees has transformed the folding bike from a niche product into a cult classic boosting turnover 15-fold in just 13 yearsAbdul El Saidi peers over the shoulder of a young trainee as he delicately traces the white-hot tip of …
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Cheating the system: from chess to pub quizzes, how technology has made breaking the rules easier than ever

The Georgian chess master rumbled this week for using a hidden smartphone to plan his moves is far from alone – and as our access to an infinite online stock of information gets ever faster and more portable, the question is: are we on the brink of an epidemic?

It was in Abu Dhabi that Tigran Petrosian first became suspicious. During a match in the Al Ain Classic chess tournament last December, the Armenian world No 96 noticed that his opponent, the Georgian world No 400, Gaioz Nigalidze, kept going to the toilet. Under the pressure of competition, that might be understandable. It is also, as every chess player knows, how you cheat. In 1997 it needed Deep Blue, one of the world’s most powerful supercomputers, to narrowly defeat the world champion, but now everybody’s phone can do it easily. As a result, phones are banned from the playing space in all tournaments, and the ban is enforced with body scanners at the top ones. Only in the toilets do you get a bit of privacy.

Whatever he was doing in the toilet in Abu Dhabi, Nigalidze won that competition. But Petrosian says his opponent was at it again at the Dubai Open last Saturday. “Nigalidze would promptly reply to my moves and then literally run to the toilet,” he told chess-news.ru. “Twice, I made my moves promptly as well, so that he couldn’t leave, and he made mistakes on those occasions. Then I decided to keep an eye on him. I noticed that he would always visit the same toilet partition, which was strange, since two other partitions weren’t occupied.”

Cheating – the old-fashioned way

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Hundreds of mental health experts issue rallying call against austerity

400 counsellors, psychotherapists and others sign letter saying ‘society thrown completely off balance’ by ‘emotional toxicity of neoliberal thinking’

Austerity cuts are having a “profoundly disturbing” impact on people’s psychological wellbeing and the emotional state of the nation, hundreds of counsellors, psychotherapists and mental health experts have said in a letter to the Guardian.

They said an “intimidatory disciplinary regime” facing benefits claimants would be made worse by further “unacceptable” proposals outlined in the budget.

We certainly don’t want mental health treatments that violate all of our notions of … consent

Related: Why mentally ill people are an easy target for the Tories | Nick Cohen

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Hate selfie sticks, or just young women having fun?

In an age of faux empowerment, it’s worth celebrating people who don’t hate their face. Even better if they’re having fun while not hating their face

Another day, another pretentious proclamation that the selfie stick is the last frontier of narcissism. Or some lazy characterisation like that.

Following hot on the tail of Coachella, Lollapalooza and Soundwave, music festival Splendour in the Grass has announced a ban on the selfie stick.

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Some shop-bought sandwiches more calorific than burgers

Lunch items from Pret a Manger, Caffè Nero, Marks & Spencer and Asda among those found by Which? to contain high levels of fat and sugar

Supposedly healthy lunchtime sandwiches and salads from supermarkets and high street coffee shops can contain more calories and fat than burgers and pizza, consumer group Which? has warned.

At a time when many people are trying to make healthier eating choices, new analysis by the organisation has found that some sandwiches, pastas and salads have high levels of fat, sugar and salt, for example because of the addition of mayonnaise-based dressings. Just one tablespoon (around 15g) of mayonnaise contains 101 calories and 11g of fat.

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