A new exhibition has invited artists to produce perfumes on themes ranging from holographic pop stars to panda sex. Christopher Hirst sniffs out the stories behind them
The main lesson from Eatymologies is never argue with an American etymologist
Pulitzer Prize-winning restaurant reviewer Jonathan Gold has shrugged off his disguise. Christopher Hirst spills the beans
Silver Street, Whitby, North Yorkshire (01947 605383)
Originally a ropery, then a dockside boozer, the building dates from 16 May 1884
Three hospitals in Leicester have banned their staff from drinking tea and coffee in public areas. Christopher Hirst explains why he thinks that a cuppa is every worker's right
Despite its in-built defect – the interdict on hesitation, repetition and deviation frustrates any but the briefest joke or anecdote – Just a Minute is a classic example of Radio 4's strange power. The chairman Nicholas Parsons, now, amazingly, in his 90th year, admits that the show "disregards the basic rules" for telling funny stories. "Instead, [its] success is based on improvisation and ad-libbing by bright, intelligent and witty people sparking off each other."
Sutton Park, Sutton-on-the-Forest, York (01347 810852)
A park may be the "lungs of the city", a phrase first applied to Hyde Park then enthusiastically appropriated for New York's Central Park, but it can also be "a landscape of love", according to Elizabeth Bowen and, somewhat more prosaically, "essentially, a dog's toilet". Such is the view of Amanda Coe, who in this park-life anthology, muses that the bodily functions of Elizabeth Barrett's pampered Flush may have been "delegated to an obliging footman… armed, perhaps, with a discreet silver trowel".
The exotic rum, pineapple and coconut concoction was made Puerto Rico's 'official beverage' in 1978
"This is not a political manifesto," insists Gordon Brown at the conclusion of his predictably slanted contribution to the referendum debate. This is true. Perhaps his argument for Scotland staying in the UK would have benefited from a bit more political grit. His book is, however, heartfelt, well-informed and persuasive – if you can stay the course. Unfortunately, its relentless didacticism will have limited appeal, especially among the 98,000 16 and 17-year-olds whose votes may be crucial.
The Westwood, New Walk, Beverley, East Yorkshire (01482 881999). Around £120 for two, including wine. Set menu £22.50 for three courses (Tue-Fri)
Spaghetti should never go with bolognese, and salad should be tossed 33 times in its dressing...
"If a man can write a better book, preach a better sermon or make a better mousetrap than his neighbour," runs the ancient Yankee saw, "though he build his house in the woods, the world will make a beaten path to his door."
'I was lured into the restaurant by a pot of lemon posset'
The Independent and Independent on Sunday's Christopher Hirst was recently voted Food Writer of the Year at the Fortnum & Mason Food & Drink Awards. Here, he reveals how he first discovered a taste for his profession…