Christopher Hirst

Christopher Hirst is an award-winning food writer and freelance journalist.

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Hitler's Warrior by Danny S Parker - book review: Mysterious death of a war criminal who escaped the noose

Jochen Peiper's mysterious death in 1976 provides the ignition point for Parker's fascinating research

A Modern Way to Cook (Fourth Estate, £25) by Anna Jones

Books of the year 2014: The best books on food

A Modern Way to Cook by Anna Jones is packed with clever, original recipes that might tempt the most full-blooded carnivore, from smoky walnut and cumin muhammara to sweet potato tortilla with almond salsa

Books of the year 2014: The best art/gift books

From David Dawson's images of Lucian Freud to TS Eliot's Ariel Poems

1884 Dock Street Kitchen

1884 Dock Street Kitchen: Restaurant review

Originally a ropery, then a dockside boozer, the building dates from 16 May 1884
Ill at teas: some employees in wards in the East Midlands must now make do with water

A cup of tea is every worker's right

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

The Wisdom of Trees by Max Adams, book review: An obscure branch of knowledge, quirkily laid bare

Max Adams, a biographer of Admiral Collingwood, is also “a teacher of tree history” and a woodland manager.

Welcome to Just a Minute! by Nicholas Parsons - book review: 'Brilliant, superbly enjoyable…' – just not in book form

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."

Gin Glorious Gin, by Olivia Williams - book review: How mother's ruin became the toast of London

Even a decade ago, this lively historical cruise round the ocean of gin would have been a publishing non-starter. Towards the end of the last century, London's traditional spirit – neutral alcohol re-distilled with various flavourings and spices known as "botanicals" – was approximately as fashionable as the celluloid collar and the Marcel wave. According to Williams, London Dry Gin was "associated with Betjeman's twee vision of England – of golf clubs, tennis matches and dinner parties". You still encounter red-nosed Sixties types, who, though far from averse to other mind-altering substances, find the very mention of gin to be repugnant.

Travel books round-up: Wonders of the world, from cow wee to the 'waria'

Surely no country offers richer pickings for a cabinet of curiosities than India. The diverting assemblage in Sam Miller's A Strange Kind of Paradise: India through Foreign Eyes (Cape, £18.99) ranges from the putative appearance of St "Doubting" Thomas in Kerala to the mutilation inflicted on 300 British soldiers imprisoned by Tipu Sultan in the 1780s. "Terribly alarmed for our foreskins," wrote one colonel.

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