Samuel Muston

Samuel Muston is deputy editor & food editor of The Independent Magazine. He also writes a weekly food column

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Drink up: 10 best gins

From Spanish Mediterranean flavours to complex wild berry tastes culled from the Black Forest of Germany, this selection of spirits should serve everyone from young hipster to gentleman’s club fogey

Some restaurants discriminate on the basis of looks when choosing their staff just as much as some fashion houses do

Samuel Muston: Waiting staff don't need to be as hot as the dishes they serve

The Nuclear Security Summit, which was held on Tuesday, is, as you might guess, a serious affair. Fifty-three heads of government and half the world's diplomatic corps were holed up in The Hague to discuss an agenda that featured words such as "terrorism", "nuclear bombs" and also (possibly) "doom".

How the wine bar finally got cool again: No Sade, no Moondance, no shoulderpads...

Wine bars used to occupy the same cultural space as the Ford Capri and the tie-clip. But trendy establishments have begun to proliferate like Starbucks, says Samuel Muston

Pay phone: no more waiting for harried waiters with the Flypay app

Samuel Muston: A meal without the awkward wave-at-the-waiter game thanks to FlyPay app

This week I walked into the Islington branch of Wahaca, a chain of Mexican restaurants in the capital, ordered some food, ate it, and walked out again without asking for a bill. It was easy, it felt good, and it was so much quicker than waving down that harried-looking young waiter. I would, in fact, recommend you try it yourselves some time.

All rise for sourdough: This healthier loaf is a cut above the rest

Samuel Muston: Give us our daily artisan bread

Last Saturday morning, I ate a bacon sandwich. Now, you might say, "So what? I had two yesterday." Which is all very well, but for me it's an unusual event. A carb-heavy breakfast usually has me lolling back to the land of Nod, but my friend Fifi was cooking the bacon and my hangover was about eight on the Richter scale, so I went with the flow.

Treacle soda bread from The Terrace on London’s Holland Street

Samuel Muston: A flat tyre on a country road... thank goodness for pub grub

I am going to go out on a limb and say that The Ship at Wincle is my favourite pub in the world. Not just because the name sounds like it has emerged blinking from a Beatrix Potter story, either, though, of course, that doesn't hurt. No, it is more than that. The Ship is the very model of a good country pub.

Hat a boy: pupils from Eton arrive at Lord’s Cricket Ground, London, for the match against Harrow, July 1928

Lineage lottery: the myth of social mobility

A new book claims that our chances of making a success of life are dependent on what our family accomplished 300 years ago. Like forefather, like son, finds Samuel Muston

Star man: Alain Ducasse has won dozens of Michelin awards over his career

Samuel Muston: Alain Ducasse knows the secrets of culinary alchemy

If I were the super-chef Alain Ducasse's grandmother, I would feel a little silly. At one point, Mrs Ducasse did her best to stifle the culinary ambitions of her young grandchild. He was apt, you see, to criticise her petits pois.

Shiny, happy people: the range of emoticons is now enormous

Emoticons: a :-) :-) thing

They have become so common in online and SMS conversations that we react to a colon-hyphen-parenthesis in the same way as to a human smile, says Samuel Muston

Daily grind: for most of us, commuting is a source of anxiety

Studies show that commuting impacts on our well-being, but creative types are using the mundane slog to work for self-improvement

For some, the journey to and from the office can be a productive one - a time to write their novel, take some exercise or make art, says Samuel Muston

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NHS struggling to monitor the safety and efficacy of its services outsourced to private providers

Who's monitoring the outsourced NHS services?

A report finds that private firms are not being properly assessed for their quality of care
Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

Zac Goldsmith: 'I'll trigger a by-election over Heathrow'

The Tory MP said he did not want to stand again unless his party's manifesto ruled out a third runway. But he's doing so. Watch this space
How do Greek voters feel about Syriza's backtracking on its anti-austerity pledge?

How do Greeks feel about Syriza?

Five voters from different backgrounds tell us what they expect from Syriza's charismatic leader Alexis Tsipras
From Iraq to Libya and Syria: The wars that come back to haunt us

The wars that come back to haunt us

David Cameron should not escape blame for his role in conflicts that are still raging, argues Patrick Cockburn
Sam Baker and Lauren Laverne: Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

Too busy to surf? Head to The Pool

A new website is trying to declutter the internet to help busy women. Holly Williams meets the founders
Heston Blumenthal to cook up a spice odyssey for British astronaut manning the International Space Station

UK's Major Tum to blast off on a spice odyssey

Nothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
John Harrison's 'longitude' clock sets new record - 300 years on

‘Longitude’ clock sets new record - 300 years on

Greenwich horologists celebrate as it keeps to within a second of real time over a 100-day test
Fears in the US of being outgunned in the vital propaganda wars by Russia, China - and even Isis - have prompted a rethink on overseas broadcasters

Let the propaganda wars begin - again

'Accurate, objective, comprehensive': that was Voice of America's creed, but now its masters want it to promote US policy, reports Rupert Cornwell
Why Japan's incredible long-distance runners will never win the London Marathon

Japan's incredible long-distance runners

Every year, Japanese long-distance runners post some of the world's fastest times – yet, come next weekend, not a single elite competitor from the country will be at the London Marathon
Why does Tom Drury remain the greatest writer you've never heard of?

Tom Drury: The quiet American

His debut was considered one of the finest novels of the past 50 years, and he is every bit the equal of his contemporaries, Jonathan Franzen, Dave Eggers and David Foster Wallace
You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

You should judge a person by how they peel a potato

Dave Hax's domestic tips are reminiscent of George Orwell's tea routine. The world might need revolution, but we like to sweat the small stuff, says DJ Taylor
Beige is back: The drab car colours of the 1970s are proving popular again

Beige to the future

Flares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's dishes highlight the delicate essence of fresh cheeses

Bill Granger cooks with fresh cheeses

More delicate on the palate, milder, fresh cheeses can also be kinder to the waistline
Aston Villa vs Liverpool: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful,' says veteran Shay Given

Shay Given: 'This FA Cup run has been wonderful'

The Villa keeper has been overlooked for a long time and has unhappy memories of the national stadium – but he is savouring his chance to play at Wembley
Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own - Michael Calvin

Michael Calvin's Last Word

Timeless drama of Championship race in league of its own