FOLLOWING its corporate policy of sponsoring radical artists, Absolut vodka flowed at the private view of the first major retrospective of the work of Philippe Starck, the man responsible for the world's most beautiful but least practical citrus- juice squeezer. The exhibition, at the Design Museum in London, was curated by the man himself, and is undeniably intriguing. However, the question on the lips of the preview posse was not 'Is Starck a de

signer?' but 'Is Absolut a vodka?'

Being colourless, almost odourless and more-or-less devoid of flavour, vodka is often defined by its lack of characteristics. Absolut is redistilled in a process that strips out the components that give other spirits their character but also cause hangovers. Indeed, were it not for the fact that a proportion of it is aged in oak barrels, Absolut would taste of nothing at all. Gas chromatographic analysis shows it to be practically pure ethanol, and empirical evidence suggests that one can drink quite a lot without necessarily feeling like death next day. Consequently it is safe to say that Absolut is vodka, but not as we know it.

ALSO on show at the Design Museum is the latest piece of Absolut art, commissioned from one Douglas Gordon, which departs from the absolute norm in that it does not feature an image of a bell-shaped Absolut bottle. It is a blank canvas that has been repeatedly impregnated with vodka. 'What I did,' explains the artist 'was to 'paint on' a coating of Absolut vodka, let it soak in, then evaporate, and do it again and again. So it looks blank, but isn't. The canvas is clean and pure and this emphasises the purity of the vodka.' Pure vodka or pure bull?

THAT reminds the Gastropod of the beef in Tesco's fresh meat cabinet this week. It may look the same as last week and it costs no more, but it should be more tender and taste better. The store has adopted the specifications, painstakingly worked out by the Meat and Livestock Commission, that govern every stage of beef production, from rearing to slaughtering and maturing the meat. For example, carcasses are hung from the hip rather than the hoof, so that the body weight is more evenly distributed, causing less unnatural stress to the fibres of the meat.

This kind of tender loving care costs money, of course, and, until now, so-called 'blueprint beef' has been available only from independent butchers and as a part of Sainsbury's premium-quality 'traditional' range. The Tesco initiative, however, costs consumers nothing.

ON WEDNESDAY evening, the mother-and-baby research charity Birthright is organising a Gala Charity Preview of the House & Garden Eating-In Show at the Business Design Centre in Islington, north London. Guests will be offered Canard- Ducheme champagne and canapes by Anton Mosimann, and the chance to be among the first to visit the show's four themed pavilions tasting wines and dishes from all over the world and seeing state-of-the-art kitchens.

Tickets are pounds 35, pounds 15 of which will go direct to the charity; the remaining pounds 20 is redeemable via a card that entitles the bearer to free goods, including a tea caddy from Harrods, a maple walnut cake from the California cake and cookie company, and a booklet of celebrities' bread recipes from Copperstone Kitchens. Credit card bookings can be made by calling Birthright on 071-262 5337.

Life and Style
ebookA wonderful selection of salads, starters and mains featuring venison, grouse and other game
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

ES Rentals

    iJobs Job Widget
    iJobs Food & Drink

    Sales Manager (Fashion and Jewellery), Paddington, London

    £45-£55k OTE £75k : Charter Selection: Major London International Fashion and ...

    Volunteer Digital Marketing Trustee needed

    Voluntary, reasonable expenses reimbursed: Reach Volunteering: Are you keen on...

    Java Swing Developer - Hounslow - £33K to £45K

    £33000 - £45000 per annum + 8% Bonus, pension: Deerfoot IT Resources Limited: ...

    Corporate Events Sales Manager, Marlow,Buckinghamshire

    £30K- £40K pa + Commision £10K + Benefits: Charter Selection: Rapidly expandin...

    Day In a Page

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    Peace without magnanimity - the summit in a railway siding that ended the fighting
    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    Scottish independence: How the Commonwealth Games could swing the vote

    In the final part of our series, Chris Green arrives in Glasgow - a host city struggling to keep the politics out of its celebration of sport
    Out in the cold: A writer spends a night on the streets and hears the stories of the homeless

    A writer spends a night on the streets

    Rough sleepers - the homeless, the destitute and the drunk - exist in every city. Will Nicoll meets those whose luck has run out
    Striking new stations, high-speed links and (whisper it) better services - the UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    UK's railways are entering a new golden age

    New stations are opening across the country and our railways appear to be entering an era not seen in Britain since the early 1950s
    Conchita Wurst becomes a 'bride' on the Paris catwalk - and proves there is life after Eurovision

    Conchita becomes a 'bride' on Paris catwalk

    Alexander Fury salutes the Eurovision Song Contest winner's latest triumph
    Pétanque World Championship in Marseilles hit by

    Pétanque 'world cup' hit by death threats

    This year's most acrimonious sporting event took place in France, not Brazil. How did pétanque get so passionate?
    Whelks are healthy, versatile and sustainable - so why did we stop eating them in the UK?

    Why did we stop eating whelks?

    Whelks were the Victorian equivalent of the donor kebab and our stocks are abundant. So why do we now export them all to the Far East?
    10 best women's sunglasses

    In the shade: 10 best women's sunglasses

    From luxury bespoke eyewear to fun festival sunnies, we round up the shades to be seen in this summer
    Germany vs Argentina World Cup 2014: Lionel Messi? Javier Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    World Cup final: Messi? Mascherano is key for Argentina...

    No 10 is always centre of attention but Barça team-mate is just as crucial to finalists’ hopes
    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer knows she needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    Siobhan-Marie O’Connor: Swimmer needs Glasgow joy on road to Rio

    18-year-old says this month’s Commonwealth Games are a key staging post in her career before time slips away
    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    The true Gaza back-story that the Israelis aren’t telling this week

    A future Palestine state will have no borders and be an enclave within Israel, surrounded on all sides by Israeli-held territory, says Robert Fisk
    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments: The German people demand an end to the fighting

    A History of the First World War in 100 Moments

    The German people demand an end to the fighting
    New play by Oscar Wilde's grandson reveals what the Irish wit said at his trials

    New play reveals what Oscar Wilde said at trials

    For a century, what Wilde actually said at his trials was a mystery. But the recent discovery of shorthand notes changed that. Now his grandson Merlin Holland has turned them into a play
    Can scientists save the world's sea life from

    Can scientists save our sea life?

    By the end of the century, the only living things left in our oceans could be plankton and jellyfish. Alex Renton meets the scientists who are trying to turn the tide
    Richard III, Trafalgar Studios, review: Martin Freeman gives highly intelligent performance

    Richard III review

    Martin Freeman’s psychotic monarch is big on mockery but wanting in malice