The importance of family dining

At the dining-table children learn about the connections between food, feelings and family life

Pick of the Day:Digital, Cable and Satellite Television

AS HE did so memorably with Sense and Sensibility, Taiwanese director Ang Lee brings the lucidity of an outsider's vision to The Ice Storm (10pm Sky Premier), a period drama showing on satellite for the first time tonight. In this beautifully realised portrait of disintegrating families in 1970s Long Island, Sigourney Weaver (right) plays Janey, a bored housewife having a messy affair with neighbour Kevin Kline. The details are meticulously evoked; it's all reel-to-reel tape recorders, wind-chimes and wife-swapping. The wardrobe people have had a field-day, too, turning up the most exquisite turquoise trouser-suits, airplane-wing- sized collars and Starsky wrap-around cardigans.

Words: Sensible

AS HE sped down the M4's bus lane last week past a tailback of frustrated motorists, many of them no doubt floating voters, Tony Blair had time to wonder whether the bus lane was such a fine idea after all. But it had seemed right at the time; "sensible" was the word he had used about it a fortnight earlier, a good steady word. One was reminded of the old electioneering slogan "You know it makes sense". We expect our politicians to be sensible, whatever else they are.

Open Eye Letter: Summer schools

Many thanks to you and all of those responsible for the publication of Open Eye. In my opinion it is a first-rate publication, extremely useful for programme planning and containing many articles of particular interest. May its success continue for some time to come.

Arts: Sense and sensibility

Neil LaBute's latest film is another portrait of bad behaviour with laughs. At whose expense?

Win copies of `The Ice Storm' video

Ang Lee's The Ice Storm is emotional, thought-provoking and has earned

Cinema: A winter's tale of politics, sex and the Seventies

WATERGATE, the oil crisis, Vietnam and the Osmonds made the 1970s a difficult, discouraging decade for American culture. But the decade's mix of political atrophy and social excess is making it an attractive subject for film-makers. Last month, Paul Thomas Anderson's Boogie Nights turned the clock back to 1975. This month, Ang Lee's The Ice Storm (15) takes the time tunnel to 1973. Costume drama has gone flared: bell-bottoms are the new bodices.

Film: So cold and bleak you could cheer

The Big Picture: The Ice Storm

A FAMILY MAN

THERE IS A MOMENT in Ang Lee's The Ice Storm when a father stands, suitcase in hand, in the doorway of his son's bedroom. "I'm back!" he announces cheerfully. His son stares at him as if he's never seen him before. "You ... you were gone?" he stutters. It is the axis upon which the whole film rotates. After "Pinteresque silence" and "Hitchcockian suspense", we may one day talk about "Ang Lee excruciating family moments".

All dressed up for the movies

As a wave of costume dramas reaches the big screen, are we about to drown in good taste? John Lyttle asks if oldies are always goldies, while David Benedict provides a dinner-party primer for those who may have lost the plot

Space-cakes in Austenland

Elinor and Marianne by Emma Tennant; Simon & Schuster, pounds 9.99; Byronic communes, fevers on the brain: Victoria Coren just about swallows a salacious sequel to `Sense and Sensibility'

Making sense of Miss Thompson's sensibility

What is it that turns an actress into a movie star? Britain is rich in actresses, perhaps richer than any other country. But we have very few movie stars, performers able to command an audience's attention on the big screen, and as a consequence, command the respect of Hollywood. Emma Thompson does. She has already won one Oscar for her performance as Margaret Schlegel in `Howard's End' and has just been nominated for two more - Best Actress for her performance as Elinor in `Sense and Sensibility' and Best Adapted Screenplay for the same film.

You can take me higher...

TRAINSPOTTING Danny Boyle (18) SENSE AND SENSIBILITY Ang Lee (U); Two films, one heritage. But is history all that connects these two sure- fire hits?

ARTS: DRAMA: Whatever happened to Jane?

All of a sudden, Jane Austen is everywhere. But why her? And why now? Marianne Macdonald reports on the Austen industry

A WEEK IN POLITICS

Consternation gripped readers all over the nation this week, as they pondered the insultingly direct question mooted on the front page of the current London Review Of Books: Was Jane Austen Gay? The LRB has shown signs of skittishness in the past (like its former editor Karl Miller's crush on Fiona Pitt-Kethley) but this is something else. For the magazine further hints that Ms Austen's sapphic intimacies extended to her elder sister Cassandra.
News
Ben Little, right, is a Labour supporter while Jonathan Rogers supports the Green Party
general election 2015
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The 91st Hakone Ekiden Qualifier at Showa Kinen Park, Tokyo, 2014
news
Life and Style
Former helicopter pilot Major Tim Peake will become the first UK astronaut in space for over 20 years
food + drinkNothing but the best for British astronaut as chef Heston Blumenthal cooks up his rations
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Kim Wilde began gardening in the 1990s when she moved to the countryside
peopleThe singer is leading an appeal for the charity Thrive, which uses the therapy of horticulture
Sport
Alexis Sanchez celebrates scoring a second for Arsenal against Reading
football
Life and Style
health
Voices
An easy-peel potato; Dave Hax has come up with an ingenious method in food preparation
voicesDave 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
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Japan's population is projected to fall dramatically in the next 50 years (Wikimedia)
news
Life and Style
Buyers of secondhand cars are searching out shades last seen in cop show ‘The Sweeney’
motoringFlares and flounce are back on catwalks but a revival in ’70s car paintjobs was a stack-heeled step too far – until now
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Independent Travel
Pompeii, Capri & the Bay of Naples
Seven Cities of Italy
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Prague, Budapest and Vienna
Lake Garda
Minoan Crete and Santorini
Prices correct as of 17 April 2015
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