Life and Style Mellow yellow: a warming spoonful of polenta

Opening a new restaurant is often a quick way for rich people to lose money. It is a gamble opening your doors to the public, just like playing poker. But as with cards, there are ways to hedge your bets. The cautious restaurateur might tend towards well-worn concepts such as the burger joint, for instance, or the fried-chicken shop.

The Settler's Cookbook, By Yasmin Alibhai-Brown

Passionate, generous and articulate, Alibhai-Brown has one of the most distinctive voices in British journalism. This engaging book has these qualities in brimming quantity. Categorised as "Memoir/Food & Drink", it begins with mini-biographies of the author's cooking utensils – the colander made by Abdullah, the Indian wok made by "Mr Harry Belafonte the Third".

Yasmin Alibhai-Brown: Those who write memoirs know – the truth must be told

Lady Antonia has had her critics. But we tell our stories because we can

Unlikely titles to
watch out for in 2010

While 2010 will have its inevitable big-name blockbusters, there is a clutch of less-well-known titles coming in the new year that sound intriguing, if unlikely.

Best food books for Christmas

The bad news is that several cookbooks have made the jump to £30. Even worse news is that these big-ticket items include the year's most desirable titles. You could eat sublimely for a year using only Nigel Slater's Tender (Fourth Estate, £30). The king of comfort eating has discovered the vegetable patch and seems as adept there as in the kitchen. However, we can all enjoy his succulent prose, wise advice ("celeriac is one root that makes a sloppy mash and needs an equal amount of potato if it is to stand in a cloudlike mound") and sure ingenuity with 400 home-grown dishes ranging from an asparagus, broad bean and mint pilaf to lamb shanks with preserved lemon and swede.

Perfect pasta: Silver Spoon cookbook devotes volume to world's favourite comfort food

Fans of the classic Italian cookbook now have a volume devoted to spaghetti, fusilli and penne.

The ten best autumn cook books

Chosen by Jim Cook

Jamie Oliver takes on America's fast-food culture

Jamie Oliver has put the most unhealthy town in the US on a diet for a new show. So how do Americans view this chirpy interloper – and can they stomach his anti-obesity drive? The New York Times' Alex Witchel reports

Stand aside, Jamie. Here come the junior chefs

There's a revolution in the kitchen as a classic recipe book publishes a children's edition and cookery courses target two-year-olds

Boys 'planned Columbine anniversary massacre'

Court told teenagers intended killing spree at Manchester school

The ten best children's cookbooks

Chosen by Alex Richman

South of the border: Why Mexican food is now hot stuff

Nachos may be a fast-food favourite, but the subtler joys of real Mexican food have been harder to come by – until now.

Bites: Every blog has its day...

So, the blogosphere is up in arms over a new Food Blog Code of Ethics ( http://food ethics.wordpress.com), urging bloggers to "follow the rules of good journalism". Whether such a code is needed is moot, but one thing's for sure: food blogging is serious business.

Dom DeLuise dies at 75

Dom DeLuise, the US comic actor who gained fame on television and in movies such as "Blazing Saddles" and "Smokey and the Bandit II," has died at age 75.

Bites: All kidding firmly aside

Any parent who has tried to dine with a child hanging from their neck will know that eating and offspring don't mix. However, a number of eateries have cottoned on to the fact that a happy sprog makes for a happy parent and are looking for ways to occupy the inner foodie in children.

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Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
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Brendan Rodgers seems more stressed than ever before as Liverpool manager
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Homeless Veterans Christmas Appeal: ‘We give them hope. They come to us when no one else can help’

Christmas Appeal

Meet the charity giving homeless veterans hope – and who they turn to when no one else can help
Should doctors and patients learn to plan humane, happier endings rather than trying to prolong life?

Is it always right to try to prolong life?

Most of us would prefer to die in our own beds, with our families beside us. But, as a GP, Margaret McCartney sees too many end their days in a medicalised battle
Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night - is that what it takes for women to get to the top?

What does it take for women to get to the top?

Thomas Cook's outgoing boss Harriet Green got by on four hours sleep a night and told women they had to do more if they wanted to get on
Christmas jumper craze: Inside the UK factory behind this year's multicultural must-have

Knitting pretty: British Christmas Jumpers

Simmy Richman visits Jack Masters, the company behind this year's multicultural must-have
French chefs have launched a campaign to end violence in kitchens - should British restaurants follow suit?

French chefs campaign against bullying

A group of top chefs signed a manifesto against violence in kitchens following the sacking of a chef at a Paris restaurant for scalding his kitchen assistant with a white-hot spoon
Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour War and Peace on New Year's Day as Controller warns of cuts

Just what you need on a New Year hangover...

Radio 4 to broadcast 10-hour adaptation of War and Peace on first day of 2015
Cuba set to stage its first US musical in 50 years

Cuba to stage first US musical in 50 years

Claire Allfree finds out if the new production of Rent will hit the right note in Havana
Christmas 2014: 10 best educational toys

Learn and play: 10 best educational toys

Of course you want them to have fun, but even better if they can learn at the same time
Paul Scholes column: I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season

Paul Scholes column

I like Brendan Rodgers as a manager but Liverpool seem to be going backwards not forwards this season
Lewis Moody column: Stuart Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

Lewis Moody: Lancaster has made all the right calls – now England must deliver

So what must the red-rose do differently? They have to take the points on offer 
Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game