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Bites: It's time to sound the dinner gongs

It may be a quiet month for restaurant openings, but January has been chock-a-block with awards. First, the nation's gastronomes got in a tizz when the new Michelin stars were leaked online five days ahead of schedule. Then Tatler got on with its annual restaurant gongs, where Mark Hix won restaurateur of the year. "Apparently there were only two candidates for the title," one onlooker noted. "They either had to give it to Mark or resurrect Peter Langan from the grave."

Dinner lady's body found in school freezer

A school dinner lady has been found dead in a freezer at the primary school where she had worked for 20 years. Linda Gent's body was discovered, along with pills, in a large chest freezer, at South Benfleet Primary School, in Essex.

Paperbacks: The Scandal Of The Season, by Sophie Gee

In 1711, Lord Petre violated his mistress, Arabella Fermoy, by cutting off a hank of her hair at a party. This impromptu scissoring inspired Alexander Pope's mock-heroic poem "The Rape of the Lock". In her enlightening debut novel, Gee recreates the intrigue surrounding the incident, fleshing out Pope's involvement and his efforts to win his way into the hearts and drawing rooms of these young toffs. From fashionable dinner menus ("a fricasse of lamb, a dish of peas and a sallet of herbs") to the elaborate language of courtship, Gee unobtrusively shares her deep knowledge of the period, and whenever possible uses Pope's original words.

Paperback: Red, White and Drunk All Over, by Natalie MacLean

Like a good Beaujolais, MacLean's vinous peregrination is light, easily consumed but delivers a surprising amount. A gung-ho enthusiast who uses grape shears to snip her fringe during a Monterey harvest, MacLean draws a graphic parallel between drinking wine at a tasting and later at dinner: "It's like meeting a person in a noisy bar who seems interesting, but when you bring him home he doesn't get quieter or shut up." From decapitating champagne with a sword to the life-changing effect of Chateau Latour, MacLean reminds us that wine writing should be as pleasurable as its topic.

Meet the dinner party anti-terror squad

After a series of arrests in their town, the people of High Wycombe have a new weapon in the battle against Britain's cultural divide

Miles Kington: How to make a meal of a packet of crisps

In the three-course dinner bag you get prawn cocktail crisps at the top, then salmon or venison, and to finish up, apple or mango

Gerrard in '50-50' struggle to play against Paraguay

The prospect of Steven Gerrard playing in the opening game of the World Cup was rated at only "50-50" last night as a back specialist visited the England midfielder at the Schlosshotel Bühlerhöhe in an effort to massage the odds in his favour.

A feast fit for a Muscovite: Dining in the Russian capital

Moscow's eateries used to be famed for their watery soups. These days they serve sushi. Where can you eat some authentic Russian fare? Ask long-time Russophile Robin Buss

Navy 'using Queen to sell tickets for Trafalgar events'

Royal Family touted as defence chiefs cash in on anniversary of battle with a series of high-rolling occasions to raise funds

How the UN was forced to tackle stain on its integrity

'The Independent' was first to reveal the scandal. Kate Holt defied threats to tell the story

Shaven legs, silver boots and hair gel: Welsh glory in hero who looks the part

The Jubilant Welsh team were preparing to leave their dressing-room when Gareth Thomas, the captain, sounded a note of caution. Enjoy the post-match dinner, he said, have a drink or two, but take it easy because there is another game to prepare for next weekend.

I am quite happy to be governed by an old fool. But not this one

We know that anything can happen when there is a lightning strike by what PG Wodehouse calls the divine pash
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