OMG I love MSG

©Richard Allen

Monosodium glutamate is viewed with suspicion but, used sensibly, could this misunderstood ingredient help us lead healthier lives?

Seven kitchen ages

‘How the hearth is shaped and organised has been part of a social debate that long predates Kitchengate’

An illustration of a photo album of kitchen tools
©Richard Allen

Home cooking

Our parents’ kitchens may be full of useless objects and out-of-date spices, but they should be treasured for their place in family history

The umami code

What does this Japanese word for ‘deliciousness’ really signify? And is the conundrum culinary, cultural or linguistic?

Pigstock organiser Tom Adams prepares the pig carcass
©Nicholas White

Pigstock: a hands-on festival of pork

An introduction to the cult of ‘seam butchery’

Pre-prepared restaurant food

Diners can feel cheated when restaurant food is pre-prepared elsewhere. But if it still results in outstanding meals, should we be complaining?

Vive la globalisation

Bewildering eclecticism does not faze young British chefs, who understand that French folderol has no place at the modern dining table

Suite dreams

Chefs hate it, hotel guests love it. There’s something about room service that turns a simple club sandwich and fries into a feast

Utterly courgettable

‘There’s nothing worse than an allotment-keeper friend offering a trug of tasteless, surplus cucurbits’

The gravy boat sinks

‘We may like our tableware clean and austere but spare a thought for the gravy boats, fish knives and serving plates of old’

Eaten up with guilt

Roll on February and an end to New Year’s nutritional self-flagellation

A pincer movement

Shellfish are seen as a luxury these days. But do the lobsternomics add up for the consumer as well as the restaurateur?

A phone with a voice

‘Like EM Forster’s Baedeker-clutchers, travellers glued to their gadgets will miss out. But when you get tripe-sandwich cravings in Florence . . .’

The cult of inconsistency

The odd blip – whether in a Chelsea bun or a Blumenthal dish – tells you a real human is at work

Art on the menu

From Picasso to Banksy, artists have long decorated restaurants – but to what purpose?

How to make your own knife

For cooks, buying one is serious business - crafting your very own is even more so. A workshop in Derby shows how to make a superb kitchen tool

Barrafina, Covent Garden, London

‘The skewers of big grilled chunks of loin of Ibérico pig are the sort of bar snacks they serve in Valhalla’

Cornish delight: Rick Stein’s halo effect

The cult is inescapable in the town of Padstow but the burgeoning popularity of dozens of other talented chefs offers hope

Toto’s and Artusi, London

Nothing is going to get in the way of an evening that runs like a speedboat crossing the Lido

64 Degrees, Brighton

‘This shows all the riotous, sexy joy of a tapas joint in backstreet Barcelona’