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Sunday, January 24, 2021
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24 Jan 8:00am Who’s a good boy? The unbreakable bond between humans and dogs
The Guardian
Our centuries old love of dogs has never been stronger. So what does a study of ‘man’s best friend’ say about us? Why is he here? Why is my dog lying at my feet in the shape of a croissant as I write this? How have I come to cherish his warm but lightly offensive pungency? How has his fish breath become a topic of humour when friends call round for dinner? Why do I shell out more than £1,000 each year to pay for his insurance? And why do I love him so much? Ludo is not a special dog. He’s just another labrador retriever, one of approximately 500,000 in the UK (he’d be one in a million in the United States, the most popular breed in both countries). Ludo has a lot in common with all these dogs. He loves to play ball; obviously he’s an expert retriever. He could eat all the food in the universe and leave nothing for the other dogs. He is prone to hip dysplasia. He looks particularly attractive on a plush bed in a centrally heated house very far from the Newfoundland home of his ancestors. In lockdown, the dog is the only being in our house not looking anxious
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24 Jan 5:30am Nigel Slater’s sweet and savoury recipes for pomegranate molasses
The Guardian
Bring some much-needed sunshine to your plate with squash, orange and this mellow, sour syrup The third shelf in the kitchen cupboard is home to a collection of bottles and jars, seasonings and syrups, preserves and condiments. Some – the Marmite and the peanut butter – get what is pretty much a daily outing. Others see the light of day less often, but are no less essential in the right recipe. Among the chilli vinegars and mushroom ketchups, the smoke-scented salts and soy sauces, there is a bottle of dark, red-brown pomegranate molasses. This is the syrup I turn to when I want to introduce a subtle, mellow sourness, which nowadays is quite often. Today, this sticky brown syrup – the best being made with as few ingredients as possible – is for deepening the interest of a crunchy peanut crust I am spreading on to roasted pumpkin. I have previously used honey to balance the heat of the chillies and pungency of the garlic, but this is better, having not only sweetness but deep, fruity, almost wine-like notes, too. Pomegranate molasses is just as well suited to savoury dishes as sweet. I use it by the teaspoon, tasting as I go, except when I’m making a marinade for pork ribs when I use it by the bottle, along with honey or the darker, slightly more monotone notes of date syrup.
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24 Jan 4:30am The Dutch home transformed into a masterpiece
The Guardian
Renovating a stunning listed house in Amsterdam became a chance to travel back through the centuries Anyone wishing to appear grander than they are in 2021 might buy a house with a pediment and columns. For the Dutch architect Abraham Salm in 1887, building a house (one of five) on a site by the Amstel river, east of Amsterdam’s city centre, it meant a liberal sprinkling of coats of arms on mantelpieces, iron grates and glass panel doors. “We unearthed stained-glass windows depicting knights jousting, during the renovation,” laughs
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24 Jan 4:00am Lissie Harper: ‘We had a lot to look forward to’
The Guardian
The dreadful killing of her police officer husband, Andrew, led Lissie Harper to propose a new law to protect emergency workers. She explains why she had to take action At first glance Lissie Harper’s artfully curated Instagram page reflects an idyllic life. Photographs of her cuddling her cat and walking in meadows sit alongside others featuring holidays abroad, her hen night and her wedding to her childhood sweetheart, Andrew. Yet, the words accompanying some of the posts reveal her true story, one of grief and loss which began 18 months ago when Andrew, a police officer, was killed in the line of duty. Next to a picture of herself staring out to sea, Lissie notes: “Grief is like living two lives. One is where you pretend that everything is all right, and the other is where your heart silently screams in pain.” Accompanying a photo of her and Andrew kissing on their wedding day, posted on the anniversary of his funeral, she’s written: “‘I miss you’ doesn’t even come close to the hollowness that has encapsulated me these past 14 months. My life is missing its brightest spark.”
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24 Jan 4:00am Cure the winter blues with curated chocolate
The Guardian
A handpicked box of special treats, from coated nougat to milk chocolate with a potato-crisp crunch I originally thought of doing another chocolate box collaboration with
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24 Jan 4:00am Covid has made our family a talking point – and cured me of Twitter
The Guardian
Friends are fascinated by our symptoms – if a little disappointed we don’t have the delux version of coronavirus There are few consolations to Covid, but it is at least interesting having a celebrity disease. We’ve become objects of fascination to friends and family who’ve not yet had it, and who’ve taken to quizzing us on our symptoms as if they’re small-town yokels who’ve heard we’re in Disneyland. One small mercy of Covid’s lethargy is that it has reduced – though not ceased – my Twitter use, since focusing on backlit screens has been taxing, and it’s surprising how much my brain has enjoyed the break from doom scrolling. Luckily, others are on hand to inform us of every new stat, graph and grim tiding.
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24 Jan 3:15am Baby leaves are a joy to grow – and good to eat
The Guardian
Even gardeners with limited space can experience the miracle of life with a little crop of salad or herbs I am forever getting into trouble with gardening’s gatekeepers. To date, perhaps the most surprising instance was the really quite lively backlash that occurred when I called gardening “exciting” in an industry talk. According to a flurry of blogposts and social media messages, this was a terrible, even irresponsible, word choice. Gardening apparently is not “exciting”, rather merely “engaging” or “absorbing”. This suggests that, for large parts of the gardening old-guard, there is not only one correct way to garden, but also only one emotion to feel when you are doing it. To my mind, if you do not feel excited when gardening there are only two possibilities: you either simply see it as outdoor tidying up instead of the wonder of creating artworks from living nature; or you are incapable of feeling excitement, even as the miracle of life is unfolding in front of you.
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24 Jan 3:00am Clap, clap, clap… It’s not only heroes who deserve applause
The Guardian
Binmen, snack makers, coffee, gin, teenagers, unlimited data – there are so many small glories to thank Clap for carers, clap for heroes. Clap for teachers, clap for bin collectors, clap for postmen, clap for chemists, clap for shelf stackers, clap for police. Clap for neighbours dropping off medicine for former enemies, leaving the bag only slightly in the rain. Clap for freelancers working eight days a week to prevent their old routines of pornography and fretting being exposed by a flatmate. Clap for the woman trudging out into the world on a daily walk where every footstep is another curse uttered. Clap for the couple crossing the road, veering away from oncomers as if absolutely pissed at breakfast time. Clap for the snack makers, busy every 45 minutes with new ideas for crumpets and the end of the cheese. Clap for the dishwashers, initially excited by all the attention received – the detritus from three meals a day at first an exciting challenge (“A plate stained with Nutella and sriracha? By God, I’ll give it a go!”), now an insult, every rinse cycle a slow crawl towards electric morbidity. Clap for the man in the flat over the road who does
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24 Jan 2:00am Spring promises: things to look forward to, from chocolate bunnies to flower-filled walks
The Guardian
We’ve all had enough of these long, dark days, thank you. Yes, we know it’s premature, but we’re fast-forwarding into spring. We’re ready for the new season… I love winter. Frosty mornings and dark days hold no fear for me, while summer means prickly heat and freeform anxiety, chafed thighs and bad fashion. But this winter has been… well. You know, you were there, we all were. We still are, it has lasted five decades already. With little to do and no scope for planning ahead, the 4pm sunset sends my mood into freefall. Mornings are equally bad: the duvet feels like a buffalo has died on my chest and getting out from under it requires an act of will and strength that seems beyond me. Instead, I extend a listless arm for my phone and scroll until rising cortisol levels and the dog’s bladder force me vertical. My diet is beige and brown things on other beige and brown things, and like
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24 Jan 1:45am Sunday with Tom Watson: ‘Since I left politics, I’ve been given Sundays back’
The Guardian
The former MP on jazz, crime novels and living with the seasons
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24 Jan 1:30am Bare-faced beauty that takes seconds
The Guardian
A minimal makeup look that really is minimal, plus a highlighter for glowing skin, and hair success outside the salon I’ve always said “no-makeup makeup” is a total swizz. We’re led to believe that it takes 15 seconds to achieve it when the reality is more like 15 steps. However, on this occasion, this model (Balmain SS21) is actually not wearing very much at all. All you need is a powder foundation – the new ones don’t sit in creases, a brow product that makes even overgrown brows look groomed, and a balm for the lips. For anyone who can’t be bothered with a full-on maquillage, it’s perfect.
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24 Jan 1:15am In the quietest times, the garden consoles
The Guardian
Early bulbs and late bloomers offer distractions over lockdown Spring shoots, like a dead man’s hand. The first narcissi have broken through their winter grave. A pot full of fingers, reaching for the future. Hope is buried here. My first bulbs were hyacinths, dangling over water in clear glass, a gift for mothers from primary school. Blue for boys, pink for girls. Much later I grew amaryllis. We don’t have indoor plants any more, but there was once a living-room glade of fig and yucca. My daughter Kala has them now, every few years a more extravagant pot to fit them in. She has the gift of it.
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24 Jan 1:00am From the archive: Katharine Whitehorn’s modern manners, 1968
The Guardian
The Observer’s late, brilliant columnist on how to navigate etiquette, from hosting a party to losing your knickers
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24 Jan 1:00am ‘An instinct to feed’ – New British Classics by Gary Rhodes
The Guardian
In the first of a series thumbing through his most-beloved cookery books, Jay feasts like its 1999 The dust jacket is long gone and the title-embossed spine flaps free. Naturally, many of the pages are sauce-stained: honourable marks of our stove-side adventures together.
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24 Jan 1:00am Scots wha hae: three great whiskies for Burns Night | David Williams
The Guardian
It’s the Scottish bard’s brithday tomorrow, so raise a dram to the man with one of these fine whiskies
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24 Jan 1:00am The idea of having a baby scares me. What if my child is horrible? | Dear Mariella
The Guardian
Parents often wish they’d been more aware of the massive impact of having a child, but few regret doing it, says Mariella Frostrup
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