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Bari Weiss calls cancel culture ‘social murder’ and said ‘it isn’t about criticism but punishment’

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bari weiss calls cancel culture social murder and said it isnt about criticism but punishment

A columnist who claims bullying by colleagues forced her to quit The New York Times likened cancel culture to ‘social murder’ and said that firing people who hold unpopular opinions is aimed at ‘punishing’ them for being ‘insufficiently pure.’

‘We’re used to criticism,’ Bari Weiss said during an appearance on Friday on Real Time with Bill Maher.

‘Criticism is kosher in the work that we do. Criticism is great.’

She added: ’What cancel culture is about is not criticism. It is about punishment. It is about making a person radioactive. It is about taking away their job.’

Former New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss

Former New York Times opinion writer Bari Weiss

Bill Maher

Bill Maher

Bari Weiss (left), the journalist who quit The New York Times in June after she claimed she was bullied by other staff members for her views, told Bill Maher (right) on HBO’s Real Time on Friday that ‘cancel culture’ was akin to ‘social murder’

Weiss claims that her 'centrist' positions led her then-colleagues at the Times to refer to her as a 'Nazi' and a 'racist'. The New York Times building in midtown Manhattan is seen in the above file photo

Weiss claims that her 'centrist' positions led her then-colleagues at the Times to refer to her as a 'Nazi' and a 'racist'. The New York Times building in midtown Manhattan is seen in the above file photo

Weiss claims that her ‘centrist’ positions led her then-colleagues at the Times to refer to her as a ‘Nazi’ and a ‘racist’. The New York Times building in midtown Manhattan is seen in the above file photo

On June 14, Weiss posted her lengthy resignation later addressed to Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger. She claimed that intellectual curiosity and risk-taking was now a 'liability' at the Times

On June 14, Weiss posted her lengthy resignation later addressed to Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger. She claimed that intellectual curiosity and risk-taking was now a 'liability' at the Times

On June 14, Weiss posted her lengthy resignation later addressed to Times publisher A.G. Sulzberger. She claimed that intellectual curiosity and risk-taking was now a ‘liability’ at the Times

Weiss quoted writer Jonathan Rauch of The Atlantic magazine who said ‘cancel culture’ is akin to ‘social murder.’

‘And I think that’s right.’

Weiss said: ‘It’s not just about punishing the sinner. It’s not just about punishing the person for being insufficiently pure.

‘It’s about this sort of secondary boycott of people who would deign to speak to that person or appear on a platform with that person.

‘And we see just very obviously where that kind of politics gets us.

‘If conversation with people that we disagree with becomes impossible, what is the way that we solve conflict? It’s violence.’

On July 14, Weiss wrote a scathing resignation letter that slammed the Times for fostering an ‘illiberal environment’ and allowing her to be bullied by coworkers for ‘wrongthink’.

Weiss, who joined the Times in 2017, said the paper of record was among the media institutions now betraying their standards and losing sight of their principles as she accused them of only publishing stories that ‘satisfy the narrowest of audiences’.   

In her lengthy resignation letter addressed to publisher A.G. Sulzberger and posted on her website, Weiss claimed that intellectual curiosity and risk-taking was now a ‘liability’ at the Times.

The controversial editor and writer said the opinions of those on Twitter had become the newspaper’s ‘ultimate editor’.

Weiss, who once dated SNL’s Kate McKinnon while studying at Columbia University, also accused the outlet of creating a ‘hostile work environment’ for employees that essentially had anything other than left-of-center views.  

She says this mentality resulted in her being constantly bullied by coworkers who have called her a ‘Nazi and a racist’ because of her ‘own forays into wrongthink’. 

Weiss has generated controversy in years past for statements she has made about the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the #MeToo movement, and other issues

Weiss has generated controversy in years past for statements she has made about the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the #MeToo movement, and other issues

Weiss has generated controversy in years past for statements she has made about the confirmation of Supreme Court Justice Brett Kavanaugh, the #MeToo movement, and other issues

‘Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery,’ Weiss wrote. 

Weiss, who has previously said she doesn’t support President Trump, started her letter saying she optimistically joined the newspaper three years ago in what she described as the outlet’s efforts to bring in voices that wouldn’t normally appear.

‘The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers,’ she wrote. 

‘The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

‘But the lessons that ought to have followed the election – lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society – have not been learned.

‘Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

‘Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions.’

Weiss went on to claim that intellectual curiosity and risk-taking was now a ‘liability’ at the Times. 

‘Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm,’ she wrote.

‘What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity.

‘Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired.’  

Weiss has repeatedly drawn criticism during her time at the newspaper.

Most recently, she tweeted that there was a ‘civil war’ brewing inside the Times in relation to the controversy surrounding the publication of the Tom Cotton op-ed.

The Times ran a column calling the Senator’s op-ed ‘fascist’ after he called on Trump to use the military to crack down on rioting, looting and violence in the wake of George Floyd’s death.

Initially, publisher A.G. Sulzberger stood behind the column but the outlet later backtracked.

James Bennet, the New York Times editorial page editor responsible for publishing Cotton’s column, resigned over the ordeal following the outrage from inside and outside the Times’ newsroom. 

At the time, Weiss tweeted: ‘The civil war inside The New York Times between the (mostly young) wokes the (mostly 40+) liberals is the same one raging inside other publications and companies across the country. The dynamic is always the same.’

In response, staffers called for Weiss to be fired.  

Weiss repeatedly drew criticism during her time at the newspaper. Most recently, she tweeted that there was a 'civil war' brewing inside the Times in relation to the controversy surrounding the publication of the Tom Cotton op-ed

Weiss repeatedly drew criticism during her time at the newspaper. Most recently, she tweeted that there was a 'civil war' brewing inside the Times in relation to the controversy surrounding the publication of the Tom Cotton op-ed

Weiss repeatedly drew criticism during her time at the newspaper. Most recently, she tweeted that there was a ‘civil war’ brewing inside the Times in relation to the controversy surrounding the publication of the Tom Cotton op-ed

The Times ran a column calling the Senator's op-ed 'fascist' after he called on Trump to use the military to crack down on rioting, looting and violence in the wake of George Floyd's death

The Times ran a column calling the Senator's op-ed 'fascist' after he called on Trump to use the military to crack down on rioting, looting and violence in the wake of George Floyd's death

The Times ran a column calling the Senator’s op-ed ‘fascist’ after he called on Trump to use the military to crack down on rioting, looting and violence in the wake of George Floyd’s death 

The article was initially defended by publisher AG Sulzberger who said the paper aimed to share 'views from across the spectrum'

The article was initially defended by publisher AG Sulzberger who said the paper aimed to share 'views from across the spectrum'

The newspaper's opinion page editor James Bennet also defended the decision to publish. Bennet later resigned over the ordeal

The newspaper's opinion page editor James Bennet also defended the decision to publish. Bennet later resigned over the ordeal

The article was initially defended by publisher AG Sulzberger (left) who said the paper aimed to share ‘views from across the spectrum’. The newspaper’s opinion page editor James Bennet (right) also defended the decision to publish. Bennet later resigned over the ordeal

BARI WEISS’ PAST JOURNALISM JOBS:  

Bari Weiss joined the New York Times as an opinions editor and writer in 2017.  

According to her website, Weiss was an op-ed editor at the Wall Street journal between 2013 to 2017 before joining the New York Times.

In an interview with Vanity Fair last year, Weiss said she realized she was among the most left-wing people at the WSJ around the time Trump was elected. 

She claimed she wasn’t allowed to write about what she believed was the hypocrisy of Melania Trump’s anti-bullying campaign. 

Weiss said Trump winning prompted her to leave the WSJ. 

‘I was sobbing, openly, at my desk. I wanted people to see how I felt about this, and what I thought it meant for the country. I realized I had to leave,’ she told Vanity Fair.  

She was also previously a senior editor at Tablet – an online Jewish magazine – from 2011 to 2013 where she covered news and politics.

Weiss graduated from Columbia University.

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In her resignation letter, Weiss noted that it took the Times ‘two days and two jobs’ to say the Tom Cotton op-ed ‘fell short of our standards’.

She was also among those to sign an open letter published in Harper’s Bazaar Magazine last month that slammed ‘cancel culture’ and warned of an ‘intolerant climate’ for free speech. 

Weiss was also criticized for her opinion on the #MeToo movement after cautioning on immediately believing every woman who comes forward.

When she weighed in on the Brett Kavanaugh controversy, she was slammed for asking on MSNBC if the accusations stemming from his teen years should be ‘disqualifying’. 

Weiss later admitted that her soundbite about Kavanaugh sounded ‘glib’ or insincere. 

Weiss, in her resignation letter, said her opinions had resulted in her being bullied by coworkers.

She described the Times as a ‘hostile work environment’ and criticized management for allowing her coworkers to ‘publicly smear’ her on Twitter and also on company-wide Slack channels.

Weiss said some employees would post an ax emoji next to her name on company Slack channels and others would discuss the need for her to be ‘rooted out’ if the NYT was ‘truly inclusive’.    

‘My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m “writing about the Jews again”,’ Weiss wrote in her resignation letter.   

‘Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. 

‘There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly ‘inclusive’ one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.’

She went on to describe that behavior as unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment and constructive discharge.

‘I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage,’ she wrote.   

BARI WEISS’ FULL NYT RESIGNATION LETTER:  

Dear A.G.,

It is with sadness that I write to tell you that I am resigning from The New York Times.

I joined the paper with gratitude and optimism three years ago. I was hired with the goal of bringing in voices that would not otherwise appear in your pages: first-time writers, centrists, conservatives and others who would not naturally think of The Times as their home. The reason for this effort was clear: The paper’s failure to anticipate the outcome of the 2016 election meant that it didn’t have a firm grasp of the country it covers. Dean Baquet and others have admitted as much on various occasions. The priority in Opinion was to help redress that critical shortcoming.

I was honored to be part of that effort, led by James Bennet. I am proud of my work as a writer and as an editor. Among those I helped bring to our pages: the Venezuelan dissident Wuilly Arteaga; the Iranian chess champion Dorsa Derakhshani; and the Hong Kong Christian democrat Derek Lam. Also: Ayaan Hirsi Ali, Masih Alinejad, Zaina Arafat, Elna Baker, Rachael Denhollander, Matti Friedman, Nick Gillespie, Heather Heying, Randall Kennedy, Julius Krein, Monica Lewinsky, Glenn Loury, Jesse Singal, Ali Soufan, Chloe Valdary, Thomas Chatterton Williams, Wesley Yang, and many others.

But the lessons that ought to have followed the election—lessons about the importance of understanding other Americans, the necessity of resisting tribalism, and the centrality of the free exchange of ideas to a democratic society—have not been learned. Instead, a new consensus has emerged in the press, but perhaps especially at this paper: that truth isn’t a process of collective discovery, but an orthodoxy already known to an enlightened few whose job is to inform everyone else.

Twitter is not on the masthead of The New York Times. But Twitter has become its ultimate editor. As the ethics and mores of that platform have become those of the paper, the paper itself has increasingly become a kind of performance space. Stories are chosen and told in a way to satisfy the narrowest of audiences, rather than to allow a curious public to read about the world and then draw their own conclusions. I was always taught that journalists were charged with writing the first rough draft of history. Now, history itself is one more ephemeral thing molded to fit the needs of a predetermined narrative.

My own forays into Wrongthink have made me the subject of constant bullying by colleagues who disagree with my views. They have called me a Nazi and a racist; I have learned to brush off comments about how I’m ‘writing about the Jews again.’ Several colleagues perceived to be friendly with me were badgered by coworkers. My work and my character are openly demeaned on company-wide Slack channels where masthead editors regularly weigh in. There, some coworkers insist I need to be rooted out if this company is to be a truly ‘inclusive’ one, while others post ax emojis next to my name. Still other New York Times employees publicly smear me as a liar and a bigot on Twitter with no fear that harassing me will be met with appropriate action. They never are.

There are terms for all of this: unlawful discrimination, hostile work environment, and constructive discharge. I’m no legal expert. But I know that this is wrong.

I do not understand how you have allowed this kind of behavior to go on inside your company in full view of the paper’s entire staff and the public. And I certainly can’t square how you and other Times leaders have stood by while simultaneously praising me in private for my courage. Showing up for work as a centrist at an American newspaper should not require bravery.

Part of me wishes I could say that my experience was unique. But the truth is that intellectual curiosity—let alone risk-taking—is now a liability at The Times. Why edit something challenging to our readers, or write something bold only to go through the numbing process of making it ideologically kosher, when we can assure ourselves of job security (and clicks) by publishing our 4000th op-ed arguing that Donald Trump is a unique danger to the country and the world? And so self-censorship has become the norm.

What rules that remain at The Times are applied with extreme selectivity. If a person’s ideology is in keeping with the new orthodoxy, they and their work remain unscrutinized. Everyone else lives in fear of the digital thunderdome. Online venom is excused so long as it is directed at the proper targets.

Op-eds that would have easily been published just two years ago would now get an editor or a writer in serious trouble, if not fired. If a piece is perceived as likely to inspire backlash internally or on social media, the editor or writer avoids pitching it. If she feels strongly enough to suggest it, she is quickly steered to safer ground. And if, every now and then, she succeeds in getting a piece published that does not explicitly promote progressive causes, it happens only after every line is carefully massaged, negotiated and caveated.

It took the paper two days and two jobs to say that the Tom Cotton op-ed ‘fell short of our standards.’ We attached an editor’s note on a travel story about Jaffa shortly after it was published because it ‘failed to touch on important aspects of Jaffa’s makeup and its history.’ But there is still none appended to Cheryl Strayed’s fawning interview with the writer Alice Walker, a proud anti-Semite who believes in lizard Illuminati.

The paper of record is, more and more, the record of those living in a distant galaxy, one whose concerns are profoundly removed from the lives of most people. This is a galaxy in which, to choose just a few recent examples, the Soviet space program is lauded for its ‘diversity’; the doxxing of teenagers in the name of justice is condoned; and the worst caste systems in human history includes the United States alongside Nazi Germany.

Even now, I am confident that most people at The Times do not hold these views. Yet they are cowed by those who do. Why? Perhaps because they believe the ultimate goal is righteous. Perhaps because they believe that they will be granted protection if they nod along as the coin of our realm—language—is degraded in service to an ever-shifting laundry list of right causes. Perhaps because there are millions of unemployed people in this country and they feel lucky to have a job in a contracting industry.

Or perhaps it is because they know that, nowadays, standing up for principle at the paper does not win plaudits. It puts a target on your back. Too wise to post on Slack, they write to me privately about the ‘new McCarthyism’ that has taken root at the paper of record.

All this bodes ill, especially for independent-minded young writers and editors paying close attention to what they’ll have to do to advance in their careers. Rule One: Speak your mind at your own peril. Rule Two: Never risk commissioning a story that goes against the narrative. Rule Three: Never believe an editor or publisher who urges you to go against the grain. Eventually, the publisher will cave to the mob, the editor will get fired or reassigned, and you’ll be hung out to dry.

For these young writers and editors, there is one consolation. As places like The Times and other once-great journalistic institutions betray their standards and lose sight of their principles, Americans still hunger for news that is accurate, opinions that are vital, and debate that is sincere. I hear from these people every day. ‘An independent press is not a liberal ideal or a progressive ideal or a democratic ideal. It’s an American ideal,’ you said a few years ago. I couldn’t agree more. America is a great country that deserves a great newspaper.

None of this means that some of the most talented journalists in the world don’t still labor for this newspaper. They do, which is what makes the illiberal environment especially heartbreaking. I will be, as ever, a dedicated reader of their work. But I can no longer do the work that you brought me here to do—the work that Adolph Ochs described in that famous 1896 statement: ‘to make of the columns of The New York Times a forum for the consideration of all questions of public importance, and to that end to invite intelligent discussion from all shades of opinion.’

Ochs’s idea is one of the best I’ve encountered. And I’ve always comforted myself with the notion that the best ideas win out. But ideas cannot win on their own. They need a voice. They need a hearing. Above all, they must be backed by people willing to live by them.

Sincerely,

Bari

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Meghan Markle guided Prince Harry on his public ‘journey to wokeness’

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Meghan Markle helped guide Prince Harry on his very public ‘woke’ journey, the authors of the couple’s upcoming biography Finding Freedom have claimed.

The Duchess of Sussex, who is currently residing with her husband in Beverly Hills, Los Angeles, played a pivotal role in helping her husband become more attuned to racism, according to authors Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand.

Speaking to the National Public Radio in the United States, Mr Scobie said: ‘Harry’s journey to wokeness has been very public. 

‘We’ve seen him learning and educating himself along the way, but this experience of witnessing Meghan face racist remarks and commentary would have been the first time he’d seen someone in his life or someone he was particularly close to affected by it in a certain way.

The Duchess of Sussex helped guide Prince Harry on his 'journey to wokeness', the authors of the couple's upcoming biography have claimed

The Duchess of Sussex helped guide Prince Harry on his 'journey to wokeness', the authors of the couple's upcoming biography have claimed

The Duchess of Sussex helped guide Prince Harry on his ‘journey to wokeness’, the authors of the couple’s upcoming biography have claimed

‘We talk about some of the more obvious examples in some of the media coverage but I think that the things that have flown under the radar are some of the othering of Meghan we’ve seen. 

‘We’ve sort of seen it repeatedly that she’s not one of us. And now, what do they mean by not one of us? 

‘And I think there are things like that which Harry’s really had to become more attuned to and learn to see when it happens in front of him. And Meghan would have been the person that guided him on that journey. ‘

During the interview, the authors also discussed the events that eventually led to the  duke and duchess to decide taking a step back from the royal family.

Caroline Durand said: ‘Harry really was looking out for his family. 

‘His wife felt aggrieved, and they thought that the best decision that they could make was to step back, have a little bit more privacy but still be in a situation where they could carry on their mission, devote themselves to the causes that were so important to them.’

Speaking on the reported tensions between Prince Harry and his brother, Mr Scobie added: ‘I think it’s one of the early stories you saw come out of this book was this conversation that took place between Harry and William where William seemingly gives sort of brotherly advice to Harry about sort of perhaps watching the speed at which his relationship with Meghan was progressing. 

‘And I think there’ve been some people have commented that that might have been a moment where Harry was too sensitive. 

‘But I think we need to really look at the overall picture here and what led up to that moment. Harry was already aware of some of the murmurings that were taking place behind his back within the royal household about Meghan.  

The couple's upcoming biography Finding Freedom was written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand

The couple's upcoming biography Finding Freedom was written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand

The couple’s upcoming biography Finding Freedom was written by Omid Scobie and Carolyn Durand

‘He’d also experienced some of his own friends speaking about Meghan or making negative remarks behind her back that word had traveled back to him about. So when William sat down and had that conversation with him, that was the starting point.’ 

This week it was revealed that Prince Charles has remained in regular contact with his son despite being being hurt by revelations in the upcoming biography.

The biography offers an insights into Harry and Meghan’s relationships with his brother and sister-in-law, his father and the Royal Family as a whole. 

However, the Prince of Wales, who was said to have been hurt by some of the claims in the book, has been in regular contact with Prince Harry in the hope that the door can be kept open for a return, the Sun reports.

A royal insider told the paper: ‘Since his move to Los Angeles they have been in regular contact. Charles is not an avid user of texts but there are video and phone calls.

‘The book has never been a massive talking point between them and Charles is determined that it is not an obstacle. ‘

The Sussexes, who stepped down as working royals earlier this year, recently moved to a 14-acre estate in the famed 90210 postcode of Beverly Hills after flying from the Vancouver Island they were living on in March.     

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CHRISTOPHER STEVENS reviews last night’s TV: Moaning about a soaking on the flume? Don’t be so wet!

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christopher stevens reviews last nights tv moaning about a soaking on the flume dont be so wet

Inside Legoland: A World Of Wonder

Rating: rating showbiz 4

Rolling In It

Rating: rating showbiz 2

Royal watchers desperate for a glimpse of the Duke and Duchess of Sussex in Windsor won’t get much joy if they hang around outside the couple’s erstwhile home, Frogmore Cottage.

But they might have better luck if they check into one of the hotels at nearby Legoland. Among the 2,000 models of pirates, dinosaurs, pop stars and exotic flowers, guests might find life-size replicas in one corridor of Kate, William, Charles and Harry — built from Lego.

At least, Harry’s model was there last year when Inside Legoland: A World Of Wonder (C5) was filmed. Perhaps, like the real-life Duke himself, it has since disappeared.

Among the 2,000 models of pirates, pop stars and exotic flowers at Legoland (above), guests might find life-size replicas of Kate, William, Charles and Harry

Among the 2,000 models of pirates, pop stars and exotic flowers at Legoland (above), guests might find life-size replicas of Kate, William, Charles and Harry

Among the 2,000 models of pirates, pop stars and exotic flowers at Legoland (above), guests might find life-size replicas of Kate, William, Charles and Harry

The alternative would be that a Lego Meghan has been added to the display, and I wouldn’t envy the model-maker who has to get that job right. Imagine the ducal indignation if Her Grace was depicted wearing the wrong tiara.

Working at the theme park is already stressful enough, to judge from this lighthearted series. Visitors rush the turnstiles at opening time, determined to squeeze every minute of fun from the price of their ticket, but once inside many of them seem to spend the day queuing at the customer services desk to have a rant.

One choice gripe was that there weren’t enough staff to handle all the complaints. Now, how would anyone know that, if they hadn’t joined the queue to have a moan in the first place? The most popular complaint was that people were getting too wet on the water ride, Pirate Falls. If you’ve ever been on a water ride, you’ll appreciate that half the fun is getting soaked.

Prince Harry certainly knows this. He and his big brother famously rode the log flume with their mother at Thorpe Park on a family day out in 1993, and got drenched.

What was considered safe for royals in the Nineties might be grounds for a health and safety case today, so the maintenance team hurried out to make sure the bigger hoses were pointing away from riders on Pirate Falls.

That left the tricky problem of what to do with the smaller squirters that spurted from Lego frogs. Should these be regarded as a hazard to public safety too?

Eventually, an engineer made an executive decision. ‘Right,’ he said, ‘I’m turning the frogs back on.’

Doleful ballad of the weekend:

The Bollywood star Tabu, who gets top billing in A Suitable Boy (BBC1), launched into another of her dirge-like laments — then stopped, and started again. Each week, she sings twice. Is this ritual written into her contract?

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This was as dramatic as the programme got. Elsewhere, a small boy fell and scraped his knee, and a little girl was supremely unbothered after getting separated from her parents: she sat and watched a video in the Lost Children booth until they collected her.

A charmingly British holiday atmosphere hung over it all. Like Lego itself, the park seemed imbued with nostalgia.

Presenter Stephen Mulhern was hoping to draw on the same magic with his game show Rolling In It (ITV) — a quiz based on the penny-rollers in seaside amusement arcades.

Three contestants, helped out by three actors from Coronation Street, aimed giant coins down a ramp and onto a conveyor belt. Their prizes were determined by where the coins landed, with thousands of pounds depending on a lucky roll.

It was all a bit laborious, slowed down further by 15 multiple-choice quiz questions. These were mostly about pop, telly and celebs, though that didn’t help the player who had to guess which TV comedy featured ‘Mrs Slocombe’s pussy’.

She’d never heard of Are You Being Served? — ‘I’m young,’ she wailed — so she plumped for Keeping Up Appearances.

I shudder to think what Hyacinth Bucket, the glorious snob from that sitcom, would have made of such a vulgar question. But then, ‘Mrs Bouquet’ would never have admitted to watching ITV.

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Jamie Oliver’s everyday heroes: From perfect peppers to roasted broccoli

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jamie olivers everyday heroes from perfect peppers to roasted broccoli

We know that everyone cooks the same small repertoire of recipes, so I want to help you expand on that and arm you with some new favourites.

For the first time, I’ve looked at the data that shows what we’re putting into our shopping baskets, week in, week out, and have built meals around the 18 hero ingredients that kept appearing.

These recipes will give you new ideas for the ingredients you already know and love.

Let’s face it, life is busy, and these days we seem to have more and more demands on our time and headspace. 

We know that everyone cooks the same small repertoire of recipes, so I want to help you expand on that and arm you with some new favourites, writes Jamie Oliver

We know that everyone cooks the same small repertoire of recipes, so I want to help you expand on that and arm you with some new favourites, writes Jamie Oliver

We know that everyone cooks the same small repertoire of recipes, so I want to help you expand on that and arm you with some new favourites, writes Jamie Oliver

So this is about giving you inspiration on the food front for every day of the week.

We’re keeping things simple, pushing maximum flavour with minimum effort. We want fun, and we want solid, super-tasty recipes that consistently deliver.

The majority of ingredients will be easy to find in any food shop in any town in the country. As is often the case in cooking, the success of the recipes comes down to the quality of the ingredients you use.

Hero ingredient

Peppers are super-versatile. Try roasting them with other ‘nightshade’ veggies, such as chillies and tomatoes, or adding to curries, lasagne, pasta dishes and stir-fries. 

They also add crunch to salads.

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There’s not loads of stuff to buy for each recipe, so I’m hoping that will give you the excuse to trade up where you can, buying the best meat, fish or veggies you can find.

For your store cupboard, there are just five ingredients that I consider to be everyday staples: olive oil for cooking, extra-virgin olive oil for dressing and finishing dishes, red wine vinegar as a good all-rounder when it comes to acidity and balancing marinades, sauces or dressing and, of course, sea salt and black pepper for seasoning.

Cooking is simply impossible without these items at your fingertips and I believe every household should have them in stock.

We’ve included oil and vinegar in each individual recipe’s ingredients list where needed, although I’m presuming you’ll stock up on them before you start cooking.

One-pan wonders like the Stuffed red peppers involve minimum prep so you can let the oven do all the hard work. The clean-up after will be simple too.

Experiment with herbs and condiments

Herbs are a gift to any cook. Instead of buying them, why not grow the plants in the garden or in a pot on the windowsill? 

Herbs allow you to add single-minded flavour to a dish, without the need to over-season, which is good for everyone.

They’re also packed with incredible nutrition — we like that.

I use a lot of condiments in my new book 7 Ways, like mango chutney, curry pastes, black bean and teriyaki sauces, miso and pesto.

These are items you can find in all supermarkets, and of an extraordinary quality. They guarantee flavour and save hours of time in preparation. Most are long-lasting, which means you’re not under pressure to use them too quickly.

I have been criticised for using these so-called ‘cheat’ ingredients, but I think cheat ingredients help keep food exciting.

I’ve kept the equipment used pretty simple — a set of saucepans and non-stick ovenproof frying pans, a griddle and a shallow casserole pan, chopping boards, sturdy roasting trays and a decent set of knives will see you through.

If you want to save time, there are a few kitchen gadgets that will make your life a lot easier — like a speed-peeler, a box grater, and a pestle and mortar are fantastic for creating great texture and boosting flavour, and a blender and food processor are always a bonus, especially if you’re short on time!

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Stuffed red peppers

Serves 4  

Avocado, lime & feta cheese, qick black bean & smoked ham stew

Cook/prep time: 40 minutes 

  • 4 small red peppers
  • 200g sliced smoked higher-welfare ham
  • 1 onion
  • 2 x 400g tins of black beans
  • 1 x 250g packet cooked, mixed grains
  • 60g feta cheese
  • 1 ripe avocado
  • 2 limes
  • Olive oill
  • Red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 200c/gas 6. Cut the tops off the peppers, pull out the seeds, then sit the lids and bases on the bars of the oven to start softening. 

Finely chop the ham and put in a large, non-stick ovenproof frying pan on a medium heat with one tablespoon of olive oil, stirring as you peel and finely chop the onion. 

Once the ham is crispy, stir in the onion to cook and soften for five minutes. Add a tablespoon of red wine vinegar, then the beans, juice and all. Remove the peppers from the oven and nestle the bases in the stew. 

Divide the grains and a little feta between them and sit the pepper lids ajar. Transfer to the oven for 20 minutes, or until the peppers are cooked through, then season the stew to perfection. 

Dice the avocado flesh, then toss with the juice of one lime and season. 

Spoon over the peppers, crumble over the remaining feta, and serve with lime wedges, for squeezing over. 

Stuffed red peppers

Stuffed red peppers

Stuffed red peppers

Stuffed red peppers
Energy 454kcal 
Fat  19g 
Sat Fat  5.2g 
Protein  27.4g 
Carbs  36.9g 
Sugars  11.6g 
Salt  1.7g 
Fibre  18.9g 

Roasted broccoli on romesco 

Creamy butter beans, smoked almonds, sardines & toast

Cook/prep time: 55 minutes 

Serves 4 

  • 2 heads of broccoli (375g each)
  • 4 cloves of garlic
  • 1 x 460g jar roasted red peppers
  • 320g ripe mixed-colour cherry tomatoes
  • 50g smoked almonds
  • 2 x 400g tins butter beans
  • 5 slices sourdough bread
  • 2 x 120g tins sardines from sustainable sources
  • Red wine vinegar
  • Olive oil

Preheat the oven to 180c/gas 4. Trim the broccoli stalks, then halve each head and place in a roasting tray. 

Peel and finely slice the garlic then add to the tray, tear in the drained peppers, then halve and add the cherry tomatoes. 

Toss with one tablespoon each of red wine vinegar and olive oil, and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, then pull the broccoli halves to the top and roast for 40 minutes. 

Meanwhile, crush half the almonds in a pestle and mortar. Pour the butter beans, juice and all, into a small pan and simmer on a medium-high heat for ten to 15 minutes, or until the liquid has reduced. Remove the broccoli to a board, then put the tray’s contents in a blender. 

Add the remaining almonds, tear in one slice of bread and blitz until smooth, then season to perfection with red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. 

Toast the rest of the bread. Divide the romesco sauce and beans between warm plates. Sit the broccoli on top. 

Scatter over the crushed almonds and serve with sardines and hot toast on the side.

Roasted broccoli on romesco

Roasted broccoli on romesco

Roasted broccoli on romesco

Roasted broccoli on romesco
Energy 563kcal 
Fat  20.9g   
Sat Fat  3.6g   
Protein  39.1g   
Carbs  53.5g   
Sugars  11.8g   
Salt  1.7g   
Fibre  17.3g   

Broccoli & halloumi salad 

Sweet slow-roasted cherry tomatoes, golden peaches, mint & grains

Cook/prep time: 1 hour, 10 minutes

Serves 4  

  • 320g ripe mixed-colour cherry tomatoes
  • 1 head broccoli (375g)
  • 1 x 415g tin peach halves in juicel
  • 100g halloumi
  • 2 x 250g packets mixed, cooked grains
  • 8 mixed-colour olives (stone-in)
  • ½ bunch of mint (15g)
  • 4 tbsp natural yoghurt
  • Extra virgin olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar

Hero ingredient

Never overcook broccoli — it’s best with bite. Try the florets raw, steamed, stir-fried, sautéed or roasted. 

The stem, leaves and flowers are edible too. To prepare the stem, peel off the tough outer skin.

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Preheat the oven to 140c/gas 1. 

Halve the cherry tomatoes, toss with one tablespoon of olive oil and a pinch of sea salt and black pepper, and place cut-side up in a roasting tray. 

Roast for one hour, or until soft and sticky. Meanwhile, trim the tough end off the broccoli stalk. 

Cut off the florets and cook in boiling water for five minutes, then drain. 

Very finely slice the remaining broccoli stalk. Mix two tablespoons each of peach juice, extra virgin olive oil and red wine vinegar, then toss half with the broccoli stalk. 

In a large non-stick frying pan on a medium-high heat cook the halloumi, drained peach halves and broccoli florets until golden, while you heat the grains according to packet instructions. Squash and destone the olives.

On a serving platter, toss the grains with the remaining dressing. 

Arrange everything else on top, tearing the halloumi and any large mint leaves, then spoon over the yoghurt.

Broccoli & halloumi salad

Broccoli & halloumi salad

Broccoli & halloumi salad

Broccoli & halloumi salad
Energy 456kcal 
Fat 20.9g 
Sat Fat 6.9g 
Protein  17.2g 
Carbs  48.7g 
Sugars 13g 
Salt  2g 
Fibre  9.2g 

Broccoli & cheese pierogi 

Super-quick sweet cherry tomato & garlic sauce with chives

Cook/prep time: 50 minutes

Serves 2  

  • 100g self-raising flour, plus extra for dusting
  • 1 free-range large egg
  • 1 head of broccoli (375g)
  • 25g Cheddar cheese
  • ½ bunch chives (10g)
  • 1 tbsp soured cream
  • Olive oil
  • 2 cloves of garlic
  • 1 x 400g tin quality cherry tomatoes

Mix the flour, egg and a pinch of sea salt until you have a smooth dough, adding a splash of water, if needed. 

Knead on a flour-dusted surface for two minutes, cover and pop into the fridge. Trim the tough end off the broccoli stalk. Remove the florets, halving any larger ones, and chop the remaining stalk into 2cm chunks. 

Put one third of the florets aside, then cook the rest with the chopped stalk in a pan of boiling water for 8 minutes. 

Drain and mash well, then finely grate in the cheese, finely chop the chives and add half, stir in the soured cream, season to perfection and leave to cool. Peel and finely slice the garlic. 

Divide the dough into eight, then roll out each piece into a 14cm circle, dusting with flour as you go. Divide up equal amounts of the filling on one side of each circle. 

Lightly brush the exposed pastry with water, then fold it over the filling, twisting along the edge to seal, like in the picture.

Put a large non-stick frying pan on a medium heat with half a tablespoon of olive oil, the pierogi and the reserved broccoli florets. Pour in boiling kettle water until it is 1cm deep, cover and boil for four minutes. 

Uncover and fry the pierogi and broccoli on one side for four minutes, or until the water has evaporated and the bases are golden. 

Meanwhile, place one teaspoon of olive oil and the garlic in the pan you used to boil your broccoli, stir until lightly golden, then pour in the tomatoes, simmer for two minutes and season to perfection. 

Serve it all together, sprinkled with the remaining chives.

Broccoli & cheese pierogi

Broccoli & cheese pierogi

Broccoli & cheese pierogi

Broccoli & cheese pierogi
Energy 402kcal 
Fat 14.7g 
Sat Fat  5.5g 
Protein  22.2g 
Carbs  48.4g 
Sugars  9.5g 
Salt  1.5g 
Fibre  8.1g 

Cauli chicken pot pie

Serves 4  

Smoked pancetta, sweet cherry tomatoes & puff pastry

Cook/prep time: 50 minutes  

  • 1 head of cauliflower (800g)
  • 1 red onion
  • 4 free-range skinless, boneless chicken thighs
  • 4 rashers of higher-welfare smoked pancetta
  • 160g ripe cherry tomatoes
  • 1 heaped tsp wholegrain mustard
  • 2 heaped tsp runny honey
  • 1 x 320g sheet all-butter puff pastry
  • Olive oil
  • Red wine vinegar

Preheat the oven to 220c/gas 7. Click off and discard only the tatty outer leaves of the cauliflower, then cut it into quarters. 

Hero ingredient

Cauliflower is great with spices and is delicious roasted with dried chilli, cumin and coriander seeds. 

The leaves and stalks are also edible and can be added, along with the florets, to dishes like cauliflower cheese.

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Blanch in a pan of boiling water for five minutes, then drain. Meanwhile, peel the onion and cut into sixths. Halve the chicken thighs. 

In a 28cm non-stick ovenproof frying pan on a medium-high heat, fry the chicken and onion with one tablespoon of olive oil, a pinch of sea salt and lots of black pepper until lightly golden, stirring occasionally.

Add the cauliflower to the pan. Cook and turn for five minutes, then push it all to one side of the pan and add the pancetta to crisp up. 

Now add the tomatoes, mustard, honey and one tablespoon of red wine vinegar, and mix well. 

When it’s looking really golden, roll the pastry out a little to fit the pan and place it over the top, using a wooden spoon to push it right into the edges. 

Bake for 25 minutes at the bottom of the oven, or until golden and puffed up. Using oven gloves, pop a large plate over the pan and confidently but very carefully turn out and serve. 

Cauli chicken pot pie

Cauli chicken pot pie

Cauli chicken pot pie

Cauli chicken pot pie
Energy  615kcal 
Fat  34.6g 
Sat Fat  16.9g 
Protein  30.3g 
Carbs  45.7g 
Sugars  14.7g 
Salt  1.4g 
Fibre  6.3g 
Extracted from 7 ways: Easy Ideas For Every Day Of The Week by Jamie Oliver, published by Michael Joseph on August 20, 2020, at £26. © Jamie Oliver 2020

Extracted from 7 ways: Easy Ideas For Every Day Of The Week by Jamie Oliver, published by Michael Joseph on August 20, 2020, at £26. © Jamie Oliver 2020

Extracted from 7 ways: Easy Ideas For Every Day Of The Week by Jamie Oliver, published by Michael Joseph on August 20, 2020, at £26. © Jamie Oliver 2020

Extracted from 7 ways: Easy Ideas For Every Day Of The Week by Jamie Oliver, published by Michael Joseph on August 20, 2020, at £26. 

© Jamie Oliver 2020.

We’ve partnered with WHSmith to offer readers the chance to buy 7 Ways for only £12. 

Pre-order online from today or buy in-store from August 20, 2020.  

See page 60 for details and conditions.

Photography © Levon Biss

Jamie: Keep Cooking Family Favourites will air on Channel 4 at 8pm from Monday, August 17.  

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