Weekend Edition: The week's best reads

Fairey Rotodyne in action Image copyright Getty Images

A collection of some of the best features from the BBC News website this week, with an injection of your comments.

"Good story," tweeted The Aviation Historian. The Rotodyne was once described as a "new way of flying" and the Government had hoped it would become a mass mode of transport. After much tinkering, it first flew abroad to Paris from Heathrow, via Dover and Brussels, in June 1959. However, the half-helicopter, half-plane never really took off and it was scrapped in 1962.

Why did the half-plane, half-helicopter not work?

Red hot mama

Image copyright Getty Images

"Move over Beyonce. The fascinating story of the original queen of celeb PR," tweeted Claire Bonfante. This is the story of the jazz singer who was friends with gangsters and presidents and was proud to be "fat". Sophie Tucker wrote down the names and addresses of fans in her binder, and before her next tour she sent postcards to let them know she'd be in town. By the time she died, she had collected over 10,000 addresses in this way. "She was an incredible woman - so strong," says Sue Kelvin, who played Tucker in a one-woman show in the UK.

The 'fat girl' everybody loved

Mao's mangoes

"Truly captivating piece about the bizarre period when China was gripped by mango hysteria," posted Emma Byrne. This is the tale of how the mango become "holy" during Mao Zedong's Cultural Revolution in China. Wax replicas of the fruit were made and carried around on silk cushions. Real ones were preserved in formaldehyde. A chartered plane flew a single fruit to a factory in Shanghai. And one man was executed after he insulted a mango. Mao had given 40 of the fruits to workers as a present and as a result, "not only was the mango a gift from the Chairman, it was the Chairman", says one expert.

China's curious cult of the mango

Finest dining

Image copyright Getty Images

Foraging along city canals, shaving tiny shards of carrot, and diving into ants' nests are just some of the skills required in the modern kitchen. The world's best chefs are using ever more obscure ingredients and elaborate techniques. But who decides which food is the "best in the world" - and what are French authorities doing to try to preserve their country's position as the world's culinary capital?

Is there such a thing as 'the world's best chef'?

A 50s classic

Image copyright Eames Office LLC
Image caption Charles Eames in the chair he designed with his wife, Ray

"I love this! Can I order one please?" posted Florence Lasbery. When the Eames lounge chair and ottoman were launched in 1956, they signalled a new direction in American consumerism. The luxurious leather recliner appealed directly to an American public ready to leave behind the austerities of the post-war years, and treat itself to a very comfortable symbol of affluence. The chair is still made today, 60 years later. "It's very easy to fall asleep in," says the grandson of the designers Charles and Ray.

The chair modelled on a baseball mitt

Recommended reads from elsewhere

Trident: the British question - The Guardian

An old-school reply to an advertiser's retro threat - Financial Times

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