Food and drink are our theme this week, though sometimes, as you will see, the connection is a little oblique.
First to Kosovo. Whatever other inconveniences may materialise in the next few days, I want to reassure you that one can eat or drink perfectly well in Pristina, the capital. There are several smart restaurants which serve decent local wine, though Montenegrin Vranac is the most widely available, and the pizzas are excellent. (If you are not a pizza fan, it must be said, the choice is more limited.)
As an aficionado of macchiato coffee, Kosovo was a revelation to me. I am tired of having to explain in London establishments that macchiato consists of a double espresso with a little foamed milk on top, but in Pristina you could get it everywhere. It must be the Italian influence.
Thus enthused, I went to see a play in Albanian entitled Makiato Boys, only to discover that it was basically Reservoir Dogs with local jokes (and swearwords). The audience seemed to find the torture scenes the funniest, because somewhere along the line they appear to have become rather desensitised to violence. I can't think why.
In America, meanwhile, wine drinkers could soon be hard put to it to know anything about the wine they are drinking, because there just won't be space on the bottle for the information.
There are already two warnings on every label - one about the dangers of alcohol in general, the other addressed specifically to pregnant women. But research has proved that a couple of glasses of red wine a day are good for fending off heart disease, and winemakers have been lobbying for this to be put on the bottle as well.
The authorities balked at having three messages on labels, two saying "wine is bad for you" and another saying, in effect, "no, it's good for you". A messy compromise has now been reached: if they choose, producers can say: "The proud people who made this wine encourage you to consult your family doctor about the health effects of wine consumption." Or they can advise: "To learn the health effects of wine consumption, send for the Federal Government's Dietary Guidelines for Americans." I don't know about you, but this just sounds like a third health warning.
Meat is murder
They are not so fastidious in Venezuela, judging by the comments of Dorangel Vargas, who was arrested after two hands and a foot were found buried near his home in a mountain village
Vargas granted an interview to El Nacion newspaper, in which he said he had eaten about 10 men: "I'm a people eater. I'm mixed up in this because I'm destitute." Was he sorry? "No. On the contrary, I'm happy."
Vargas added that he didn't eat women, "because they don't mess with anyone". Or was it because he didn't like the taste?Reuse content