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Happy Thursday, dear readers. Lots going on this week. Here in my town, the U.N. General Assembly is meeting for its annual shindig, which is always a little weird, and was made both weirder and more terrifying by a rambling, bellicose speech from a reactionary leader appealing to a domestic audience. Remember when that would have been a description of Qaddafi? I do. Ah, the salad days, when the clownish yet sinister rambler making everyone nervous didn’t have access to the nuclear football. Did I mention that international travel to the U.S. is down? Quelle surprise. Let’s comfort ourselves with some ghormeh sabzi, shall we? 

Moving right along. German elections are coming up on Sunday, and it looks like a done deal for Angela Merkel, although why I ever assume any election will make sense anymore is a mystery, and literally everything carries the stink of the far right these days. While we’re talking Deutschland, was the reunification of Berlin a huge mistake? I know that sounds like a real #slatepitch, but it’s an interesting argument: basically, that western Germany is a distinct political entity and east Germany is really just a bunch of dirty Prussians. I have to admit, there’s a part of my American brain that delights in hearing Europeans debate their current political morasses in terms of ancient Rome and Martin Luther and the like. Everything always comes back to a battle in 1100 or some such. Yep, that was definitely the turning point! 

If you’re thinking less about German politics and more about the High Holy Days, perhaps you’d like to read about celebrating Shabbat in Zimbabwe while making a killer potato kugel. (If you’re serving it with sour cream and caviar, invite me over.) Or maybe you’d like to read about Patti Smith covering Yentl songs in a synagogue while you’re making brisket? There’s always learning to love dill in Russia while making an entire Yotam Ottolenghi holiday feast. Lots of good options.

A few things I’m reading this week: What happens when war is outlawedPunk AF in communist Yugoslavia. Riding the longest train route in India. Turns out Mike D is obsessed with wine? That will make you feel old, fyi. Hot damn, it’s the golden age of animal tracking, y’all! No but really, it is, and it’s fascinating. A closed Facebook group called “Gettin’ Chippy Wit It” is dedicated to chips and the people who love them. How the people whose houses have been destroyed by Hurricanes Harvey and Irma keep cooking. A charming look at cake-mix culture in Alaska

Finally, we at R&K are thinking of our friends in Mexico, which was recently hit by two powerful earthquakes and is now struggling with the aftermath. (For an explainer on why there was so much damage in the capital, consider that “Everyone in the earthquake business knows that Mexico City is built on pudding.”) If you want to contribute to relief efforts, consider the volunteer rescue brigade Topos.
 
That’s it for this week! See you again next week for more of the best in food, politics, and travel from around the web. Tweet me stories you want to see here @caraparks

Photo credit: Sanjit Bakshi