• THE KURDISTAN DIET: Sampling the local cuisine can be one of the best - and worst - parts of a foreign correspondent's job. After six weeks in Kurdistan (page 7), the Monitor's Cameron Barr offers a review of the Kurdish menu.
"The kebabs are superb. The roast chicken isn't bad. But restaurants in Iraqi Kurdistan really stumble when it comes to dessert. The gamut of dessert options pretty much runs from fruit to fruit," he says. Kurds seem to have a particular fondness for bananas, which come from places such as Colombia and Ecuador. "Don't ask me how they get here," says our reporter.
"But the other night at dinner in the hotel restaurant," he says, "there were rumors of cake. Sure enough, out came the slices: yellow cake with white frosting. Considering I haven't really eaten anything sweet in six weeks that didn't come in a wrapper or a peel, it was really pretty good. Wags at the table said it was like birthday cake you find in the fridge a week after the party, but no one was complaining."
David Clark Scott
• EXPENSIVE GASOLINE: A Canadian man, jailed after crossing the US border to buy cheap gasoline, pleaded guilty to a felony count Monday as part of a deal that will spare him additional jail time, the Associated Press reports.
As reported the Nov. 29 Monitor, Michel Jalbert of Quebec, was arrested when he drove to Estcourt, Maine, without checking in with US Border Patrol. Border agents also found a shotgun that Mr. Jalbert said he used for hunting. His arrest started an international debate on border security. Jalbert, whose wife is a US citizen, agreed never to enter the country again. Critics said the arrest was unfair, since the 50-foot-long road Jalbert took only leads to a gas station, where scores of Canadians go each day.