Lately in the news there seems to be a whiff of Rome burning accompanied by distant strains of fiddling. Take the recent G8 summit, for example. The UK’s Daily Mail, always on the lookout for a good apocalyptic story, reports that leaders at the summit enjoyed an extravagant banquet, featuring caviar, milk-fed lamb, sea urchin, champagne, and something called the “G8 ‘Fantasy’ dessert.” Luxe for anyone, certainly, but especially noteworthy considering the leaders were gathered to discuss global food shortages.

The Guardian noted, “But not since Marie Antoinette was supposed to have leaned from a Versailles palace window and suggested that the breadless peasants eat cake can leaders have demonstrated such insensitivity to daily hardship than at the luxury Windsor hotel on the Japanese island of Hokkaido.”

It’s a good bet the “Fantasy” dessert wasn’t humble pie.

Then, this story: For the upcoming Discovery Channel series Chef’s Domain, a chef from Newfoundland, Canada, created a new cocktail, the iceberg martini. The recipe calls for vodka, blue Curaçao, litchi liqueur, lemon juice, syrup, and a chunk of 15,000-year-old iceberg. To get the aged chunk of glacier, the chef accompanied harvesters who routinely shoot at icebergs to supply Iceberg Vodka. Lucky for them, there are “record numbers of icebergs in the area this year,” the article notes. Interesting, that.

Sounds like a charming apéritif for a meal at the Restaurant at the End of the Universe (chapter 15).

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