the original fat-shamer


I did it first

Long before anybody thought to produce a Buns of Steel video, or invent a craze like Fitbie, or storm the gym with kettlebells, before Crossfits opened up in vacant garages and hemp-sucking gurus had SoCal hausfraus half-moon posing up and down the coast, I turned the Hofburg Imperial Apartments into my private fitness torture chamber.

who needs an elliptical when you have an abs ladder in your toilette!

who needs an elliptical when you have an abs ladder in your toilette!

My mother-in-law nearly had me sent to the nuthouse for my dogged determination to immediately squeeze back into my pre-pregnancy frocks-all tailored to fit a 16-inch waist. But the difference between me and the so-called “what’s your excuse mom” – chastised for bearing a taut midriff whilst braggily displaying the ages of her three small boys – is that I worked out fanatically as an antidote to the limelight, rather than as some sort of aspiration toward it. I suppose, had there been social media in Vienna in the 1800s, I might have had a little Facebook page cobbled together under an assumed name so I could know what all the fuss was about. But I sincerely doubt I would have festooned it with selfie after selfie.  No, it was more my style to hide behind enormous fans and, after I reached a (ahem) certain age, I forbade my picture to be painted or photographed by anyone. (The paparazzi of the day thought themselves mighty clever bullshopping wrinkles and sags on existing prints.)

Aging is for sissies. Other sissies.

Aging is for sissies. Other sissies.

Don’t get me wrong, though. I’m all for fat-shaming. The excesses of Court are enough to send me into fits of purge just thinking about the various courses and wine pairings, grizzly meat and lavishly iced sweets. And I’m just talking breakfast!

We were too fat then, and you’re all too fat now. Yes, I’m talking to YOU! Do you really need that extra helping of mashed potatoes? The Big Gulp you consume after your ten-minute treadmill walk? And don’t get me started on Mexican fast food.


Let me ask you. Are you often tired and grumpy? Is there a crater-sized depression in your living room sofa made by your lumpy keister? Are you longing to fit back into those skinny jeans, or, say, your Winterhalter gala gown? Well, I just might have an answer.

Try my “Clean Eating the Sisi Way” diet! It’s as easy as a trip to the butcher, the baker and the candlestick maker (okay, not the candlestick maker – the dairy farmer – but that didn’t rhyme).

Choose from the following items, eat them in any order, and alternate 15 mile alpine hikes with a day of riding the biggest stallion you can find, and you’ll be in Sisi Shape in no time!

Meal #1:

  • fresh goat’s milk and honey – 1 cup
  • veal blood – a shot glass or 2
  • rose petal water – as much as you like

Meal #2

  • sheep’s urine – diluted, of course. Full strength is nasty!
  • rabbit toes  – may sub young pig’s feet upon occasion
  • rose petal water – I admit, it helps to have servants to squeeze the petals

Meal #3

  • sorbet – any kind, really, as long as it’s infused with lemon zest
  • rose petal water – just can’t have too much!

happy birthday to me

fairysnowcastle175 years ago today, not in a manger, but in something similar, Her Royal Highness Duchess Elisabeth Amalie Eugenie, the fourth child and second daughter of Duke Maximilian Joseph  and Princess Ludovika of Bavaria was born.

Christmas Eve, naturally, is my favorite day of the year. Nothing says “over the top” quite like a Bavarian Princess birthday party, and combined with alpine snow and a little Schnapps, well, does it get any better?

badischl2Maybe next year you will plan a trip to Bavaria? Shop the market, ski the slopes, visit the castle? Try a pint of our finest? (fyi, according to the Bavarian Beer Purity Law of 1516–still enforced today–the only ingredients that can be used in the production of beer are water, barley and hops. None of that fancy spice or  special yeast.)

I’ll be there, of course. Sitting on my virtual throne, dancing with the Emperor, and alighting my spirit upon all things Yule.

Prost, and good health.

Love, Sisi

a moment of catiness. meow.

I'd give my best cow for frock that blue!

Kate, Kate, Kate. Okay, she’s a “style icon,” I buy that. And for a Brit her teeth are fantastic! And she’s obviously a regular at the brow bar. But. Does she have a twenty inch waist? I think not.

Much has been made of my obsession with my figure. They called me obsessive. Vain. At times they said I was clearly mad, thinking that I imagined drowning in a vat of hog lard when I refused to eat the ridiculously lavish blood sausage and biscuit meals they put before me at the Hof.

So what if I preferred to bring my own livestock when I went on holiday? You can never be too careful what with cholera and mad cow and the like.

I just hope that when Kate Middleton becomes Mrs. Crown Prince, she intends to accessorize with more than a mere suntan and wide-brimmed hat.  There, I said it.  Now I must roast in hell.

let’s make some haggis and other scrumptious foods!

ladies, get your fires going!

Looking for some inspiration in the kitchen?  Look no further.  Here are a few of my very favorite recipes from my childhood at Possenhofen.

BOILED HARE:  De-fur and clean the hare, debone, truss, and place in a large pot, add a bit of lard,  some garum, fowl stock, and a bouquet or two of leek, coriander, and dill.

While this cooks, put pepper, lovage, cumin, coriander seeds, devil’s dung, dried onions, mint, rue, and celery seeds in a mortar-and-pestle and grind, grind, grind.

Then, moisten with garum, add honey and cooking juices and work together with some well-boiled defrutum and vinegar. Boil sauce and thicken with flour.

Untruss the hare, cover with sauce, sprinkle with pepper and serve.

Preparation time: 6 hours (or more, if you have to kill the hare).  Serves up to eight children and two adults.

HAGGIS: (note: make this only when the Scots or Brits come calling.  This was a favorite with Queen Victoria–that’s why she grew so fat, I imagine.)


1 cleaned sheep or lamb’s paunch
2 lb  dry oatmeal
1 lb Lamb’s liver, boiled and minced
1 lamb’s heart, boiled and minced
1 lamb’s lights (lungs) boiled and minced
1 large finely chopped onion
1/2 teaspoon each: cayenne pepper, ground allspice, salt and pepper
1 pint Stock

See that the paunch is well cleaned, then soak it in salt and water for about 2 hours, take out and let it dry. Put the oatmeal on a baking tray in a low oven and let it dry out and crisp up a little. Then cook the liver, heart (trimmed) and lights in salted water to cover and cook for about 1/2 hour. Strain, but reserve the stock, and chop the meats up finely, or mince. Mix all ingredients (except the paunch) together and season well. Then add the stock. Put into the cleaned paunch (fill to about half) and sew up loosely, but securely. Have ready a large pot of boiling water mixed with the rest of the liver stock, prick the haggis all oaver wirh a small knitting needle to prevent bursting, then cook in the water and stock, at a slow simmer uncovered, but keep up water level, for about 3 hours. Serves about 16.

BLACK PUDDING- the other white meat: No collection of favorites would be complete without sausage.  Don’t you agree?  This is a favorite breakfast treat in the Wittelsbach house–and, it’s reasonably quick to fix, if you have the blood on hand:

Take one quart of pig’s blood and mix with an equal amount of milk and half a pound of raw sheep fat (best if it came from near the organs).

Add a cup of cooked barley, a cup of rolled oats and some salt, pepper and mint.

Cook the mixture for five minutes, and then spoon it into waiting intestine.  Put the sausage into a pot of water and simmer for ten minutes, and voila!  Breakfast is served.