Emperor Franz Josef I. did not belong to those people who were known for their humour. Nevertheless, numerous anecdotes entwine around him.
It was above all his eating behaviour and the speed with which he gobbled down his meals that irritaded many people.
At court the guests were usually not even served the meal ready, when the emperor swallowed the last bite and laid down his fork. But since one was only allowed to eat until His Majesty “picked up the table”, most of his guests remained hungry.
This habit was of course a blessing for the Sacher and Demmel restaurants near the Vienna Hofburg. The hungry guests hurried into these restaurants with a growling stomach and helped them to become famous.
Another anecdote tells us that the emperor received a bread roll with his coffee every morning. On some days he would have liked to have enjoyed another roll, but on the emperor’s plate there was always only one pastry.
The Emperor’s Lord Chamberlain, Count Bellegarde, was quite surprised when his Majesty asked him one day:
“Tell me, my dear Count, how many kilos of flour do we need to bake bread rolls a day?
-16 kilos, Her Majesty.
-Well, then increase the flour portion to 32 kilos from tomorrow, then perhaps there will still be one bread roll left for me!”.
His cooks also had a bad day from time to time, and so it could be that one or the other dish was less successful. The emperor never complained about it, but swallowed also these dishes fast and without let it be noted.
Only once did he turn to his seat neighbor: “What do you think of this leg-hard steak?” But this man just mumbled to himself and didn’t dare a word of criticism.
“You have it easy, you can go to a good restaurant,” the emperor finally remarked resignedly.