The Blog

Breakfast mit Joschka

Germany's foreign minister discusses Israel, America, and Europe over eggs, bacon, and muesli.

12:00 AM, May 2, 2002 • By VICTORINO MATUS
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As for the strained transatlantic relationship, Fischer threw a curveball: "My overall assessment is that the relationship between the United States and Europe depends on Europe. If anything, we need more of the United States and less of Europe. In a way, we are 200 years behind you--we're only now getting to the 'Federalist Papers.'" (Fischer once said that whenever he visits America, he heads for the Barnes and Noble and straight to the Founders and Constitution aisle.)

But there was something else I wanted to ask the minister. Something that would've been wholly inappropriate during this formal breakfast. I wanted to ask him about his diet. At 5 feet and 11 inches tall, Fischer used to weigh a hefty 246 pounds. His diet, as reported in the Washington Post, included "sausage, ham, cheese, eggs, fried potatoes, bread, butter and jam--just for breakfast. Then I would have an opulent lunch with only a slight twinge of guilt, followed by curry wurst and French fries as an afternoon snack, before really cutting loose with an enormous dinner without any concern about calories or my health." Perhaps saddest of all, Fischer once explained, "I fell into the habit of thinking how so many problems could be settled over a good meal."

We've all been there, pal.

But the new Joschka is an exercise nut, running daily, and staying away from the curry wurst. And he weighs roughly 165 pounds. But how has the crisis since September 11 affected him? At the meeting's conclusion, I cornered him and popped the question. He looked at me sternly, his assistant smiled nervously. Then he said, "You know, I still average around 14 kilometers a day. And maybe 40 kilometers a week. I do them at intervals. But last September, I was in my office at one time for 48 hours straight. It was terrible."

How much does he eat for breakfast? I couldn't tell. He skipped it.

Victorino Matus is an assistant managing editor at The Weekly Standard.