The schnitzel is the favourite food of the Austrians. It is a battered and deep-fried pork or veal cutlet and can be almost as large as a dinner plate. It is often accompanied by what is euphemistically known as a salad. The so-called salad normally consists of a small lettuce leaf topped with a quartered tomato and a few slices of cold potato. A presenter on my favourite radio station, FM4, summed up the schnitzel: It can lie in your stomach for a week waiting to be digested.
A week is the amount of time set aside for the Fritzl trial in the Austrian city of Sankt Pölten.
For those who have been living on another planet the basic facts are that Joseph Fritzl, now 73, of Amstetten in Lower Austria imprisoned his daughter in the cellar of the family residence when she was 18 years and fathered at least 7 babies by her. She was kept underground for 24 years. Three of the children were brought upstairs to join the main family in the house above. Fritzl told the authorities that he had found these children on his doorstep.
The authorities readily accepted this version of events despite the fact that Herr Fritzl was building an underground bunker and had planning permission to do so. Mrs Fritzl's suspicions were not aroused when her husband stocked-up with foodstuffs and regularly disappeared below ground, especially on his daughter's birthday and at Christmas. What went on in the Fritzl house when the breadwinner was away on sex holidays in Thailand is unclear. We can only surmise.
Herr Fritzl has become the man with the blue folder for a head. He is almost like a Renee´ Margrite painting or a Wallace Stevens poem as he enters and leaves the courtroom with his blue folder-shaped head. The whole thing is bizarre in the extreme. A half-page photo in Austria's popular daily paper the Kronen Zeitung shows blue headed Fritzl flanked by three police officers. It is a worm's eye view. The strange long-legged powerful image can only be compared to a child's view of a Banana Republic statue group.
And so back to the Fritzl Schnitzels. The internet paper Austrian Times reports that the Mayor of Sankt Pölten has instructed an innkeeper in the town to take Fritzl Schnitzels off the menu. The €9 meals are not to go on sale. It would be in bad taste.