Wednesday, May 9, 2007

The Humble Currywurst...


The most prevalent food item for sale from the numerous street vendors in Berlin is something called currywurst. It is considered "fast food" and as its name implies, it is a sausage with curry added. It is served on a plate, cut into sections and covered with a ketchup which has also been flavored with curry.

Wikipedia has this to say about currywurst: "Currywurst seems to have been invented in the post-World War II years, although the exact time and place of the event remain subject to controversy. According to the Berlin legend, currywurst sauce was invented by one Herta Heuwer (b. 30 June 1913, Königsberg, d. 3 July 1999 in Berlin) when, while waiting for customers at her sausage stall in Berlin's Charlottenburg district on the rainy day of 4 September 1949, she started to experiment with the ingredients out of sheer boredom. According to the Ruhr area legend, the sauce was accidentally invented by a sausage stall owner in Essen, who dropped a can with curry powder into some ketchup. In his 1993 novella entitled Die Entdeckung der Currywurst ("The Discovery of the Currywurst"), the renowned author Uwe Timm dates it to 1947 and attributes it to a fictional character called Lena Brücker, who ran a stall in Hamburg. Early in his career, Herbert Grönemeyer, raised in Bochum and arguably the most successful German pop singer, devoted a song to currywurst with lyrics in the typical sociolect of the Ruhr Area."

Currywurst was our first meal in Berlin when we left the hotel to explore the surrounding area and ended up in a little street stand near the Brandenburg Gate. Kathy had told me about this supposed delicacy, and I was actually keen to try it, since I love spicy food, and Indian food, and spicy Indian food. However, the combining of hot dogs and curry doesn't create some new superfood. It tastes like a hot dog with curry on it. And the curry flavored ketchup is just overkill.

There is a currywurst museum in Berlin that we, alas, did not visit.

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