The lowly currywurst gets its own museum

currywurst 2

SOME HONORS TAKE LONGER to arrive than others, but when they finally come, they are all the sweeter – and spicier – for the wait. This has been the strange fate of the currywurst, a simple dish for simple people that is celebrating its sixtieth birthday next month and has now received its very own museum in the heart of Germany’s capital.

Many towns claim authorship, but there is no longer any reasonable doubt that the original currywurst was invented in Berlin, one of Europe’s great cultural and culinary melting pots. (Yes, writer Uwe Timm has claimed in a recent novel that the currywurst was actually created in Hamburg in 1947, but here in Berlin we pay no attention to him.) Herta Heuwer (1913-99), the proprietor of a modest snack stand at the corner of Kant and Kaiser-Friedrich-Strasse in the British sector of West Berlin, sold her first currywurst on September 4, 1949. According to one story, Heuwer invented the currywurst by chance. Her husband had just returned from an American POW camp and demanded to be fed spare ribs. Heuwer had none to offer in those lean times, so she experimented with ketchup and curry powder one fateful afternoon and the rest is a particularly spicy chapter of postwar German history. …



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