Currywurst is a fast-food dish of German heritage comprised of steamed, then fried pork sausage. It is generally cut into bite-sized chunks and cooked with curry ketchup, a sauce based on spiced ketchup or tomato paste. Then it is topped with curry powder, or ready-made ketchup seasoned with curry and other spices. French fries also typically accompany the dish.
The sources of the currywurst are clearly ascribed to Germany. In 1949 Herta Heuer, a resourceful German housewife, exchanged some spirits for ketchup with British soldiers. The trade developed the meal-made up of German sausage.
Currywurst eventually became a staple food, primarily among construction workers who enjoyed its high protein content, a hint of exotic flavor, and low cost. Its convenience, affordability, low cost, and wide following of film stars, entrepreneurs, and high-profile politicians, including Chancellor Angela Merkel, Gerhard Schröder, and Berlin mayor Klaus Wowereit, represent Berlin’s egalitarian attitude toward food.
About German Currywurst
Currywurst is frequently sold today as a take-out/takeaway meal at Schnellimbisse (snack stands), diners or “greasy spoons,” on children’s menus in restaurants, or as street food. It is usually served with french fries or broth rolls (Brötchen). It is common throughout Germany but particularly in the Berlin, Hamburg, and Ruhr metropolitan areas.
A significant difference exists between these regions, in both the form of sausage used and the sauce ingredients. Popular variations include adding paprika or chopped onions; halal food stands are often prepared with beef sausage currywurst. Hungry diners can choose between mit darm or ohne darm (with casing or without) at many currywurst spots.
Post-World War II Germany, in particular in Berlin, was a dire, ravaged, and impoverished nation. Resources were scarce, and casings of sausages were in short supply. Traditional currywurst, therefore, is eaten without the casing.
Gastronomic development offers a glimpse into the post-war mindset of Berlin. Its ability to move beyond a terrible past, embrace new trends, and make them its own represents a conventional and yet still changing food culture.
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