70 Jahre Currywurst
February 9, 2019 6:29 PM   Subscribe

Currywurst [translation] was invented by Herta Heuwer 70 years ago, and there's a plaque in her honor in Berlin. The Staatliche Münze Berlin has been minting coins since 1750, but it took 269 years to release a coin in honor of currywurst. It is spectacular.
posted by moonmilk (33 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite
I think this might be the best gift ever. I would be thrilled to receive this from just about anybody. I'd leave it lying around, the perfect conversation starter. brilliant.
posted by some loser at 7:12 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

Oh wow, that coin is ... the wurst.

Currywurst is great. I had it first when visiting parts of Germany just after college, and I've been making it at home ever since, preferably with crisp-cooked tater tots (referred to as "brats 'n tots" in my house). Long live currywurst!
posted by tocts at 7:13 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]

That coin is indeed amazing. Truly a fitting way to honor currywurst.

Currywurst is awful. I feel terrible to say it, but there it is. I was just at Konnopke's last month. So once again, against my better judgement, I tried their famous currywurst. And just as awful as remembered. A boring hot-dog like sausage, some sweet thin ketchup, and then a tiny dusting of raw curry powder. I mean as snack food goes it's not awful but it could be so much more. Also right around Konnopke's are about six Döner shops and three Pho joints, not to mention a surprisingly good Mexican joint. I'd nominate the Döner Kebap as the true Berlin snack food if there weren't so many other German cities that could lay claim to it.

The only currywurst I ever liked much was at Berliner Republik, this kinda goofy but kinda pleasant restaurant. Not at all a traditional currywurst; this is a big fat sausage, excellent pork, and they put the curry powder in the sausage so it's nicely cooked and flavors all the meat. The ketchup isn't as awful and sweet as the usual street food version either.
posted by Nelson at 7:19 PM on February 9 [7 favorites]

Thank you for making a post about poop so I don't have to.

That is poop on the coin, right?
posted by Johnny Wallflower at 7:27 PM on February 9 [2 favorites]

Thank you, Nelson. My sentiments exactly.

The German palate is puzzling to me. The same culture that can make incredibly flavorful and omg hot mustards, for example, delights in flavorless currywursts and other snacks of the sort. (case in point: Anything marked "paprika")
posted by JoeZydeco at 7:47 PM on February 9 [4 favorites]

The German bars near me serve curry ketchup with their sausages and it's great. Though one of them has an entire pod of food carts nearby so I am usually eating Korean fusion to go with my Franziskäner instead.
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit at 8:44 PM on February 9 [1 favorite]

I love a currywurst and don't know what people mean by flavourlessness.

You can get the sauce here but it's expensive. I've tried making my own, and a reasonable approximation is not hard to make, which is nice.

You know I've never thought of this before, but I wonder if you could get currywurst sauce on bratkartoffeln. That might be nice.

I always just got it from whatever imbiss place was nearby, in the car park at Hornbach or whatever, and have never been disappointed.
posted by AnhydrousLove at 8:58 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]

How the hell did the Something Awful goons hack all these sites and upload their latest Photoshop Phriday winner??
posted by Foci for Analysis at 9:14 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]

The one time my wife and I had currywurst in Germany, my Desi wife took one bite, looked at it, looked at me, and said "That's not curry". And she's right - it's just a sausage with flavoured ketchup. "Meh", verging towards "feh". Give me a proper bratwurst any day.
posted by e-man at 9:27 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]

Pommes oder Brot?
posted by infinitewindow at 10:23 PM on February 9 [3 favorites]

look, anybody can put currywurst on a coin, wake me up when its currywurst woven entirely from silk on a Jacquard loom

jk, this is cool and now i want to try currywurst
posted by Two unicycles and some duct tape at 12:23 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]

I spent a summer in Berlin and would regularly, like most every day, stop at an Imbiss and get currywurst and fries. Or was it a boulette? That was kind of like meat loaf, also smothered in ketchup. Fantastic junk food.
posted by zardoz at 2:15 AM on February 10 [1 favorite]

In this silver coin, Heuwer and her creation are celebrated for perpetuity, though the artist’s impressions of both are a little unflattering, to say the least.

Probably because she decided to take her secret sauce recipe to her grave.
posted by hat_eater at 4:04 AM on February 10

I tried this from one of the locally blessed "good" currywurst stalls in Berlin a couple of years back. A big fat meh... Keen's curry powder sprinkled over tomato sauce, maybe with a dash of some approximation to Worcester Sauce. Just blrrrrk. Tried it again last year for some reason, and it was, well, even Wurst. Die schlimmste Wurst.
posted by pjm at 4:29 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]

Bosna > Currywurst.
posted by slkinsey at 5:14 AM on February 10

Berlin used to have an excellent Currywurst museum, which I have heard closed down recently. However, on my visit there, inbetween fighting my friends with giant pommes and playing the other games, I learned that currywurst is essentially a post-war invention. It's from a time when people were just recovering from their country almost starving to death, food was being airlifted in, and flavour was a secondary concern. To be able to make the sausage have flavour, and to have consistently interesting flavour, was no small matter. Our jaded palettes, filled with bimimbap and pho and whatever, might not appreciate currywurst as much - and for myself, as a vegetarian, it's usually off the menu - but we can appreciate Frau Heuwer's contribution to Germanic food culture anyway.
posted by The River Ivel at 5:24 AM on February 10 [9 favorites]

So, file currywurst alongside mementos of bitter hardship and desperate hunger reframed as treasured culinary heritage, alongside Icelandic fermented shark and such?
posted by acb at 6:12 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]

Am I the only person here who actually, legitimately enjoys currywurst? I have to say, though, not all currywursts are made equal. My favourite is Curry 65 by the Gesundbrunnen station, next to the S-Bahn entrance (not to be confused with Curry Baude, which is by the U-Bahn entrance). Be sure to get the version with the Darm (sausage casing).

My boyfriend is also a currywurst fan, and I would have gotten the memorial coin for him, were it not so hideous.
posted by tickingclock at 6:15 AM on February 10 [9 favorites]

Currywurst is love/hate. I walk past one of the more 'renowned' curry stands here on a daily basis and the scent makes me walk faster to get out of the way. Other Berliners may not agree with me.

When it comes to classic Berliner-German cuisine: sausage, Pfannkuchen (donuts) and sauerkraut and more have better versions 100km to the east. In Poland.
posted by romanb at 6:32 AM on February 10

Yeah, I don’t understand how you can “hate” something that isn’t even prepared uniformly. Some places make a FANTASTIC currywurst. Hating on flavorless currywurst is like hating steak because you got a tough one at Chili’s.
posted by hwyengr at 6:40 AM on February 10 [7 favorites]

That coin... it's a test designed to evoke an emotional response, right?
posted by Devonian at 8:03 AM on February 10 [3 favorites]

You're walking in the desert. You see a tortoise trying to eat a currywurst, but the curry sauce is in a little plastic cup. The tortoise is trying to pick up the cup but it just keeps struggling. What do you do?
posted by moonmilk at 8:46 AM on February 10 [4 favorites]

Well, this answers my Valentines Day planning questions. (Assuming I have the machine translation skills to acquire one.)

I don't personally get the appeal. Sure, it's better than an American hot dog with ketchup. But, only just. Still, my spouse loves it. I'm enthusiastic about endorsing things that make people happy and do little harm.
posted by eotvos at 9:01 AM on February 10 [2 favorites]

Currywurst always reminds me of Karl May, the German who wrote Westerns that started a craze for "Coyboys and Indians" in Germany in the early 1900s. You don't worry about authenticity, you just wonder what made it resonate with German culture. [I like the currywurst at our local doner joint, but I don't spend a lot of time worrying about whether it's actually curry-like]
posted by acrasis at 9:10 AM on February 10

Maybe I missed it, but I haven't seen a mention of this book in the thread so far.
posted by uosuaq at 3:20 PM on February 10 [1 favorite]

Käsekrainer, Senf und Semmel or death.
posted by misterpatrick at 4:17 PM on February 10

Lucky Peach wrote a sausage book a while back, "The Wurst of Lucky Peach" (they admit in the book that they came up with the title before anything else), and they are not fans of the Currywurst. I love a good currywurst - it's a perfect midafternoon snack when you're walking around and need something to hold you over until dinner. (Doners are for after a hard night out.)

One thing I really like about it is the specialized machinery used to prepare it - the sausage cutter. Pull the sausage out of its water bath, insert it in to the tube of the cutter, and snik-snik-snik you get perfect sausage slices which then get drenched in curry ketchup! I love any and all quick-serve foods that require special hardware (see also bubble tea robo-shakers and cup sealers).

There is also something about German ketchup that I like way more than your typical American Heinz. Maybe it's the real sugar, or it's less sweet, or... more tomato-y? I'm not sure. I have been unable to recreate it at home.

My true devotion, however, is to the Rotewurst served in a roll with a crust that's hard enough to draw blood and the little ends of the sausage sticking out of either side.
posted by backseatpilot at 4:20 PM on February 10 [4 favorites]

That coin is delightfully atrocious, kinda like currywurst. It shouldn't work, but it does and it's wonderful and I ate incredibly good when I visited Germany a few months back, but the curryworst from some random street-food shack in Frankfurt was an absolute highlight.
posted by asnider at 9:32 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]

It's not a coin, it's a medal. Coins must be struck by governments and be monetized. /pedant
posted by oneirodynia at 9:50 AM on February 11 [2 favorites]

Konnopke's curry worst is an example of good local street food gone bad. Like a lot of Berlin street stands, they use a bland skinless bratwurst which has no character at all, the fries are absolute crap, and you have to eat it standing on a traffic island beneath an elevated train station. The skinless sausages - basically tubular baloney - are about half cereal filler, which allow them to "brown" easier on a grill. The cheap price point promotes the real money maker - beer. The wurst stand at the Kaufhaus near Alex-platz is better, but even their curry wurst disappoints. Berlin just is not a very good wurst town: stick to the doner kebab.
posted by zaelic at 1:54 PM on February 11 [1 favorite]

Konnopke definitely offers sausages with skin (mit Darm). The one I had there a few weeks ago didn't taste of cereals or fillers either. Still not a very interesting sausage. And it's true it's still a street food stall although they have a nice little sitting area on that traffic island under the train station. That traffic island happens to be right where Berlin - Ecke Schönhauser was filmed, East Germany's movie answer to Blackboard Jungle or Rebel Without a Cause. So it has some arty associations.

Anyway, I've had about 10 currywursten in my life now in Berlin in various places and I've finally learned my lesson. I don't like the dish. It's not just the sausage, it's the sweet sauce and the tiny sprinkle of raw curry powder. Fortunately Germany and Berlin has many great sausages to order as street food. Not to mention a Döner Kebap stand on every corner.)

(I am literally drinking coffee out of my Konnopke's mug now. I don't much like their currywurst, but I like my Berlin kitsch.)
posted by Nelson at 4:20 PM on February 11 [2 favorites]

Just like Berliner Currywurst, Berlin is meh. Terrible urban space. Still don't understand how they could make the place capital after Bonn served that role with dignity and humility for 40+ years. If you want a proper German experience and a delectable Currywurst, visit the Ruhrgebiet and seek out Curry-Heini.
posted by fordiebianco at 5:22 AM on February 12

Maybe that's the difference. My currywurst experiences come out of Bavaria. And a fantastic food truck in Chicago that sells both doner and currywurst. Talk about hard choices!
posted by hwyengr at 8:11 AM on February 12

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