Herta Heuer: invented with curry, the cult food of Germans

sPeople look for support especially in mixed times. They need something that was there before the problem and will still be there after it’s over. And whatever can be said against Herbert Grünemeyer, the great German poet – by the way, not so little – these words from the eighties have stood the test of time: “Go to town, what fills you there?” Exactly, a curry dish. “You came from a shift, what a nice jeep from how – Currywurst. With what you fry with you, man, go twice – Currywurst!”

Is this because the spicy dish has a really equal price level? Is it because it came from a time when Germany looked gray but there was great hope that things would get better? Be it this way: The Federal Republic’s favorite snack has been a relief to the soul for everyone who hasn’t had problems consuming meat, even during a pandemic. Despite all the propaganda from Hamburg to the contrary, they can thank Berlin snack bar operator Herta Heuer. On September 4, 1949, she presented her first “Special Curry Sausage” at her booth in Kantstraße.

“Tradition and Pleasure”: a commemorative plaque of Hertha Heuer on Stuttgarter Platz in Berlin

Source: Photo Alliance / Photo Agency S

The reaction of the guests was not delivered, but the businesswoman and the trained seamstress did not seem to look at the completely angry faces. Ironically, a prerequisite for the creation was the fact that the empire, whose operators wanted it to last 1,000 years, ended with an unconditional surrender on May 8, 1945, just over twelve years later. Without the occupiers from Great Britain, it would likely have taken a few more years before curry—imported from the English Crown Colony in India—would be readily available in Germany.

Heuer’s story from day one mixing sauce with sausage has some inconsistencies. According to her memory, it was raining, but according to weather records, September 4, 1949 was a dry day. Rarely did a Heuwer man, according to other sources, certainly play a role: butcher Max Brückner founded a company in Berlin-Spandau after the war and developed sausages that were put together without a protective casing – at that time the casing was in the gut, and that was scarce. So: Heuer sauce, Bruckner’s sausage, that’s the mix.

On the other hand, the Hamburg legend that says creation dates back to the Hanseatic city clearly belongs to the realm of fantasy. For his novel “Discovery of the Curiosity,” writer Uwe Tim invented snack bar owner Lena Bruckner, who first prepared the specialty dish. He wanted to point out the power of German women in the post-war period, but his story has no real background. The Heuwer dish, on the other hand, began its triumphant career as early as the 1950s: in 1951, the Butchers Guild set quality standards, ie the portion was not allowed to be smoked or contained too much water.

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If the quality of the meat is too low, the result cannot be called “currywurst”, terms such as “steamed sausage with curry” have been used as a fancy dress, just as Wiener Schnitzel should not be made from veal like Wiener Schnitzel. Heuwer’s sauce was named “Chillup,” based on the ingredients for chili peppers and ketchup.

Since 1960, a snack bar like Konnopke has been serving the band in East Berlin, and a man named Gerhard Schroeder was very grateful to him when he held the position of Federal Chancellor since 1998. To the amusement of those around him, he swore at the goods from this stand (“Wow, they have the biggest dish.” Curry there, no.”) protested accordingly loudly when Volkswagen announced in 2021 that it would remove the blow at Wolfsburg from its canteen programme.

Part of currywurst, filmed December 8, 2006 in Berlin.  Photo: Gero Breloer +++ (c) dpa - Report +++

like a plate

Source: Photo Alliance / d

Soon Herta Heuer ran many stalls in Berlin, but did not become really rich until her death in 1999. The court had long established itself throughout the Republic in various forms. The mania is so widespread in the capital that almost every inhabitant knows a very special place where the best version is served – even if it is in a parking lot in the suburban industrial zone. Despite its reputation for being partially healthy and despite its wraps, burgers, and sushi, little is likely to change.

Because combined with French fries, sausage simply provides an incomparable satiety kick. It doesn’t have to end up like Grönemeyer: “You’ll be blue, but you’ll get sick because of – currywurst.” If that thing slips, go home full of curry. On my shirt on my jacket – man, what a **** – everything is full of curry … Come on, willy, willy, willy, no, take me home, no, I’ll get it if you come home like this, no willy, Oh man, please! ”

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