Mittwoch, 24. April 2013

Currywurst Museum, the class about the cult and fast food in Germany

One of the five-star curry place in Berlin
Wherever you go, at least in Berlin, one may see more fastfoods than in Texas. No wonder, as one of the creators of the concepts in Europe were the German brothers August and Carl Aschinger that moved from Swabia to Berlin in 1892 and by 1900 they already had a network of 30 fastfood points in Berlin. 
You are about to leave the Checkpoint Curry
There is more than hotdog and hamburgers to buy, but nothing has less success than the currywurst. I do not have any curiosity to taste it, but as a historian I am interested in the human and social side of this food cult. 
And where else can you learn more about a food that you don't know how it tastes but in a Museum. Yes, there is a Currywurst Museum, and even a German one, (where else) but in Berlin. According to the official data, out of the 800 million currywurst portion sold in Germany every year, 70 million are eaten in Berlin alone. 

Why to go to a Museum to learn about curried sausage?

Teenagers from all over Germany
Counting the curry

I wonder if it is any pizza museum? Or a French fries museum (I vaguely heard about one in Belgium) ? After one hour spent in the Currywurst archives, I left behind all the snobbery and decided that it is an interesting place where I've learned a lot about the history of Berlin, of its food and the fast food life in general.

Welcome in the world of curry
With guided tours available in German and English, the museum is an interactive journey not only in the history of the currywurst, but focus on the architecture of fast food counters, the recycling process of the paper plates used for the regular eating of such a meal, and the spices that may be combined for the preparation of the sauce. 
The main attraction of the museum

The corners of spices
Both children and adults will have a lot of fun playing 'CurryUp', when a virtual Currywurst must be prepared, or when one can go on the other side of the counter of a fast food box and play the vendor. The attraction point is the red ceiling with huge drops of ketchup pouring down. The tired visitors can relax on a yellow-brown sausage sofa. The design is very modern yet simple and relaxing, exactly what you need before a spicy meal - the famous food can be tasted on the spot, it is said, but I skipped this experience. 
Recycling the paper plate

Splashes of curry and cartoons messages
A secret recipe

The patent certificate
The currycouch
In case that you want to look for the recipe of the original curry sauce, you will not find it in any cookbook. Herta Henwer who invented it - by accident, as any invention, on 4th September 1949, when she combined some spices obtained from the British soldiers stationed in Berlin after the war - brought the secret with her on the other side of the world. When her husband died in 1987, all the docs where the recipe was mentioned in a way or another were destroyed. The respectable German lady was trained in dressmaking, domestic science and cooking and in 1946 was cleaning the rubble in the city. In her TV appearances aired in the Museum, she looks 'normal', like any grandma ready to share some recipes and home tips. The type of post-war star, without a daily exposure of her romantic adventures or shopping extravaganza. 

Awake the fast food lover in you!
A study quoted in Spices section says that curry have not only healing effects, but also can make you happy. For many, happiness can be found in a small slice of currywurst. 

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