Anyone that knows Germany will be aware of a local delicacy known as the ‘bratwurst’. Despite being popular with Germans, these huge sausages were often given a wide berth by British soldiers after the end of the Second World War.
For Brits, their ingredients of blood, brains, liver and bacon thrust into bladder or intestine was hard to stomach.
However, in 1949, Herta Heuwer changed all that after setting up a tiny wooden kiosk across the road from the Charlottenburg railway station in what was then the British Zone.
From there, she began serving an unusual dish for 60 pfennigs a portion.
Somehow – probably through the black market – Herta managed to obtain bottles of tomato ketchup, Worcestershire sauce and curry powder from the Naafi shop, which supplied food, cigarettes and chocolate to the British troops. She then mixed the ingredients together and poured it over grilled sausages – giving birth to the Currywurst.
“Her sole pre-war occupation had been as a shop assistant, and her story is similar to that of Tesco’s Jack Cohen, in as much as she also carved out a successful career thanks to Naafi,” says Nathan Morley, author of a new book called “Canteen Army: The Naafi Story.”
Even though Frankfurter sausages are still eaten by everybody, the once popular Blutwurst, Mettwurst and Leberwurst cannot compete with her curried sausage.
Herta patented her recipe in the 50s, and although she did not earn millions, she bought a nice house and enjoyed a comfortable retirement until her death. As of 2018, it was estimated that 800 million currywursts are eaten every year in Germany