Posts tagged tribute

Currywurst reaches 70

Although I graduated over 4 decades ago, I still look back with fondness on the days of my modern languages degree.

One of the absolute requirements for the award of the degree was a compulsory period of residence in countries where the languages being studied were used.

In my instance this involved 5 months’ residency in both Perpignan (France) and Saarbrücken (Germany).

While in Germany, I became acquainted with what would now be called German street food, including the currywurst.


Currywurst typically consists of a bratwurst cut into slices and seasoned with curry ketchup, a sauce based on spiced ketchup or tomato paste, itself topped with curry powder, or a ready-made ketchup seasoned with curry and other spices.

It’s often served with chips.

The currywurst reaches the grand of age of 70 this year.

Here’s its history in brief.

Herta Heuwer had been running a snack stall in Berlin’s Charlottenburg district since summer 1949. There wasn’t much happening on 4th September, so she had time to experiment. She mixed freshly chopped paprika, paprika powder, tomato purée and spices together. The she poured the whole lot over a fried, chopped sausage. The currywurst had been invented.

Herta Heuwer subsequently gave her business the address of “The world’s 1st currywurst cookshop” and had the word trade mark “Chillup” (a contraction of chilli and ketchup) registered for her sauce.

You can’t eat a proper original currywurst any more, because Herta Heuwer took the recipe to the grave with her in 1999. In 2003 a memorial plaque was put up at the former site of her snack bar. According to the German Currywurst Museum in Berlin over 800 million currywurst are consumed every year in Germany.

To mark this culinary anniversary the Berlin State Mint has issued a commemorative coin.

Currywurst coin front

This commemorative coin is the sixth of a series of anniversary issues which the city mint started in 2004 and is limited to a production run of 2,500.

Postballs – Boxer dies when asked by Bristol’s Mayor

Like many, I was saddened to hear of the death of Muhammad Ali. As a young lad growing up in the 1960s and keen on sport of all kinds, he was a large presence on the TV sports programmes and the newspaper sports pages.

His achievements in the ring and his stand against conscription and the Vietnam War helped reinforce his reputation: he really did end up as “the greatest“.

However, news emerges via the Bristol Post that Ali’s death may not be all it seems: Muhammad’s demise could have been at the behest of Marvin Rees, Bristol’s newly elected mayor.

first paragraph reads The Big Screen Bristol in Millennium Square will show the memorial service of Muhammad Ali who died last week at the personal request of the city's mayor Marvin Rees

However, as per usual, it is merely a case of the endemic bad use of English, appalling grammar and ambiguity by the Post’s semi-literate hacks.

In contrast, Ali was renowned for his eloquence and use of the English language, something which the current crop of Post journalists will never, ever emulate.

Je suis Charlie

Social media has responded quickly to the horrific attack on the offices of French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris today, which resulted in 12 deaths and 5 injured. Four of those killed were Charlie Hebdo cartoonists Charb, Cabu, Tignous and Georges Wolinski.

The press office of Amnesty International in France has described that attack as “A black day for press freedom”.

Many Twitter accounts changed their avatar to the Je suis Charlie image shown below, whilst many tweets were also tagged with the #JesuisCharlie hashtag.

Je suis Charlie

Some of the harshest condemnations of the attack have come from the attackers’ co-religionists. The imam of Drancy, Hassen Chalghoumi, is reported to have said: “Their barbarism has nothing to do with Islam”.

My deepest condolences to the victims and their families.

Five! Four! Three! Two! One! Anderson has gone!

image of Gerry Anderson with Parker & Lady Penelope

Gerry Anderson, 1929-2012

For many people like me in their late 50s, the puppet shows of Gerry Anderson helped define their childhood.

The first I remember – albeit vaguely – seeing was Four Feather Falls about 1960 starring Tex Tucker (who was voiced by Nicolas Parsons). There then followed Supercar, which was the first to feature ‘Supermarionation’, Gerry’s technique for synchronising the puppets’ mouth movements with the voice actors’ dialogue. In 1962 there followed the futuristic space adventure Fireball XL5, which is the first series I remember with any great clarity. Two years later came Stingray, the first children’s TV series in the UK to be filmed in colour, although my childhood home remained resolutely monochrome until I left the nest at 18 years of age in 1973.

After Stingray came perhaps Gerry’s biggest success – Thunderbirds – which came to the small screen in 1965 when I was 10 years old. The episodes in this series were 50 minutes long, twice the length of Stingray et al. Thunderbirds featured the unforgettable character of Parker the butler, who dropped his aitches where he should have said them and said them where they shouldn’t have been. Gerry revealed in an interview many years later that Parker had been based on a snooty Cockney waiter he encountered in a restaurant in Ascot.

Thunderbirds was succeeded by Captain Scarlet and the Mysterons in 1967 and Joe 90 in 1968, the last of the Supermarionation series.

I suppose what resonated with my generation was that at the time we were being promised a miraculous future in the 21st century – with jet packs and holidays on the Moon for everyone by the year 2000. Gerry Anderson’s series from Supercar right through to Joe 90 brought that future right into your living room in the 1960s. Back in real life in the 21st century, I’m still waiting for both my jet pack and my annual 14 days on the Moon. 🙁

One critic on BBC Radio 4 yesterday was bleating that the puppets’ strings could be seen in Anderson’s shows. Indeed they could… occasionally. It was a point of pride with the production team that extreme measures were taken to try and conceal the strings, which showed a lot less in an Anderson show than any other puppet series of the time.

Another great feat achieved by Anderson’s team was their special effects: they gained a great reputation for making very spectacular looking explosions that were very small at the same time.

Yesterday, Boxing Day, came the sad news that Gerry had passed away aged 83. 🙁

RIP Gerry and thank you for some lovely childhood memories.

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