I Have Written About Currywurst, My Love.

Posted on
Oct 5, 2017
18

“You never wrote about the curry plane.”

“The … the curry plane?”

He nods, pouting. I am confused.

“Like, a plane of existence that consists of … curry?” I ask, hoping for clarification.

He is annoyed.

“The curry plane.”

“The curry plain,” I say, nodding, having no idea to what he is referring. “… a spacious expanse filled with curry.”

“The plane in Munich airport.”

“Yes. There are many planes in Munich Airport.”

“There is one that serves curry.”

I finally understand what he’s talking about.

“You’re mad at me because – ”

“You never wrote about the curry.”

There is more to it, of course. The curry post – or lack thereof – was the line of demarcation for Rand. For him, it marked where I stopped blogging regularly about our travels. He is wrong – not about my failure to blog regularly (that is a fact I can’t dispute) but that there is a clear line as to when that began. They are stories I failed to tell that took place before the curry plane, there are plenty that I’ve written about that happened after. But when life changes, we often attach meaning to an event or to a place. Here, we say. All that is different in our world began here.

I do this, too. The line I drew before and after my brain surgery, before and after my father’s death. The world hurls us all forward, and the space between me and those moments becomes bigger. I cannot change those things. But I can tell you about the curry plane. Maybe, for a little while, I can stop time.

In a wide courtyard in Munich Airport – my husband’s favorite in perhaps all the world – sits a WWII-era American bomber that bears a smiling pilot logo and the name “Smokey Joe’s.” This seems an odd era for the Germans to fetishize.

 

But the plane is not a plane. It is a food truck. It serves only one thing, a dish that is decidedly non-American in origins: currywurst.

The name of this food repulses me. I react to it viscerally, the way I do when men on the street tell me to smile, because I’d be so much prettier if I did. Wurst should not be part of the lexicon. I will not make a pun here. It doesn’t deserve it.

But despite the name, despite the appearance, despite its raw components … currywurst is not bad. Indeed, given the right circumstances, currywurst might be great. When you are drunk and hungry, it is there. When you are tired, and jetlagged, and you’ve just left Italy after perhaps committing rental car fraud, currywurst is perfect.

It is ubiquitous across Germany, tracing its origins back to a post-war Berlin, where a resourceful housewife supposedly traded booze to British soldiers in exchange for ketchup. She poured it over sliced pork sausage and sprinkled curry powder over the top. It spread like wildsausage over the country. It transcended social strata. It is said to be beloved by construction workers and Angela Merkel alike.

It became the quintessential German fast food without ever truly becoming fast food. Out of a WWII era bomber in the middle of Munich Airport, it is served in a paper boat with tiny wooden forks.

 

For years, I resisted this snack. Rand would threaten me with it and I would scream. I don’t like sauces, or messy foods, or meals that make you feel like you need a shower afterwards. Currywurst seemed a trifecta of evil. I was horrified. I swore I’d never try it. I eventually gave in. Those damn eyes of his, compelling me to historical feats.

There, in the middle of the night, in the middle of the airport, we ate currywurst together. You should, too, if the occasion arises. The pork sausage is oily and slightly sweet, cut by the sharpness of the sauce which is tart and should be repulsive but, bafflingly, is not. The layer of fries underneath is crisp, and you need to eat them quickly before the sauce makes them untenable. The spices are gentle and warm. It all sounds awful, but it is not.

 

I did not write about currywurst, because it did not seem of note. I did not write about it, because it was in Germany, and in the past, and if I dove back into my memory then I would have to sit, for a little while, in a world where my father was still alive. That is a hard thing to do.

If I write about the trip when we ate the currywurst, then I will inevitably see pictures of him.

 

If I write about the currywurst, I have to step into the past. And then I am crying, and I have written currywurst so many times and I hate that word, and if my father read any of this he would say in his stilted way, “What … the hell … is the matter with you?”

And the thought of that makes me laugh, just for a second.

You get upset when I don’t write about things, dearest, but you never ask me why I don’t want to. Sometimes, it sheer laziness – I won’t deny it. But sometimes, it is because I know it will make me sad.

Your mustache is gone now, and so is my father.

 

One night, not that long ago, you convinced me to eat currywurst out of a truck that looked like a plane. My father was alive, and we were young.

You asked me to write about it, my love, and I have kept my promise. Now keep yours: live forever.


Also published on Medium.

Leave a Comment

  • I don’t know what to make of this, but something felt right, kind of a liberation, at the end.

  • michellers66

    Wait…what? Rand shaved off his mustache?

  • Savannah Marie

    Ugh that last line, “…I have kept my promise. Now keep yours: live forever.” A shot straight to the heart.

  • That wasn’t was I was expecting, but it was (as it always is with you) amazing. Thank you love — you’re the best, and I promise that if I’m about to die and you’re still alive, I’ll use my immortality skills to narrowly survive.

    p.s. If you felt like writing about Knight Detective, my cousin’s wedding in Vermont, the Whisky Society in Edinburgh, The Table, the strange town of Carnoustie, the Ewok village in Capilano, the Vancouver aquarium w/ all the kids, Katz’s deli, the volcano in Karuizawa, how I got you to like soba noodles, the most beautiful art museum in the world, the musasabi, the castle at night in Hiroshima, yakiniku, that Octopus in Osaka who eats its friends, street takoyaki, how you wouldn’t eat anything except onigiri for months, the super mario go-kart racers in Tokyo, the best pizza place in the world, the plastic tempura food class, how my grandparents use the phone from the MOMA, or your aunt Pia teaching us to make pasta…. I’d be cool with that 🙂

    I’m crazy about you.

    • Everywhereist

      Oh my god, you are such an asshole.

      (I’m crazy about you, too. Let’s get married.)

    • Stephanie Bice

      All. the. feels….

    • Andi Plummer

      Please write about all of those things (and especially the most beautiful art museum- I must know!). I hope I can find my Rand someday!

    • All of those sound like amazing stories, but I really want to hear about this Ewok Village and the plastic tempura food class.

    • Philip Watson

      Thank you for sharing your heart. This is the only time I have ever subscribed to being repeatedly invited back into discussions out of my own free and cognizant will.

  • Wendy Hinxman

    There is a Currywurst Museum in Berlin. I think I bought a good dozen pins from there and handed them out at Christmas. It’s not my favorite Wurst, that would be a Thuringer, on a roll, mit senf, but that there is a museum dedicated to JUST currywurst is an opportunity that you should not pass up if you happen to be in Berlin. Also agree with Rand about Munich Airport – it’s awesome.

  • Jennifer Roberts

    I agree–currywurst sounds disgusting. I was really hoping for regular ol’ curry too (I love curry). But I would take your advice and try it, if I am ever in Germany.

  • porsupah

    I was getting teared up toward the end, and took that out on a quick re-creation of currywurst at home:

    https://www.lapinity.com/i/slu/Ersatz%20currywurst%2020171007.jpg

    It’s guaranteed inauthentic, and really not that visually appealing, as I was just tossing ingredients together, including roughly chopped tinned tomato, but.. it tasted delicious, and it did remind me of tromping around the streets of Hamburg in the 1980s, then lined with Schnellimbiss booths on street corners, seemingly endangered but twenty years later.

    (And, oh, those braziers with almonds roasting away.. pick up a cornet of those, and you’ve touched happiness)

  • HweeMin Liew

    I know what you mean… there are so many places I avoid, songs I can’t bear to listen to and stories I feel pained to tell… all because they remind me of my parents who have passed on.

    I think you wrote this post beautifully… without making it overly sombre nor overly light hearted (either of which I tend to do when I tell stories about my parents).

    *Big hugs*

  • Jenn P.

    Good gracious, Geraldine, you are SO talented. How do you write things that make me laugh, cry and think deep thoughts? I don’t know, but I am sure glad that you do.

  • My heart just exploded, and I’m pretty sure it looked like currywurst… which I have had in Munich with my Rand, and it’s honestly not *that* bad. Just don’t ask me to eat it again, because what even is it.

  • I feel like I might consider eating it just because of the cute little forks. And it does sound terrible. But I would try a terrible thing for a cute fork.

  • Alice

    Well this made me cry – I am so sorry for your loss. You write beautifully.

More from The Blog

On Instagram @theeverywhereist

  • Rand insisted on organizing our books by color *after* I had organized them alphabetically, AS ONE SHOULD. I suspect this is the closest I will ever come to divorcing him. I can't find a damn thing. But yes, it does look nice. #bookstagram #booklove #colorcodedbooks #bookshelf #shelfie
  • Four flights in five days. So sleepy. Finally heading home after a wonderful few hours in Ashland seeing @demeritt's incredible one-man show.
  • Why yes, I did run off to Ashland for a hot minute with the most handsome man in the world. What did you do today?
  • Thank you, Minneapolis, for reminding me that we can be pretty, even in the rain.
  • Stumbled upon these paranoid stone benches in MSP and they are speaking to my soul.
  • And to think, all this time I've been telling myself I pecan't.
  • Packing. Home in shambles. Accidently broke my own arm off of this wedding gift a dear friend made us. The symbolism is not lost on me.
  • This absurdly handsome man bounded across the stage in his "Nevertheless, She Persisted" t-shirt and talked about how he doesn't always adhere to gender norms, and that's okay. #soproud #inbound17 #latergram
  • Oh, okay, fine, I'll keep him. (Off to the Inbound conference, where I expect to trounce this fool with my speaking score.) #thisagain #randaldineselfie #selfiesonaplane
  • I sent @randderuiter to the housewares store by himself and this happened. I am the luckiest woman in the world. #christopherwalken #davidbowie #bowiepillow #walkenpillow

All Over The Place

Buy my book and I promise I'll never ask you for anything again.

BE AWESOME. BUY IT.