Alsatian Folklore Museum in Strasbourg

On our most recent trip to Strasbourg, we stopped at the Alsatian Folklore Museum, a.k.a. the Musée Alsacien, and we loved it. We viewed most of it in an hour, but it was so interesting, we could have easily stayed longer, had it not been for having to return to our hotel in time for check-out.

There are many sections to view, such as traditional rooms, costumes, paintings and historical Alsatian tools, glass paintings, and masks.

What caught my attention were these Kleiekotzer or Mehlkotzer (the one puking flour) or in proper English: flour mill spouts. The term Kleiekotzer dates back to the 18th and 19th century, when these masks were used by millers to let the flour pass through the masks’ mouth into the troughs.

 

In 1903, the antique dealer, Robert Forrer, donated this large collection of carved wooden flour mill spouts to the Society of the Alsatian Museum in order to obtain its membership. His donation back then included 20 mill spouts, 20 chairs, and 30 cask bungs, but today this museum room only houses his flour mill spout collection.

Currywurst

The recent article National Dish Comes Wrapped in Foreign Flavoring by Michael Slackman, written for the New York Times, caught my eye. But while reading it, my stomach lurched forward a bit as he described one of Germany’s most beloved fast food as lard-laden, doused in ketchup, served with shimmering fries. Based on his experience, Germans are tightwads, contradictory in many ways, and they see themselves as a world-class economy.

Well, opinions differ and so do culinary tastes. Last night’s quick dinner happened to be currywurst then.

When I had initially arrived in the state of Hesse 15 years ago, I was surprised to be handed a currywurst with just cold ketchup and curry powder on it, just as Mr. Slackman had described. Back then,  I had actually assumed the street vendor had run out of curry gravy.

Yes, where I come from in Franconia (Northern Bavaria), currywurst is  not served on a paper plate, but in a paper bowl with a one-inch rim to hold the hot and steaming gravy. Most customer buy an extra bread roll just for dipping.

Currywurst with bread rolls

To make curry gravy, stir up a regular brown gravy (packages from the supermarket), add a lot of ketchup and curry to it. Any sausage can be used – I have been served hot dogs, Bratwurst, beef sausage, etc. all in the name of currywurst.

According to Ms. Breloh, the director of the world’s only Currywurst Museum, currywurst is consumed in large quantities. 82 million Germans consume 800 million curry sausages annually.

I am inclined to think Mr. Slackman did not have a good day with the Germans the day he wrote his article. Also just sent a suggestion to correct the opening title on the  Currywurst Museum’s homepage, where it read: The Currywurst has it´s own museum! Correct version: The Currywurst has its own museum!