Currywurst sausage defends title as Germans' favorite cafeteria lunch for 26th year in a row

Germans love a good sausage, particularly if it's covered in a reddish sauce and served with crinkle-cut chips. And that's the way it's been for more than a quarter of a century, according to a new study.

"Currywurst" — a long and thick sausage covered in a reddish sauce and sprinkled with curry pepper — is still adored by cafeteria patrons across Germany, according to a new study.

Apetito, a catering company from the western German state of North-Rhine Westphalia, published the 2017 edition of its annual analysis of meal popularity in different cafeterias.

Currywurst with chips — crinkle-cut chips to be exact — defended its number one spot for the 26th year in a row. The traditional schnitzel with fried potatoes took second place, and spaghetti bolognese maintained its third spot from last year.

Read more: Berlin 24/7: What's the currywurst cult all about?

Culture | 14.01.2017

Conservative taste

But there were variances among patrons at different types of cantinas.

Children at schools and kindergartens favored tomato soup with rice and meat balls the most, followed by vegetarian ravioli and vegetarian lentil soup. "Kids and teenagers like variety," Apetito said.

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Euromaxx | 14.01.2017

The cult of the currywurst

The elderly were, by contrast, far more conservative.

Geriatric lips were most eager for beef roulade with boiled potatoes and red cabbage, while meatloaf with parsley potatoes and sauerkraut was a new entry in second place, pushing green bean stew with beef to third.

Read more: The cult of the currywurst

Bon appetit

But Susanne Leitzen, an expert from the German Nutritional Association (DGE), warned people against consuming these types of rich meals for lunch.

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People could be healthier by eating a meal consisting mostly of vegetables and complex carbohydrates, she said.

According to the DGE, two-thirds of men and half of women in Germany are overweight, while a quarter of adults are seriously overweight.

Read more: What Germans eat in the summer

Germans' insatiable love affair with potatoes

Potatoes are a German staple

No matter how you slice it, potatoes make up a large part of the average German diet. Whether in soups, mashed, fried, or served as French fries or chips, an average of roughly 60-65 kilograms of potatoes are eaten per person per year in Germany.

Germans' insatiable love affair with potatoes

Potatoes were once guarded by soldiers

Native to the Bolivian and Peruvian Andes, the potato first arrived in Germany in 1630. According to legend, King Frederick II of Prussia believed in the economic and nutritious value of potatoes. He tricked local farmers into planting more of the so-called apple of the earth by posting soldiers around the potato fields to protect them. It worked - highly valued goods taste even better.

Germans' insatiable love affair with potatoes

Texture is key

With over 5,000 varieties of potatoes now grown today, it's important to select the right fruit for your dish. Potatoes are sorted not by color, but by how they cook up. The firm and dense types are best for frying or making potato salad, while the fluffy, floury sorts are ideal for mashing and baking.

Germans' insatiable love affair with potatoes

There are sundry potato salad recipes

Pot lucks can prove problematic in Germany, since potato salad is a popular dish to bring. However, everyone's version is different. Some smother the sliced potatoes in hot oil and bacon; others prefer theirs chilled and coated in mayonnaise and accompanied by pickles. Either way, German potato salad is a must at any grill party.

Germans' insatiable love affair with potatoes

Potatoes are made round again

Hearty German fare often includes potato dumplings, which come in different varieties. Some are made with cooked potatoes, while others mixed with flour for a starker consistency. Known as either Klösse or Knödel, the potato dumpling is a favorite side with pork roast.

Germans' insatiable love affair with potatoes

Chips go German-style

Much of those 60-odd kilograms eaten by the average German each year must come from potato chips, considering it takes 10,000 kilograms of potatoes to make 2,500 kilograms of chips. Although chips are not native to Germany, some of the flavor choices are. Originally limited to only paprika or salt, flavors now include currywurst, ketchup and mayonnaise - and even the African sauce chakalaka.

Germans' insatiable love affair with potatoes

French fries can be a meal

Known as "Pommes" in Germany, French fries are often served with currywurst (pictured) or as a side dish with any other hearty meal. But street vendors also sell them all by themselves, often in paper cones and with a wooden fork - a trend in neighboring Holland and Belgium, too. They are offered with a wide variety of sauces, included standard ketchup, curry-flavored ketchup and mayonnaise.

Germans' insatiable love affair with potatoes

Baked potatoes are a vegetarian favorite

A delicious, utterly basic dish that gets a lot of play in the German kitchen, the baked potato is cooked in its skin and often comes wrapped in aluminum foil. Served with a hefty helping of a herbed "Quark" (like yogurt) and a side salad, the "Pellkartoffel" will fill you up - even without a portion of meat.

Germans' insatiable love affair with potatoes

Common at the Christmas market

"Reibekuchen" are shredded potatoes mixed with onions, deep fried and topped with applesauce, molasses or smoked salmon and yogurt sauce. They are a delicacy found at many Christmas markets in Germany. Popular with kids, the potato pancake can be quite filling despite its simplicity - but they're greasy, so grab a napkin when you buy them to-go.

Germans' insatiable love affair with potatoes

Potatoes in the German language

Potatoes play a central role in German idioms, too. While the "dumbest farmer harvests the fattest potatoes" is a lament in German, it's similar to the English "fortune favors fools." And being dropped like a hot potato can happen no matter your native tongue. It seems Germans don't just like to eat potatoes - they also like to talk about them.