The Swedish Meatballs – Famous all over the world (?)

Swedish meatballs are being eaten all over the world, and in many places the even got exactly that name ‘Swedish meatballs’. I think we have IKEA to thank a lot for that. Most of the people I know, including myself, have at some point eaten the food at IKEA, and especially when living abroad. I did it for the first time here in Berlin (went to IKEA to eat Swedish meatballs), but I remember when I was in Sydney ones to celebrate Christmas and me and some friends went to IKEA to buy all the Swedish Christmas food.

In some of my friends’ families they only served homemade Swedish meatballs, and I can agree that many times that tastes a lot better. In my family we only made the meatballs ourselves for holidays like Christmas and Midsummer. Otherwise we bought them from the brand Scans. Everybody knows what you talk about when you say “mamma scans köttbullar” (Köttbullar is the Swedish word for meatballs).

How do you eat meatballs in Sweden?

Most of the times I would say we eat the meatballs as you do at IKEA; with mashed- or boiled potatoes, a creamy sauce and most important of all; jam made of lingonberry. Actually, it shouldn’t really be a real jam you eat with the meatballs, you should just mix the lingonberries with a lot of sugar (this will become what we call ‘rårörda lingon‘).

Many Swedes love to eat their meatballs with Snabbmakaroner, which is macarrones that only need to boil 2-3 minutes. If you boil this kind of pasta and eat it with the prepared, frozen version of meatballs then your dish will be ready in less than 10 minutes. Often you eat this dish with tomato ketchup. There is also another option to eat your meatballs – with milk stewed macarrones, which we call: Stuvade makaroner. Actually, I have never eaten this at home but several times in school. That is another great thing about Sweden and the Swedish school system – We get food in school for free!

My experience of meatballs

As I mentioned above I have only eaten homemade meatballs for Christmas or at some special occasions (I will upload my favorite Swedish meatball recipe at some point). The frozen ones (from Scans) however, I have eaten a lot of – and was something that I more or less grew up on. Always when I had to prepare food for myself, when my mother didn’t have enough time to cook or when I was eating with friends we ate “snabbmakaroner med köttbullar” (the fast boiling pasta and meatballs). Meatballs are actually one of the few things that we bought already prepared. But I actually like them a lot, and if you ever go to Sweden and want to eat them at home you should definitely try the one from the brand Scans – those are the absolute best I would say.

Swedish Meatballs IKEAA traditional way of serving Swedish meatballs – together with mashed potatoes, lingonberries and a creamy sauce!

Welcome to Taste of Sweden

Hello and welcome to my blog: Taste of Sweden!

If you have come here by a coincidence, you might wonder what this blog is all about. At the moment I’m actually not totally sure myself. One thing I know for sure – it wont be a typical blog about food, recipes, or the latest diet. It won’t be a blog where I give reviews of restaurants or my favorite dish either. Instead I will try to investigate and write about Swedish food and what it is all about.

Being a Swede myself I should know a lot, but unfortunately this is NOT the case. I have lived in Sweden the biggest part of my life, where I grew up with my parents and two older siblings. When I was born my mother had already been a mother for 15 years, and thus, had started to get tired of making typical Swedish food even before I came to the world. Instead she had started to experiment in the kitchen; she read a lot of magazines and cooking books, and was not the one who was afraid of trying new recipes from all over the world (and she still is not). While most Swedish children grow up on pasta, potatoes, Swedish meat balls and hot dogs, I grew up on asian wok, sushi and maybe some French experimental dish she had read about the day before. To be honest – I understand my mother to 100%. She herself is a great cook, and if I had cooked the same (Swedish) dishes for my family for more 15 years then I would also want to try something new!

When it comes to ‘the Swedish food culture’ I guess this has changed a lot over the years; more and more people start to adapt to other countries’ food cultures and gradually seem to leave the traditional Swedish one. What is important to point out is that I don’t see this as something bad, not at all. I rather see this as something positive and considering the increasingly globalized world – shouldn’t food cultures get mixed as well?

One of the reasons to why I have started this blog I mentioned above – I have never really experienced Swedish food at home. Of course I have eaten fresh salmon, seafood, Swedish meatballs and strawberries in the summer. I have also most likely eaten a lot more cinnamon buns, salt licorice and Marabou chocolate than many others. I have also eaten Swedish food in school, at friends places, occasionally at home or when eating out. But in my home; in the family where I grew up, Swedish food has never played a really big role… Therefore, what I want with this blog is to investigate – What is really Swedish food culture? How was Swedish food culture 100 years ago, what do people eat today, and exactly what makes Swedish food so special?

Enjoy and feel free to ask questions and comment!
Remember! If you never ask, you will never know.

almondy daim tårta