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.