Ikea's Swedish meatballs? Totally NOT Swedish


Originally published at: https://boingboing.net/2018/05/03/ikeas-swedish-meatballs-tot.html


The original Narn recipe is better.


2 million of its Shitty Swedish meatballs, per day.



Next you’ll tell us Buffalo Wings don’t come from Buffalos.
Or that Egg Creams don’t have any eggs in them.


Their new chicken meatballs are an improvement. I’m told the veggie ones are good, too.





I’ve made this version multiple times at home. Orders of magnitude better than the Ikea ones (which you better believe I eat every time I go there anyway):


I don’t know what is the problem here. This is serious business! This is, like, the Cyprus invasion all over again!

Swedish meatballs are different from Turkish meatballs / köfte at least in seasoning. I prefer the köfte and think that the bulk balls sold by Ikea are pretty shitty, but that is besides the point.

If meatballs are Turkish by default then the prefix “Swedish” is appropriate, adding that doesn’t mean that all meatballs are Swedish but that these particular ones are.


And there are Volvos being made in China.


“The ringworm is neither a ring nor a worm. It is a fungus.”
“The fish stick is neither a fish nor a stick. It is a fungus.”
– Matt Groening

(I couldn’t find the comic for this online)


The more you deep dive into historical research, the more you realize it doesn’t really matter where anything comes from (unless there’s an interesting story in it) and most historians are making best guesses from extremely limited available surviving information sources. The aspects you associate with some ancient culture were likely adopted/absorbed/bastardized from earlier cultures. Nothing is pure, including culture and DNA.

You also have to ask, how long must it take for something to become associated? I’d say since the 18th century, the meatballs have become Swedish, the same way I’m an American and not European despite most of my genetic heritage coming from there (and somewhere else before that, if you go back far enough).


And this is why I come here.


“Ikea’s Swedish meatballs?” Totally NOT horse meat.


Came here looking for this.


Yeah, that’s the thing - pretty much every recipe we think of as being a “traditional food” is generally of fairly recent creation, dating back no more than a few hundred years, and heavily influenced by the cuisine of somewhere else. When it comes to Europe, it’s almost all post-dating the introduction of new food items from the Americas or Asia. (In Japan, it’s after the introduction of foods and techniques from Europe.) Moreover, even things we think of as being national dishes may have been highly regional foods a century ago (e.g. spaghetti or pizza in Italy), or were popular in one country before being introduced, radically altered and adapted in another (e.g. the croissant). Refrigeration and the development of a middle class also tended to have huge impacts on cuisine, rapidly creating new favorites (that may not have even previously existed).

Every time I try to think of a “typically X food item,” it’s both new and influenced by foreign cuisines. Really traditional foods often seem strange and atypical compared to the rest of that cuisine, ironically making it seem radical and new…

Swedish Tartar meatballs.


Fun fact: the B5 comics actually explain why.

They cover the life of Sinclair after he went back in time and became Valen during the first Shadow War in the 1200s, and it turns out Valen quite likes swedish meatballs and serves them to a lot of new people he meets.

The soon-to-be-prophet of the Narn, G’Quan, especially likes them.


Tomorrow’s headline:

Swedish Fish: Not Actually Farmed and Raised in Sweden


Wait until you find out where the furniture is made.


In related news: Fish and Chips not actually a British dish!!! Nor are “French fries” French (nor for that matter Belgian).

The potato was only introduced to Europe as a food crop around the time that Charles XII of Sweden brought the meatballs back to his homeland, so according to Hürriyet’s logic any food that derives from potatoes must really be Incan.


Thank you! I’ve had people argue and argue how IKEA is superior to the knock-down furniture from (other) cheap chain store. Even after I show them the page of the catalog that explains where it’s from…they still argue, so I pick up their empty box or instructions and show them the manufacturer’s sticker.

It only makes sense, with the furniture being made of papier-mache. I mean it comes from a country that, if they had a forest, they would have eaten the trees years ago.