Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Embarassing Things I Love- Part 1- Kröllebölle

So, I can be a pretentious eater. I know. I scoff at supermarket cheese (Eastern Market Cheese Nazi is the man for me), turn my nose away from overcooked meat, and will go to incredible (and often unwise) fiscal and geographic lengths to avoid chain restaurants.

All of this pretension has been acquired in the last ten years. I grew up eating recipes made from soup cans and packages of things bought in bulk, with a once-a-year fancy outing to the Olive Garden to celebrate some common nerd-kid achievement (straight A's! New School! Science Olympiad 1st Place!)

One year in China at age 20 with a corporate expense account and a fancy boyfriend, however, and I was ruined. Well, almost.

Today I had to return five legs to IKEA. I bought six for an ambitious project involving making my new 100 lb TV circa 2003 acquired free from a pilot friend that replaced the buzzing no-name brand obtained free from an Irish guy that lived with us once (which is a whole other story) circa 2000 stay securely on an IKEA shelf that came with the apt and was clearly designed for a plasma bought sometime since Friends went off the air. Hey, I spend my money on food, not gadgets, that should be clear from both my waistline and VCD collection.

Anyway, once I discovered that the project really only involved one leg and a lot of screws (stop giggling), I needed to return the extras. (I stuck a picture in below- hey, I'm pretty proud of this, I designed and built it myself! And it hasn't squished my dog yet!) So began my third visit to IKEA in a month. And I hate shopping.

Well, while at IKEA, I found myself drawn to the cafeteria. I try to bury this feeling like a memory of a gropey uncle, but I suddenly find myself in line , not because I don't have time to get something better, but rather because I have been thinking of Swedish meatballs since I first decided to return to IKEA. When I first bought the extraneous legs, a friend and I made a much-needed stop to sit and collect our thoughts (and talk ourselves out of some unwise modular furniture). Well, something drew me to these little guys, sitting there all congealed and dry looking behind the glass in the mini-cafeteria. Cutsy Swedish names may have been the culprit: kröllebölle....mmmm....I own at least one ill-fitted duvet cover for much the same reason.

I don't know what it is about them. The meatballs are overcooked, the cream sauce processed, and the lingonberry jam, well, its jam made by a furniture store. But somehow, together, something magic happens. The processed-ness of the cream sauce manages to penetrate the meatballs tough outer shell, and the blandness of the resulting combination is just enough to make the lingonberry jam palatable. Its a thing of beauty.

So yea, I love the stuff. I have never bought the take-home variety, but I am fairly confident it just wouldn't be the same. Maybe next time I will buy a pack to give it a try anyway. I am sure I will be back soon. My Schunenbergen needs a Bralogogen with a Garnotter and Mangbanden. Or something like that.


Cancemini4 said...

Full disclosure: I am obsessed with IKEA. My favorite part of the visit is undoubtedly getting there early to fuel up on the Swedish pancakes (basically like crepes). Did you check out the convenience store on the way out? They have salmon comes in a tube *shudder*

Gina Grace said...

I used to think that I had a shameful crush on Ikea meat balls, but after buying a bag of the frozen ones to enjoy at home, I realized my real desire is on the higher prize; the icing to the Ikea meatball's cake, and something that conspicuously does NOT come with the frozen balls; the gravy.

That's gravy is the unsung hero of the Ikea cafeteria.

Love your blog by the way. And laughing cow cheese. Yum... childhood.

Joyce Handley said...

Ha! I think IKEA actually sells the gravy mix too- but there's no way its as good without 6 good hours of congealing :-)

Thanks for your comment!

Cancemini4 said...

Saw this article on the debate over a "food bloggers code of ethics" and thought you might like it