Like Vally Val, I faced a non-Grandma Christmas this year. My Grandmother came down with pneumonia this week, so my aunt and I cooked our traditional Swedish dinner today. I don't know how my Grandmother has done it all these years. There were three of us working in the kitchen today (two restaurant pros), and we were still exhausted. And none of us are eighty years old.
I cooked my Grandmother's Swedish meatballs today, without the recipe, for a family of people who look forward to her meatballs all year. No pressure. Like any good cook, I drank a little. I also didn't measure anything. It took years to get the recipe out of my Grandmother, so I used to treat it like a sacrament. I'd measure everything carefully and they never turned out like hers. Well, how often do you see your Grandmother measure ingredients when she's making an old family recipe? I eyeballed everything today, and swore that anyone who complained about the cooking would get a carving fork in the eye. Fortunately, the meatballs were met with contented silence and chewing. My Grandmother even bragged to my Dad that I can make meatballs. I feel like I passed a secret adult test.
A few facts about Swedish meatballs:
* They should never have tomato in them. That's Italian.
* Some recipes call for just beef, but I like a 50/50 beef and pork combo.
* White sauce is the only acceptable gravy. Anything from a packet and you might as well just phone it in. They sell frozen meatballs at Ikea now.
* You must eat lingonberries with your Swedish meatballs. My younger cousins don't get this. They think it's weird to eat fruit and meat at the same time, but they eat Chinese food. Maybe it's just weird to have them separate on your plate. Several spoonfuls of lingonberries on the plate is ideal, so that you can drag the meatballs through them. A bit of twirling action with the fork is good, but you don't want to be accused of playing with your food. This is an especially useful way to avoid awkward eye contact and dodge unwanted personal questions.