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When you think of Sweden, what comes to mind?
Ikea? Abba?
Maybe those delicious cinnamon rolls?
But what about these?
Swedish meatballs.
Well, maybe not.
Welcome to the meatball mystery.
Let's cut straight to the chase.
It's hard to make the Swedes angry, but on one fateful day, something happened that fired up the whole country.
This tweet was sent from the official Sweden Twitter account:
Swedish meatballs actually based on recipe from King Charles XII brought back from Turkey in the early 18th century.
Let's stick to the facts.
Did you catch that?
The tweet said that Swedish meatballs actually come from Turkey.
As you can imagine, the tweet went viral.
Swedes were up in arms.
It was picked up all around the world.
The Swedish government has admitted Swedish meatballs are actually Turkish.
No, that's not a fact.
The fact is really interesting.
Since we don't have any facts from that period.
Wait, who are you?
My name is Richard Tellström, and I'm a food historian.
OK, here's what we know.
In the 1700s, Swedish King Charles XII lost a battle in the Great Northern War.
He was forced to flee to the Ottoman Empire where for several years he negotiated his return.
The controversial tweets suggested that he brought back a local Turkish meat dish called 'koftas.'
However, there is no documented interests from him in food; no mentioning of the meatballs there.
They are not Turkish because we can't follow the original meatballs in the world.
There is no zero meatball where everything started.
Most likely, origin of the meatball is a development in parallel ways, in parallel food cultures.
Therefore, meatballs are very different all over the world, but they exist all over the world.
Today, it's one of Sweden's most popular dishes.
Traditionally served with mashed potatoes, a brown gravy, and a sweet lingonberry sauce.
Food gives us an example of how we are connected when it comes to culture.
Food is a sort of cultural network.
So take pride in your meatballs, Sweden, and so should Turkey, China, Italy, and every meatball-rolling country.
Because if there's one thing the world can agree on, it's that meatballs are delicious.
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Are Swedish Meatballs Even Swedish?

1642 Folder Collection
Jessieeee published on May 27, 2019    陳美瑩 translated    Evangeline reviewed
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