The intent of going to IKEA might always start out positive with the goal being to come home with organizational solutions for practically everything in your life, but it always ends with meatballs. It's the ongoing joke of IKEA fans that whether a person needs something or not, no excuse is needed to pile bags of these frozen meatballs into a shopper's cart. It's been questioned time and time again how it's possible that something so small and simple could be so delicious, and, finally, we have some answers.


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Is it the specific blend of meat and spices that does it? Is it the cooking method? Is it that delicious gravy that coats every single meatball as it cascades down into a pile of creamy mashed potatoes? Just thinking about it could make a meatball fan's mouth water but that doesn't keep anyone from wondering what everyone is thinking: how is it possible that you could crave something so much from a furniture store? For those who are ready to find out the secret to why these Swedish meatballs are so addicting, here are some answers (finally).

The Ingredient List Is All-Natural

It's very rare nowadays that anything that a person buys frozen to reheat or orders from a food court comes with an all-natural ingredient list. However, IKEA is proving that it is possible with their Swedish meatballs, which start with a combination of pork and beef. The pork in the meatballs lends saltiness and moisture while the beef is where that hardy flavor and uniform texture comes from.

Following that are onions, water, egg, salt, pepper, allspice, and potato starch - and the last two are those 'secret' ingredients. Allspice is a fairly potent spice that packs a punch if too much is added but can transform a dish when it's measured carefully. It adds a hint of warmth with the subtle spice that Swedish meatballs are known for, and it's this flavor that works so well with IKEA's classic gravy. Additionally, the potato starch serves as a thickener and emulsifier so that everything tastes full-bodied and satisfying, with a comforting undertone that couldn't be placed until now.

Each Meatball Gets The Correct Amount Of Seasoning (And Salt)

If you've ever wondered why the burgers you make at home are nothing like the burgers at your favorite steakhouse, it's usually one of three things. Either it's the cooking method that's different (restaurants often use flattops), the type of meat that's used, or the amount of salt that the restaurant uses.

More often than not, it's the latter; the reason that food at restaurants tastes so good is that things such as butter and salt are used in high amounts. Contrary to popular belief, it's not the fact that salt itself is bad for a person, it's the fact that too much salt can have the potential to affect a person's health. However, in moderation, for the average healthy person, foods that are salted often and are salted well will be perfectly fine. That's the trick to IKEA's meatballs - they're seasoned as they would be when made fresh at a restaurant which is why all of those individual flavors come galavanting through. Imagine salt as the runway and each flavor as the plane about to take off and land on your tastebuds.

Lingonberry Jam Holds The Magic Glue That Makes This Dish Work

Lingonberry jam is so similar to cranberry sauce that one could potentially swap it out but it still wouldn't give the same flavor profile. There's something so magical that happens when lingonberry jam mixes with creamy, buttery mashed potatoes and those meatballs, and the tartness is all part of it. Upon examining the dish and its flavor components further, one might realize that nearly every flavor is present.

Lingonberry jam has an ever-so-subtle sweetness but has a bold tartness to it, the meatballs themselves have that warm and spicy allspice, the gravy has that umami from a beef and mustard base, and the mashed potatoes are the starchy glue that serves as the backdrop for it all. One plate of Swedish meatballs has nearly every flavor component that a person could possibly ask for and it all plays so well that we never notice how different each component is. It's comforting and delicious, and when we're done with the meal, we're just left wondering what kind of magic transpired. Suddenly, the mystery of why we end up craving this at 3 PM on a Saturday afternoon is no longer such a question mark.

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