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Swedish Meatballs

Meal planning, among many other things, is difficult when you’re indecisive. It’s even more so when you have a big book of four-hundred recipes out of America’s Test Kitchen.

Thanks to my sister for this neat cookbook! And excuse the messy desk…
After flipping through the book from front to back and then again from back to front, my friends and I still hadn’t picked a dinner recipe. However, inspiration can come from strange sources, such a furniture store’s cafeteria food. While passing a recipe for Swedish meatballs, my friend recalled really liking the ones from Ikea. I’d never had any before, and none of us had made them, but we just went for it, our typical cooking philosophy. We went grocery shopping—an outing I seriously miss doing at home—at the Trader Joe’s down the street.

I think this was my first time actually touching ground beef. I rarely cook with meat because it takes extra effort to obtain and handle it, and also because I’m somewhat squeamish about raw meat. But we were so wrapped up in preparing the meal that I guess I forgot to be grossed out. We molded and fried the meatballs, and to go with them, we prepared Swedish pickled cucumbers and egg noodles. Finally, instead of lingonberry jam, the traditional accompaniment to Swedish meatballs, we used blackberry preserves.

Serving the food.
So what makes the meatballs Swedish? In comparison to typical Italian meatballs, these were slightly sweetened by brown sugar, and had spices which mostly appear in dessert recipes: nutmeg, allspice, cinnamon, and cloves. Add onto this the fact that they’re eaten with jam and pickles, and it sounds really strange. However, the confluence of flavors was surprisingly scrumptious.

Yum!PC (plating creds) to Jennifer.
We only cook once or twice a week, since our meal plans cover every meal but weekend dinners. Next year, however, we’ll be off-campus and off board, so we’ll be cooking almost every meal. Right now, I’m super excited, but I’m sure it’ll feel like a chore at times, especially on weeknights when we’re already struggling to finish sets due the next day… If anything, it’ll be a break from homework.

Noelle Davis ’20

Option: Electrical Engineering

Graduation Year: 2020

House Affiliation: Avery

Noelle is a Texan who used to love cold weather, but ever since the first month in sunny SoCal, anything sub-sixty degrees sends her into shock. Besides the sunshine, her favorite thing about living in Pasadena is having mountains in her backyard. When she’s not struggling through sets, she likes to hike, bake, play soccer, and take pictures. She participates in the Caltech Christian Fellowship, volunteers with Robogals, and writes for The Tech, the campus newspaper.