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Gasp! Swedish meatballs are Turkish immigrants!


The next time you visit IKEA and stop for a plate of their delicious meatballs, remember that, as it turns out, they're not Swedish at all, despite the lingonberry dressing. They were born in Turkey.

And that's official: it was acknowledged in a tween on the Swedish government's official Twitter account, which also pointed out that other Swedish traditions, including stuffed cabbage and coffee are Turkish imports, brought home by King Charles XII, who had grown fond of them during his five years of exile in Ottoman-ruled 18th-century Moldova.

While most of the world has reacted with amusement to the story, and Turkey with glee, it's been hard on at least some Swedes. Örjan Johansson, this week's official curator of the @Sweden account posted this:


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The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

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UPDATE: The case may still be open, according to a report in today:

Not so fast Turkey! One of Sweden's leading food historians has denounced viral claims that Swedish meatballs were brought back from the Ottoman Empire by the king as "fake news".
"We have no source for it," complained Richard Tellström, a lecturer at Stockholm University's Institute for Ethnology. "It's a sort of fake news definitely. You make something up for a political or a commercial purpose, and you spread the news without doing proper research." 
Tellstrom says their are references to 'frikadeller,' or meatball, at least 50 years earlier, and that the word is likely from the French 'fricandeau.' So perhaps still not Swedish, but also perhaps not Turkish.

The best part of every trip is realizing that it has upset your expectations

Surely, the concept of making small balls out of minced meat and seasoning and then frying them is both pretty old and geographically very widespread!? Unless it is a very specific recipe (for both the meatballs and any accompanying sauce), I cannot see that any country could possibly lay a claim to it.

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