Danish Meatballs by Edward Stave Boitano
Clara Hyldahl Stave and
daughter Carol Virginia Stave
up eating meatballs but this was not due to having a grandmother
hailing from Italy. On the contrary, it was the result of having a Danish/Swedish
grandmother on my mothers side of the family. My Grandmother Stave
had a knack for making anything taste good. Im sure this had something
to do with raising six kids during the height of the Great Depression.
Her specialty was comfort food. She could make the cheapest roast from
the market as tender as butter. Her secret was to bake and baste for
sometimes up to 24 hours. Her mashed potatoes were a thing of wonder;
fortunately a culinary gift that was passed on to my mother -- of course,
doesnt everyones mother make the best mashed potatoes. My
favorite dish of hers, though, was her meatballs -- a legacy handled
down to her from her Danish ancestors.
A Bite of History
The meatball is an iconic food item known throughout
the world. The ancient Roman cookbook Apicius included many meatball-type
recipes, but today they are known in Italy as polpette. In Greece,
fried meatballs are called keftédes, usually served over
rice; while in Indonesia, meatballs are referred to as bakso,
used in soup. The other Scandinavian versions in Norway (gehaktbal)
and Sweden (köttbullar) are most often made with beef.
My grandmother's meatballs, known in Denmark as Frikadeller,
are made with pork, generally served with mashed potatoes and gravy
(which my grandmother referred to as the goodness.) I was
in comfort food heaven long before the term existed. On a recent trip
to Copenhagen, I couldnt wait to sample this sublime but simple
dish on its home ground. And sample I did; having them with mashed potatoes,
sliced on open-faced bread (smørrebrød), and even
carrying a bag around as a snack. Now I know why the Danes are reportedly
the happiest people on the globe.
Frikadeller are typically fried, and made out
of ground pork, onions, eggs, salt and pepper. They are then formed
into balls and flattened somewhat, so they are pan ready.
1 lb. ground pork
1 slice bread soaked in 1/4 c. milk
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. sage
1/4 tsp. all spice
1/8 tsp. onion salt
Chop the onion into fine pieces, and mix meat and
Add egg and mix again.
Add flower, and remaining ingredients.
Form mix into 6-8 balls.
Melt butter on frying pan.
10 min. on each side medium heat.
Frikadeller can also be served with boiled skinned
potatoes with brown gravy, or with cold potato salad.
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Haven't been called Tad for . . .gee, maybe I've NEVER been
called Tad . . . guess I'm the only one with chutzpah enough to mention Bourdain.
--- Ken, Shutesbury, MA
I think we must have had an entirely different experience in
the UK. (Fresh Food and Real Ale week 1). We were up in Edinburgh and
they served something called Neeps & Tatties. The items were
boiled so long that I couldnt even recognize what I was eating. Come to
think of it I couldnt taste them either. Later I found that Neeps
are Turnips and Tatties are potatoes.
--- Lindy, Phoenix, AZ
My mouth was watering as I read some of your descriptions of
the fantastic fare of ... England? I had always felt smug about the lowly reputation
of British cuisine as this gave us at least one country with a worse culinary
reputation than America's. I guess I'll have to change my views. Your article
made me actually want to take a CULINARY tour of Britain. Yummy yummy yummy.
--- Sandy Miner, Portland, OR
Thanks for your note. Thanks to Traveling
Boy I get to interview a world famous chef this week who is widely recognized
as spearheading the Yummy movement in Ireland. Guess I'll have to take yet another
culinary tour a little further north and check it out... (I love my job!) ---
Very interesting, mouth-watering piece by Audrey! (A McDreamy McMeel). Your
web site is fascinating!
--- Susie, Victoria, BC
Combining travel, food, and intelligent advice -- BRILLIANT!
Your site fills a long-felt need for hungry roamers. Keep it up! It's Anthony
Bourdain with reservations and CLASS.
--- Tad, Boston, MA
Journey to the Bottom of the Globe: Exploring the
White Continent of Antarctica
As a travel journalist I am constantly asked what are
some of my favorite travel experiences. The list is endless. But there is
one destination that seems to raise the most eyebrows. That destination
is a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly, that cruise line I was on is no more,
but today there is a plethora of cruise lines that offer similar packages.
Here's a look back at my Antarctica cruise.
Treasures of Ireland: Food, Fun and Falconry at
Ashford Castle (Dispatch #18)
The Palladian Traveler soars above the crowd with
a gal named Lima, cruises across a lake dotted with hundreds of islands,
and feasts like a king in a regal dining room.