A couple of months ago, Mrs. Doud and I were bumming around Sacramento (well, not really bumming; we were with a bunch of Swedes and Norwegians who very seldom if ever bum) and we wound up in an Ikea store where we walked around and gawked like tourists, which I guess we were.
Ikea stores are known for selling flat-pack furniture (that’s furniture you can carry home in the trunk of a Volvo) and for serving meatballs in their cafeterias.
We had no intention of buying any furniture, since we had come and intended to leave on a tour bus, but we had heard about the Ikea meatballs from the other Swedes traveling with us.
Swedes are very partial to meatballs, and I know some who would prefer a plate of meatballs over a New York steak almost any day, given the price difference. Also, a person can cook a big pot of Swedish meatballs, slather them with gravy, keep them in the refrigerator and have enough for a week of hardy suppers. Of course, by the end of the week, one can find oneself getting tired of them, and might want a little pickled herring on the side just for a change.
The meatballs at Ikea were available in the store cafeteria, just at the top of the escalator next to the hallway to the restrooms and the place where they keep the shopping baskets. If you’re looking for a fancy place to eat, skip Ikea. We queued up, bought a couple of plates full, sat down and ate them. They weren’t too bad, but I think Mrs. Doud’s meatballs are much better. Heck, mine are much better.
Then, though, I remembered something. Ikea earlier in the year had discovered horse meat in its meatballs. Apparently a Polish meat processor had snuck some horse meat into an order headed for Sweden, and it had galloped its way into the Ikea product. I wondered all the way home that day whether I had been eating horse meat.
I was happy to learn this week from The Wall Street Journal that horse meat was not on the Ikea menu by the time we were enjoying our meatballs. Ikea, like a good Swedish company, had given the suspect meatballs away, and their sales of regular meatballs soared. It does pay to do the right thing sometimes.