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2 Million Meatballs Are Eaten Daily At IKEA’s 340 Worldwide Stores

On March 9th, we recognize one of the great American food holidays, National Meatball Day.

  • There is a restaurant in New York that has 54 different kinds of meatballs.
  •  In Turkey, there is a dish called kofte which has many different variations.
  • In China, there is a record of a recipe that can date back to 221 BC!
  • Ancient Rome can add a claim to meatballs as there is a surviving cookbook that holds a variety of recipes with balls of meat.
  • The Italian word for meatball is polpette. Although many countries around the world have their own take, like the Vietnamese and banh mi or the  Middle East.
  • No one knows for sure where the first meatball came from, however, recipes for meatballs from the time of the Romans exist as evidence in an ancient recipe book written by Marcus Gavius Apicus (aka Apicius), who was born in 25 AD. His book is called “De re coquinaria libri decem (Cuisine in Ten Books)”. Book II is devoted to “minces”, or mixtures of meat and other ingredients.
  • Have you ever had a Swedish meatball at IKEA? The furniture company began selling food more than 30 years ago when founder Ingvar Kamprad became afraid that shoppers were feeling hungry during their long trips to IKEA. The result? In 2011, the Wall Street Journal reported that IKEA’s Food division earns $2 billion in annual revenue. That same year, the company sold a staggering 150 million meatballs!
  • Every Culture Has a Meatball. Swedish köttbullar, Spanish albondigas, Dutch bitterballen, Greek keftedes, South African skilpedjies, and from India through the Middle East, kofta.
  • The World’s Largest Meatball Was Made in South Carolina.  The Italian-American Club of Hilton Head Island, SC, took the record in November of 2017 with a massive 1757 pound meatball that took a year of planning to create. Special equipment had to be custom-made and it took a week to cook the meatball, and Guinness World Records was there to make it official. Most of the staggering meatball went to local programs to feed the hungry. That’s a lotta meatball! Watch a short video about this meatball.
  • Swedish meatballs are actually based on a recipe King Charles XII brought home from Turkey in the early 18th century.
  • 2 million meatballs are eaten daily between IKEA’s 340 worldwide stores.
  • Japan makes a hamburger steak, called hanbâgu, that is basically a larger, flatter, meatball.
  • Grecian meatballs are fried, and usually include finely diced onion and mint leaf within the meat.
  • Indonesian meatballs are served in a bowl, with noodles, beancurd, eggs, and possibly fried meat to boot.
  • In Albania, meatballs often come as a mixture of feta cheese and meat.
  • Polish meatballs (golabki) are huge, about the size of large oranges, and include rice. They are served in steamed cabbage leaves, usually in a tomato sauce.
  • Turkey boasts over 80 types of meatballs, each type made just a bit differently according to its region of origin.


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