A familiar smell that I have known since I was little diffuses through the house, seeping into every room. This warm, familiar smell signals it’s time to eat. My grandma, aunts, uncles, cousins, and siblings are rushing around in the kitchen as they put the final touches on the Swedish meatball dinner we have once a year.
I believe in food. Which may sound weird, but I believe that food brings families together, especially mine.
I first learned to cook and prepare the rigorous Swedish meal after my grandpa died when I was 10. My grandpa was the one who made the gravy to pour over the meatballs, and now it was my turn to carry on the “gravy legacy”. Let me tell you, carrying on this legacy was nothing easy, but with the help of my family, I perfected it. Over the years, my responsibilities grew in the kitchen during meatball night. Once my gravy was perfected, I became in charge of mixing the pork, beef, egg, nutmeg, onion, and allspice. Now that I am 19, I am in charge of most kitchen duties during this time of year because of my dedication to cooking this meal for my family
Swedish meatballs are a lot harder to cook than Italian meatballs because there is no bread holding the meat together thus making it a difficult process. When mixing the meat together, it is crucial that you do not use too much beef because this will make it harder to hold the pork. The egg must be a certain temperature in order to hold the meat and spices together; otherwise the egg will turn into unwanted scrambles.
The gravy, which I eventually perfected, is the hardest because this involves determining the gravy’s thickness. If the gravy is too thick it will become oily and gross, but if it is too thin the gravy will drown into the meatballs, making them slimy. The final step of the meatballs is mixing the sauce and meatballs, and putting them in a large bowl topped with a particular parsley flavor.
I feel that all families would agree that food brings families together. Of course each family member is very different, but in between the dishes, laughter, and lack of leftovers, the food acts as a distraction from all these differences that would usually set people apart. One of the reasons I love meatball night so much is because it is one of the only nights, besides Christmas, that I see my family. My family, unfortunately, has grown apart due to distance and death. Meatballs are what bring us together.
My favorite meatball night so far is the one we had before I left for school because the new baby cousins ate with us for their first meatball night ever. Watching a new generation grow up with the meatball tradition gives me hope that this valuable tradition will continue for many years after I am gone.
Kait is a sophomore at TCU majoring in business and fashion merchandising. Both of her parents were journalists, so writing has become one of her favorite hobbies throughout the years. She hopes to continue her love for writing and bring it into a career.