My husband’s family always has Swedish food at Christmas. Though we only saw family on Zoom this year, we took over the menu ourselves to prepare. I am not Swedish but have been conditioned to eat the meatballs, rice pudding, and many other components of a Swedish smorgasbord.
Christmas Eve finds our family busy making Swedish meatballs. I made the green jello (an expected staple in Minnesota) with help from our daughter, and started a very long process of making rice pudding. You wash rice, boil rice, and then put it in a double boiler with milk. After several hours of cooking and adding more milk, and eventually eggs, sugar, and vanilla, you have a delightful creamy mixture that melts in your mouth.
Swedish meatballs are made using a recipe from Byerly’s (a high-end grocery store). These are not regular meatballs. They have many spices in them, including cardamon, as well as half-and-half. They are goopy and hard to shape, but taste divine. I sketched my daughter shaping meatballs and putting them on a baking sheet.
She and my husband wore blue nitrile gloves, but also found that they could shape them better using bare hands, which got raw meat everywhere!
You also make a gravy for the meat balls which is rich and tasty. We had leftovers on Christmas Day, Round Two of Swedish food. I decided to sketch some of the food this time around before I devoured it.
So here is a look at the sketch I started of my plate:
After I got the pen sketch done, I ate up the food. Later in the afternoon, I used watercolors to color the sketch and I labeled the food for the non-Swede readers. I am not totally sure why the Swedes like to combine these various foods together. Also picture green Jello with maraschino cherries and pears, rye bread and cheese, which are not pictured here. I opt for a green salad instead!
What do you enjoy for holiday dinners? Sometime, try to sketch it! But be sure to eat it before it gets cold!