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  • Writer's pictureCulinary Cam

An IKEA-Inspired Tray #MoviesandMunchies

This month Amy of Amy's Cooking Adventures is hosting our online Movies & Munchies group. She asked us to watch (500) Days of Summer. I had never seen the movie, so I rented it one evening; Jake and I settled in for what we thought would be a silly rom-com.

On the Screen

(500) Days of Summer ended up being less of a rom-com and more of a commentary on the messiness of love relationships! Tom, played by Joseph Gordon-Levitt, works for a greeting card company and believes in love at first sight. One day he meets Summer, played by Zooey Deschanel, who is a free spirit who isn't interested in "finding the one" or "being the one." Boy meets girl. They date. Girl dumps boy (over a plate of pancakes at a diner). Boy falls into a pit of despair.

The movie has a stellar supporting cast. It was a treat to see Chloë Grace Moretz as Tom's sister who tells him how it really is. His best friends, Paul and McKenzie, are played by Matthew Gray Gubler (loved him in Criminal Minds) and Geoffrey Arend (one of my favorite characters in Madam Secretary). They represent the spectrum of romance: Paul found true love in high school and McKenzie prefers to be single. Tom falls in the middle as he is still single, but wants the stability and romance. But Summer is not the girl for his love story.

What I thought would be a fluffy movie ended up being a nuanced tale, told in non-linear scenes, of expectations versus reality. I thoroughly enjoyed it and am grateful that Amy selected it. I don't think it's a movie I would have found on my own.

On the Plate

While there isn't a lot of food in the movie. There was the breakup scene at the diner when they are served pancakes and sausages. There are also a few scenes that show them drinking in a bar or eating snacks in a movie theatre. What inspired me into the kitchen was actually not a food scene in the movie. There is a series when Tom and Summer head to IKEA. They skip through the store, pretending to cook in the display kitchens and eating at a dining room table before falling onto a bed until they are interrupted by "a Chinese family in [their] bathroom."

I have only been to an IKEA store once though we have an embarrassing number of cabinets and other storage from the store. When we did visit the store, we ate in the cafeteria. I only found this photo of Jake drinking Swedish elderflower and lingonberry juice boxes!

Then I remembered that R and his housemates has recently been to IKEA to pick up things for their house. I texted him to see if they had eaten there. He sent me photo at the top of his IKEA tray. He had Swedish meatballs, mashed potatoes, brown gravy, peas, and lingonberry jam. He said he wanted to share this plate with someone so he could try the dill and smoked salmon plates as well. But none of his friends wanted to share. So, he went with the meatball plate. I decided to make that for my #MoviesandMunchies offering this month.

Swedish Meatballs (Svenska Kottbullar)


  • 1 pound ground meat (we used a mixture of ground beef and ground pork)

  • 1 onion, diced

  • ½ cup bread crumbs

  • 2 eggs

  • ¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg

  • ½ teaspoons ground allspice

  • salt and pepper to taste


  • 2 Tablespoons salted butter

  • ¼ cup flour

  • 2 cup beef broth (we prefer low sodium)

  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream

  • salt and pepper to taste

For Serving

  • mashed potatoes

  • edamame (I couldn't find fresh peas)

  • lingonberry jam


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

  2. In a large bowl, combine all of the ingredients. Use a wooden spoon or clean hands to blend ingredients until well-combined. Roll walnut-sized meatballs and place them on a parchment-lined baking sheet.

  3. Bake meatballs at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 35 minutes or until done. They should be firm to the touch when they are done. If you aren’t sure, you can slice open one of the meatballs. They should not be pink in the center at all.

  4. While the meatballs bake, make the sauce.


  1. Use a pan that will allow you to have all of the meatballs in the pan in a single layer. If not, you can do this in batches. Melt the butter over medium heat. Whisk in the flour until a smooth roux forms. Pour in the beef broth and cream. Simmer, whisking constantly until thickened, approximately 5 minutes. Place the meatballs in the thickened sauce and turn to coat.

  2. Serve hot.

That's a wrap on my February #MoviesandMunchies post - inspired by (500) Days of Summer. If you care to join the fun, you still have most of the month left to watch and join!

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1 Comment

Wendy Klik
Wendy Klik
Feb 11, 2023

I'm so impressed that you found inspiration for an IKEA themed dinner. I went with pancakes LOL

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