The $40 IKEA Dinner Party

You know to look to IKEA as a low-cost resource for furnishing your rental space in contemporary style, but do you ever consider their food offerings? Sure, you've grabbed a hot dog and a soft-serve at the snack bar, but there's an entire Scandinavian grocery store just waiting to be discovered!

One journalist recently set out to create an entire dinner party consisting only of foods available in the IKEA market. The Atlantic's Alfa-Betty Olsen (yes, her real name - and her Norwegian heritage lends an air of credibility to the experiment) put on an authentically Scandinavian spread for her five guests, with moderate success.

For appetizers, she offered up lox, cheese, breads, and a duo of herrings in sauce. Not universally appealing, but at least authentic to the region being honored. The main course consisted of IKEA's famous Swedish meatballs, served with instant mashed potatoes, gravy, and lingonberry preserves. Dessert was an almond cake and some fussy-sounding marzipan rolls.

An interesting experiment, to be certain. And while I might now be tempted to toss a bag of frozen meatballs into the cart on top of my flat-pack furniture finds, I think I'll bypass the herring in mustard sauce in favor of a good ol' hot dog. Okay, and probably a soft-serve.

Here's a quick run down of the ingredients you'd need for a dinner party for four, all furnished from the IKEA Swedish Food Market. (Items priced in New York).
  • Lox - $5.99 for 7 ounces
  • Swedish Fontina Cheese - $8.99 a pound
  • Flatbread (or crackers) - $1.99
  • Herring in Sauce - $2.99
  • Bag of Swedish Meatballs - $7.99
  • Bag of Gratin Potatoes - $3.79 a pound
  • Gravy (for meatballs) - $1.29
  • Lingonberry Preserves - $2.99 a jar
  • Marzipan rolls for dessert - $2.99 for four
  • Hot Dog (for kitschy appetizer) - .50 cents each
Not-So-Grand Total: $40
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