Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Date with Ikea

Maybe we were feeling a bit ridiculous, or maybe we wanted the smell and taste of farce: To go where food exposition has never had the brute nor the brains to go before. We went to IKEA for lunch. The large showroom, as well as cafeteria, has all the order and charm of Willy Wonka's factory.  The large building was crowded on a federal holiday, full of Stepford Familes, bargain hunters and the bargain hunted, a couple on a date (?), and two food bloggers: Hans and Mendez.

Like self-assemble furniture itself; both the cold and hot food are inexpensive and without craftsmanship.  This accounts for its mass appeal and price. Luxury items, such as Paul Masson's new French champagne are branded as "a wine fit for any occasion," denoting for the price you revieve a quality item. The food served at IKEA could be marketed the same way, if word of mouth did not already precede.

The cafeteria possesses a highly controlled Swedish theme.  Swedish meatballs and mashed potatoes are served with warm Luxonberry jam too sweet to eat. The jam is not included by its culinary merit, but because its name on a menu looks foriegn and excting. The cold food section of the cafeteria is far more exciting than its staffed hot food counterpart. The self-serve cold storage units are home to salmon lox, served with a green salad and dill mustard sauce; an open face shrimp and hardboiled egg sandwich;  American and Scandinavian deserts.  For five dollars you will leave satisfied, for ten, stuffed.

After dining the bloggers began to dissagree. ***
Mendez, being a strong and robust fellow who lives and loves life to the fullest, was filled with enthusiasm from the meal. Yes, the meatballs were frozen, the mashed potatoes instant and the salad straight from a bag, but for the price it was surely "the best lunch for an every day budget."  Mendez appreciated the creativity that the menu showed by the inclusion of lox and shrimp, giving IKEA an edge that other cafeterias and Fast Food do not possess.

 Hans on the other hand, being weak and sickly since birth, plagued by sadism and flat feet, did not enjoy his opened-face shrimp sandwich, which he ate entirely and did not share. He consulted a book written by Jon Luc Godard,  La Historie(s) du Cuisine, which did not make mention of the food at IKEA.  Hans was forced to stick his nose up at it, '"Jack-in-the-Box' is lunch," he quoted.   He also added, "I don't like the new Weezer record.  I mostly don't like the mixing on 'It happened in the Mall.'"  Hans then proceeded to quiz Mendez on Raditude trivia unknowingly and unintentionally revealing that he had spent a good deal of time and energy researching the record. Mendez closed his eyes reciting the serenity prayer.

"You know what your problem is Hans?” Mendez said pointing at him a forked Swedish meatball, “It’s easier to tear something down than it is to build it up. You always have to tear everything down.” Mendez remembers a party where Hans kept insisting that a guest go home to get his shoeshine kit. The guest responded that he didn’t shine shoes anymore, offended “just a little bit.”

After lunch, Hans sat alone in a mock up bedroom while Mendez chased after a group of girls who spoke of  driving permit tests. Opening up one of the books, Hans read, "Cases of deficiency in respect of pleasures, that is enjoying them less than one ought, hardly occur; because such insensibility is sub-human. Even the lower animals discriminate between different foods, and enjoy some but not others." Why would Mendez hold Hans' non-enjoyment of IKEA's food against him?  To spend 2.99 on bleached snails dotted earnestly by a pink marker to give appearance of shrimp, served on cold wet bread with a hardboiled egg is what one does on a dare. Hans thought of the time where Mendez dared him to eat a can of Monster Blood.  Monster Blood tastes like rusty jelly beans covered with glue and chocolate sprinkles soaked in Paul Masson's champagne.  Monster Blood would be a better, although, a VERY dangerous alternative to this lunch.

Hans contemplated the words Mendez said: "It's easier to tear something down, than to build it up." But Ikea is not something Hans wants to build up. It's just bad food, either slightly cold and wet or slightly warm.  IKEA should just stick to what it knows; ruining posturs. Examing the mock up bedroom Hans thought of someway to praise Ikea. And it came to him.  Slowly but surely, he started to devour the blanket on the bed. He took out his mini- salt and pepper shaker from his food blogger's fanny pack and seasoned the blanket. While initially the taste might put some people off, item number 98777 is better than the shrimp sandwich, of which he did offer Mendez a taste.

Mendez came into Hans' prop room with an empty prop martini glass filled with three plastic olives.  His lips were covered in glitter. "Hey look at this." Mendez went over to a shelf and picked up an inconspicous can. The design reminded both Hans and Mendez of a fateful can from years ago which darkend their innocent days of childhood. "You don't think its Monster Blood, do you Hans?"

Hans took the can and peered at the Swedish words he could not decipher. Before Mendez could say "NO" the can was opened.  Mendez picked another can from the shelf, prying it open with his teeth..  "To Ole D.H.Lawrence."  After an audible gulp, the prop room began to fill with fog.  After the fog dissipated, two large furry monsters stood in the room one pink the other, green:  Hans and Mendez! 

You started this!" Monster Mendez threw a desk at Hans. 

Hans ducked behind a bunkbed as the desk shattered in pieces, denting the wall. "Even this Swedish Monster Bloood doesn't taste that good!"

A curious crowd gathered round and pointed in fright.  Hans and Mendez stopped fighting and posed for pictures.  No one had ever seen the effects of Monster Blood before.  "Free Monster Blood for everyone!" they shouted. One of the Ikea officers in the crowd aimed a tranquilizer gun at monster Hans.  He sunk the dart in Hans' shoulder.  Then Mendez felt the sting.

"Dude, not cool," Mendez fought his heavy eyelids and fell backwards.  Hans crawled towards Mendez and gripped his friend's paw.

"At least they aren't playing Raditude," Hans said with a smile, closing his eyes for a long unwanted slumber.

The two awoke in the blogcave's koi pond feeling hungover.  They solemnly swore in unision, "That's the last time we touch Monster Blood."