Once, I ordered a mojito at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet and they brought me the ingredients individually so that I could make it myself. They were proud of this presentation. A chance to be your own bartender! What a treat, what an escape from the reality of my usual nights pouring calorie-free drink crystals in vodka!
It’s not like I usually order mojitos and this place scrambled to make my dreams reality. The restaurant had specifically listed this drink, with a photo of its complete form, on their placemat menu — and yet there I was, muddling my own godforsaken mint with a butter knife. I understand that I was off-roading by ordering a rum cocktail at an all-you-can-eat Chinese buffet but you need to understand that I’m one for adventure.
The action-packed life I lead yearns for a peek behind the culinary curtain. Food assembly is mesmerizing: a conveyor belt of tiny doughnuts bubbling in oil then powered in sugar at the carnival, a country club omelet station, the flamboyant knife skills of a hibachi chef. That’s what cooking shows are about, right? It’s the full fantasy of effortless preparation. Next thing you know, you’re trying to make pasta from scratch on a weeknight and you’re sweaty and miserable and there’s flour everywhere.
IKEA, the reigning champs of self-assembly, proves my point. Making your own stuff is awful; we just do it because it’s cheaper and our tiny apartments can’t fit a whole L-shaped couch through the front door. If you’ve ever spent hours on a piece of furniture, only to realize that you’ve been building it backwards and the best solution is to rip it apart and start over again, you know the emotional hell of IKEA. And yet, someone there thought it would be cute to make a self-assembly chocolate bunny for Easter.
It’s called the VÅRKÄNSLA which literally means “spring feeling” in Swedish. You know what I’m feeling? That this three-piece rabbit sculpture is a nightmare. If you’re the one making it, you get melted milk chocolate on your hands. If you eat someone else’s work, you’re essentially licking their fingertips. Call me old-fashioned, but I want my rabbits covered in foil and delivered in fighting form.
What is the point in putting IKEA’s rabbit together? You can just eat the chocolate straight out of the pack. The self-assembly experience adds a layer of bacteria to something you’ll admire for a millisecond before ruining with your mouth. Any person who goes packet-to-mouth, no stops in between, is the real winner here. This is the type of nihilism I want to foster in the world.
Putting things together is a necessary evil of IKEA and not something they should be leading with. There’s nothing cute about self-assembly. If we didn’t have to do it, we wouldn’t. What’s next? Selling ground beef and marketing it as “self-assembly meatballs”? Making us pick our own lingonberries and stomp them into juice? Actually, that would be pretty good. So cute! We can all get our own stomping buckets and special gloves for feet and laugh about how the berries feel so weird underneath our toes. Do that DIY idea, IKEA. You have my permission. But leave the chocolate rabbits alone.