A French colleague of mine once entertained an entire office of people by getting very, very angry about Angel Delight. He had seen it in the aisle at Sainsbury’s, and been completely perplexed by it. “What is it?” he demanded. “It’s Angel Delight,” we replied. “Yes, but what is it?” he demanded. “It’s…it’s Angel Delight,” we repeated. “You know. Angel Delight. Angel Delight! What? What?”
“But the packet tells you nothing!” he said. “How am I supposed to know what to do with it? We don’t have this stuff in my country. The only way to know what it is, is to already know what it is! It’s like some sort of secret society.”
None of us were ready to admit it at the time, but he did have a point. Angel Delight makes total sense to people who grew up in the UK in the seventies, and no sense at all to anyone who didn’t. We can’t explain it because we’re too close to it, and everyone else can’t understand it because we can’t explain it. Imagine trying to explain the taste of Coke to someone who’s never had it before. It tastes like…like Coke. You know, Cola! Coca-Cola! That flavour! The flavour! Of Coke! Coke! Coke! It tastes like Coke!
I like to think there’s a similar explanation for Dryck Påsksmust, currently on sale in the IKEA Restaurant in Leeds:
Usually with drinks, even if the name itself conveys nothing to you, you can get some sort of idea what’s going on from the label. I can’t be sure what Dryck Nypon is going to taste like, but I’m guessing rose-hips have a hand in it somewhere. But Dryck Påsksmust is giving very little away.
Of course, there’s always the possibility that you’ll learn something from the small print:
So this drink tastes of…Swedish Festive Drink.
Well, hell, why not? Why should IKEA feel compelled to explain it any further? Why should they kidnap some poor, benighted designer and force them to draw the taste of Swedish Festive Drink made with hops and malt? Much better to allow Dryck Påsksmust to remain as it is, alone and enigmatic, sticking a defiant two fingers up at the cultural imperialism of the English-speaking nations.
Note: since I originally took this photo, I have since discovered that Påsksmust is a sort of Easter version of Julmust, which is native to Sweden and is drunk in ridiculously huge quantities around Christmas. This is why Wikipedia is possibly the single greatest achievement of the twenty-first century.