IKEA was in the news recently, and it occurred to me that I’d never been to an IKEA store.

Not for lack of proximity – IKEA has been in the U.S. since 1985, and there are 52 of them, one practically in my backyard, in San Diego.

So why haven’t I been to an IKEA store?

And why was IKEA recently in the news?

First thing first.

I hadn’t been to an IKEA store because I was pretty sure they sold stuff that was DIY – do it yourself.  For example, you buy a box of components for a chair, take it home and assemble it.

Simple for some.

But – DIY is not my middle name.

I don’t even have a nodding acquaintance with DIY.

If I tried to assemble a DIY chair, I’d end up looking like this IKEA customer:

I’ve come to terms with the fact that I’m not good at some things, like understanding and following complex written instructions.

And that’s OK, because I am good at other things.

Maybe I can’t assemble a chair, but I’m a master at sitting in a chair and…

But there are many – maybe millions of – IKEA fans who are ready, willing and eager to buy and assemble items like these:

And I’ve now learned that, as of a few years ago, there’s been a surge in what are called “IKEA Hacks.”  That is, customers change, alter, or intentionally tweak how a given design is meant to be assembled.

A rather plain chest of drawers was hacked and transformed:

This ordinary bed became a cool beach shack:

And after a hack, this IKEA…thingy…is now a new…thingy:

So, IKEA does sell DIY items, but I’ve learned they also sell no-assembly-required items, like bathmats and knives and plants:

And I’ve learned they sell my favorite thing to shop for:


Which brings us back to this post’s title, and IKEA being out of GRÖNSAKSKAKA:

Which I didn’t want to buy, but I was intrigued by a food item that ended in…

One food item I expect IKEA never runs out of is their famous – according to their website – Swedish Meatballs, which they call HUVUDROLL:

And I guess the meatballs are famous, because in 2020 when IKEA released their recipe, it was the meatball heard round the world:

And which, to spare you too much more of my meandering, leads us back to the second question:  Why was IKEA recently in the news?

Because IKEA has now done their own “hack,” and transformed their meatballs into this:

The reason, according to many articles – this also made news round the world – is:

“The candle is part of the ‘IKEA Store in a Box,’ a limited-edition collection of all of the most indelible sensory experiences of going to IKEA.  An IKEA spokesperson declined to comment on what other items would be included, telling Food & Wine that it would be ‘a surprise and a delight.’ 

“The HUVUDROLL meatball-scented candle and the rest of the ‘IKEA Store in a Box’ items were all created for the 10th anniversary of IKEA’s free loyalty program, IKEA Family.”

So it appears that IKEA has pushed the envelope of its current candles with names like HÖSTKVÄLL, VANSKLIG and MEDKÄMPE, and is bringing you that “indelible sensory experience” of lighting a candle and – to paraphrase the Food & Wine writer – filling your home with the mouthwatering smell of…

Something you can’t eat.

But that’s OK.

Because I finally decided it was time to push my own envelope, visit IKEA, buy something simple to assemble, and do it myself:

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