In May of 2001 I decided to leave James Madison University after completing the first year of a doctoral program in Audiology. I was 21 years old and, having rushed through my undergrad in just three years, I hadn’t stopped to think about whether or not I really wanted to be an audiologist. When I finally did make the decision to leave that May, I had no idea what I was going to do with my life. I moved back home to Woodbridge and lived with my husband (now ex), Chuck, for the first time after a year and half of marriage. As he was finishing his short military career, I began a new one in retail, working in the showroom at IKEA in Woodbridge.
Aside from being a fun place to work, and a practical place to use my employee discount, there were a lot of other pluses to working at IKEA. I had wonderful co-workers and met one of my dearest friends while working the sofas department (Hi Deborah!). But one of the most pleasant surprises about IKEA was the FOOD, Delicious lunches were served in the staff cafeteria every day for a mere $2! And it wasn’t just the regular fare that was served in the store’s restaurant — the lunches consisted of a varied menu never offered to the general public. I definitely considered the cuisine one of the perks of the job.
In 2002 I left IKEA after just 14 months, accepting a position with the company I’m still with today. This move forged a new career for me, and I’ve never regretted the decision. But even now after all these years, on occasion I’ll still return to my old stomping ground for a little shopping and food — even if it’s not the amazing food the staff enjoys, the restaurant is still pretty impressive, especially for the price. When I do get to revisit my past there is one dish that always stares me down, telling me that I must pick it up and place it on my tray, that it is part of my destiny. That dish is the Daim cake. It’s made from an almond butter base and then covered in chocolate. Just like the Daim candies, it is an irresistible dessert.
To celebrate today’s “unofficial” Chris and I swung by IKEA on our way home from work. After perusing the furniture upstairs we headed to the restaurant to grab our chocolate Daim cake. We were pleasantly surprised to find that there was also a slice of almond cake, so we got one of each and shared.