Swedes have a love of design.
They are minimalists – beauty is to be found in simple forms: unvarnished oiled wood, primary colors, thin lines. And as far as I can tell, Swedish tastes haven’t changed much in the past 50 years. Including the packaging for milk – simple rectangular boxes the size of a brick with red, green, blue and yellow stripes of varying thickness; the red stripes are the fattest and the yellow stripes the thinnest, designating the fat content of the milk. People actually refer to milk by the color of the stripe – the husband never tells me to buy whole milk, he tells me: “Get red milk.”
But the other day, I was taken aback to find a black box in our refrigerator.
What the hell is this, I wondered.
“Read the back,” the husband said, smiling at me.
I pulled it out. It was milk, but the package was black as a reminder to turn the lights out for Earth Hour, in which the world is being encouraged to turn out the lights at 8:30 p.m. (local time) on March 28.
An admirable idea. But not terribly appealing for a milk carton. Sort of an antidote to Life cereal (do they still make that?): Death Milk.
Milk for existentialists, perhaps?
Or a way to get emo boys and girls to consume their recommended daily allowance of calcium and vitamin D?
The Swedish word for the day is mejeri. It means dairy.