ribena

My husband recently thought that we could start giving our kids some juice.
I’ve always been against complex drinks.
Firstly, if it’s home-made – let’s be honest, it’s a hassle squeezing ten oranges to make one glass of juice. And then, why not just eat fresh, raw fruit – are we so lazy to chew?
Secondly, if it’s ready-made – it’ll be sweet and what’s the point of drinking something that will make you even thirstier.
Plain water works best.
Or yogurt.
Greek, sour, white, unsweetened yogurt.

Anyway, my man bought Ribena.
He loves his Ribena.
Ever since I met him, 10 years ago, he’s been drinking Ribena.
In fact, what do you think he offered me the first time I went to his house?
Ribena!
Dates usually offer you a glass of wine or a gin&tonic cocktail.
My guy offered me Ribena!

Ribena.
Don’t ask me what we had for dinner with that Ribena…

When I go to his office, the mini fridge offers me Ribena, too.
The darn drink is all over the place, wherever my husband is.
And I never liked it because it’s so sweet.
The fact that you have to dilute it with water after measuring like some lab chemist, already looks suspicious.

So, here I come back from Dubai after a week away from husband, kids, house chores and monotonous rhythm of discipline and exhaustion, and I hear my son asking, “daddy, I want Ribena”.

My shocked face gave it all away, so my husband hurried an explanation about how our son discovered Ribena.
Ribena, Ribena, Ribena.
I didn’t want to jump all judgmental – we were still in a welcome-and-I-missed-you mode, so I prepared the liquid following the instructions 1 part squash with at least 4 parts water, whatever that meant in Ribena language.

I reluctantly passed the glass to my son and then zoomed in on the label, just to check what was about to go into my kid’s stomach.

The big letters said that there are no artificial colours, flavours, or sweeteners added, so that was encouraging.
But in the ingredients list it said, that the juice contains: water, sugar, blackcurrant juice from concentrate, citric acid, vitamin C, preservatives – potassium sorbate, sodium bisulphite, colour (anthocyanins), and that the “drink is not recommended for children under 3 years old”.

I thought, if I had to do a home-made version of a blackcurrant juice for my kids, would I really need potassium sorbate and sodium bisulphite besides sugar, water, colour, and vitamin C?
And that’s when I got really confused.
Doesn’t blackcurrant juice require blackcurrant?
I don’t even have potassium sorbate or sodium bisulphite in my cupboards.
I don’t even know what they look like if I had to go and buy them.
And from which shop do you go and buy potassium sorbate, or, as others might know it, E 202?
With regards to vitamin C, I guess I could crush one pill, but how many milligrams for one glass of juice?

Anyway .
I put the concentrate bottle back in the dark cupboard never wanting to see it again.
But I’m still a little bewildered about it.
About its purpose.
The purpose of Ribena and all those concentrate juices.
Is it to quench your thirst?
To keep your vitamin C levels intact?
To maintain your good health?

Whatever it is, water probably doesn’t give it.
Otherwise why make concentrate juices.
Either way, I didn’t want to ponder over this for any longer.
I just figured, my kids don’t need E 202 or E222 when they can have a green apple.

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