When I was little, these were just about the best words I ever heard my Farmor (father’s mother — Grandma in English!) say.
My father grew up on the family farm — Bengtstorp — in the province of Småland, south central Sweden. When my dad was 15, he decided that his future was not on the farm. Too much work and being bossed around by his older brother Gosta. He saw his life working at his uncle’s construction company in Chicago, driving an American car, wearing sunglasses and meeting American girls!
We weren’t frequent visitors to the farm; Chicago was a planes, ships and automobiles distance from Sweden. But when we did visit, it was a steady swirl of family dinners, amazing food and magical time crawling all over the barn and adjacent woods. Breakfast and lunch were important, but it was often a fika where I would sit with my grandmother, doing my best to converse in Swedish, listening to stories and steadily staring holes at the plate of cookies and coffee bread.
Sometimes it was midmorning. Other times midafternoon. Every fika was precipitated by a trip to the freezer. Coffee bread and cookies were prepared and frozen in anticipation of our visits. Farmor always had a twinkle in her eye and I was never going to miss the opportunity for sweets and a hot cup of coffee. I still smile at the memory of my grandmother pouring a few sips of the hot coffee into her saucer, to allow it to cool and then enjoying her first few sips off the saucer!
Fika has been described as a social institution or even phenomena. And Swedish people love their fika. It gives them the opportunity to meet and hang out with friends, get to know new people, check out potential partners or network with business folks. It’s a time of community — to visit, to tell stories, to enjoy a cup of coffee and a tasty treat!
Here at Cooks, I’d like to think that we all carry the spirit of a good fika. We serve a wonderful cup of coffee — Dorothy’s Blend — we have a pile of tasty treats – including the best cinnamon cardamom bun in all Scandinavia! And we have a wonderful space for a visit. Bring your friends, your family and your co-workers.
Ta en fika, sip your coffee and bring a bag of treats for your freezer!
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