I have always loved to cook. Way back in my junior high days, I was saving recipes from magazines, asking relatives for their own favorites, collecting cookbooks…and having fun in my mom’s kitchen. There were some spectacular failures to be sure, and you know something is really bad when the dog won’t touch it! But it has always been a wonderful creative outlet.
I’m of full Swedish heritage and my husband is half Norwegian, so throughout the decades with his family and mine, one social constant has been “coffee and something sweet.” Stop by a grandma or aunt’s house at any time of day, and a plate of assorted homemade cookies and a pot of coffee magically appears. Little did I know–until just this week–that there is a whole Scandinavian culture surrounding this, and it’s called “fika.” A coffee break, really, but it has more meaning, a deeper tradition than that.
In fact, there are many words to describe this, as I just found in the book named, appropriately enough, “Fika.”
Fik or Fikastalle: a place to have fika
Fikapaus: taking a break to have fika
Fikarast: specific times of day to have fika
Fikastund: the moment you have fika
Fikasugen: a craving for fika
Our daughter Emily is an amazing, talented cook, and she is currently fascinated with Scandinavian cooking. She and her husband are visiting us, and every night has been a Scandinavian culinary adventure. We feel very blessed!
Three nights ago she made silky chocolate kladd kaka, the next night was “Swedish Visiting Cake,” so named because it could be made so quickly if one saw visitors on the doorstep. Both were incredible!
Last night was King Oscar’s Success Cake: almond meringue layers separated with and also topped with custard, plus almonds and chocolate on top. Be still my heart!
Note: The Kladd Kaka (not shown–we devoured it too quickly!) took less than ten minutes to bake! She reduced the sugar by two Tbsp, and she left off the bread crumbs on the bottom of the pan. It was perfect! Just the right semi-sweetness to go perfectly with whipped cream. She made all of these in a springform pan.
Here is a link for Visiting Cake: http://bakedbree.com/swedish-visiting-cake
Here is a link for the Kladd Kaka: http://www.saveur.com/swedish-gooey-chocolate-cake-recipe
Do you have favorite traditions or dishes from your own background? Other cuisines that you enjoy? I would love to hear about them!
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