Friday, July 29, 2016


I got a new cookbook for my birthday:  "Fika - The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break".  The introduction neatly captures my feelings, especially on a busy, chaotic, detritus-filled packing day like today.

Although it may be well meaning, "Do you want to meet up and grab coffee?" in English just doesn't carry the same weight as the corresponding Swedish question, "Ska vi fika?"  "Should we fika?" is shorter, simpler; and every Swede knows exactly what it means:  "Let's take a break, spend some time together, slow down."  In fact, it doesn't even have to insinuate coffee; fika is all-inclusive and can be done just as well with a pot of tea or a pitcher of fruit cordial.  Fika isn't just for having an afternoon pick-me-up; it's for appreciating slow living.
Therefore, it's not just because you bae a certain cake and serve a cup of coffee that you have fika.  To truly fika requires a commitment to making time for a break in your day, the creation of a magical moment in the midst of the routine and the mundane.  Fika is the time when everything else is put on hold.

We pulled some of Sarah's cardamom bread out of the freezer, toasted and slathered it with Nutella left by a visiting guest, and seated ourselves at the table for a few minutes to reconnect with each other.  Time well spent.