I am just now getting around to reading the Millenium Trilogy by Stieg Larsson. An aunt of mine noted a while ago that they sure do drink a lot of coffee in The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and I have to agree. So I noted a few days ago on my facebook page that it’s making me all nostalgic for Sweden, and particularly for fika (pronouced “FEE-kuh”), i.e. the Swedish version of a coffee break.
In the fall of 2001, I spent 4 months at Södra Vätterbygdens Folkhögskola (SVF) in Jönköping, Sweden. Nevermind about the pronounciation of these names, and don’t worry about remembering them in full either, unless you’re Swedish, I suppose. The point I want to make here is that the school, SVF, had the nickname of “Ska Vi Fika?”, which translates to “Let’s have a cup of coffee! And a treat! Yay!” At least that’s what I hear when when I think of fika.
Anyhow, SVF got that nickname because twice a day (at 10 AM and 3 PM, if I remember correctly) classes took a break and the cafeteria provided fika – coffee and something sweet. Sometimes the students of the creative line (something like a program in home ec) would make kardemumbullar (cardamom rolls) or once, I think they even made dammsugera* (small, green, marizpan-covered cookies with chocolate-dipped ends.)
So this is what I think about when I read that Blomkvist or Salander (or any of the other characters in the book) put on water to make coffee. And since I am currently working from home on some freelance and consulting jobs, I’ve been taking advantage of the chance to drink coffee. And the result is that there’s coffee everywhere. Well, at least there’s a coffee mug everywhere. I also should really look into purchasing some decaf, because all this coffee is starting to make me a bit jittery. And I wonder how Mikael and Lisbeth can drink coffee at night. Is it a caffeine tolerance thing?
And that’s the story of my re-invigorated love-affair with coffee, all thanks to a book. Now if you’ll excuse me, I think I should go and make a fresh pot of coffee, because it’s 3PM, and we all know what that means.
*dammsugera means “vacuum cleaner” in Swedish. Today’s the first time that I’ve ever actually looked up the story behind the name. It’s not as if they look like vacuum cleaners; rather, they get that name because bakers used to “vacuum up” all the cookie crumbs from the day, mix them with other sweet stuff, and then roll it all up in the green marzipan. So basically, the Swedes had the market cornered on cake balls WAAAAAAY before bakerella began the current craze (of which I am HAPPILY a part. I LOVES cake balls!)