Fika and the Joy of Lingonberry Cake

By Mary Skoy

In the midst of all the pattern graphing, yarn selection, bobbin winding, and loom preparation, in the midst of all the intense weaving energy, Åsa interrupted us to tell us that it was time for Fika.

What?  Time for a coffee break, when we had so much to do, so much to learn?  Well, it didn’t seem to be an option.  Åsa had made a special cake for our first fika and had coffee ready.

Most of us were familiar with this Swedish word that loosely translates as “coffee break,” but I, for one, had no idea of how much fika is a part of everyday life.  In Sweden, it seems, fika is something to look forward to, not a grab-and-go and on-to-the-next-thing moment.  Instead, it’s a time when everything else stops, and we took a breath, sitting together around a big tale within sight of our looms but slightly around the corner from them so we could truly slow down.  We admired the woven samples surrounding us on the walls.  We took time to examine the seat cushions, “jynne”, on our chairs.  Each of these everyday cushions was different, and each beautiful.

Fika became a welcome daily habit.  And, after finishing Åsa’s cake, we shared cookies or chocolate from the grocery store across the street and fresh picked strawberries from the strawberry seller parked nearby.

We knew our looms were waiting for us, providing opportunities for more intense weaving and learning.  And, after fika, we were ready.

Fika.  Left to right:  Sharon, Janis, Jan (hidden), Mary Skoy, Melba, Gunvor, Åsa, Mary Erickson

Åsa’s Lingonberry Cake

June 2017, Landskrona in Skåne, Sweden

This goes well with apples or currants and a little bit of coarsely crushed cardamom in the batter.

Ingredients:
2 eggs
1 ¼ C. flour
1 C. powdered sugar
1 stick butter
1 T. vanilla sugar
¼ C. frozen lingonberries or other berry

Toppings:
Chopped almonds or poppy seeds (Åsa used pumpkin seeds)

For serving:
Whipped cream

Preparation:
Stir together all ingredients. Pour into greased and floured pan. Sprinkle with almond slices. Bake at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes. Cool and serve with whipped cream or light sour cream (this might be crème fraiche).

Mary Skoy traces her fiber roots to her Norwegian/Irish mother who taught her to knit and further back to her Norwegian great aunt Sunniva Lønning, a weaver, spinner, teacher, and activist in mid twentieth century Norway. Scandinavian textiles are her weaving inspiration: contemporary functional weaving seen in shops, those seen in use in the homes of family in Norway; and historical pieces in museums.

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