This morning as I sipped my coffee, breathed deeply and looked out my office window to the woods beyond, I (for whatever reason) thought of my childhood visits to my maternal Grandmother's home.
Funny I don't think of it as my Grandpa's house - although he was still very much alive then too! No, as a tiny child, my memories find Grandma at the house, in the kitchen; either cooking the next meal or sitting at the table with my mother and at least one of my Aunts, drinking coffee with a small plate of something sweet set in front of them. She often made cinnamon rolls, but just as often it would be sugar wafer cookies, Dutch Windmill Cookies or pastries.
My Grandpa was usually at the feed store; the jungle gym of my toddler and preschool days as I climbed like little 2 foot tall monkey over 15 foot walls made of bags of animal feed. He owned and operated the local feed store in a tiny Midwestern town about as big as a postage stamp. The feed store - where the town's men would gather and smoke their cigars or cigarettes, drink coffee continuously and snack on the Dutch Windmill Cookies or raspberry pastries that were always and forever on hand.
On my Mother's side of the family, adults drinking coffee and snacking on something sweet is engrained in my memories.... Now that I am an adult I can understand part of it is a love of coffee, another part, the gathering of friends together to talk, pass the time and catch up on the 'goings-on' of the area, another part however, may be our Swedish heritage.
I saw this book on Amazon this morning about 20 minutes after thinking about my Swedish Grandparents and remembering the constant aroma of coffee and cookies at their home and in the feed store. I don't own it (yet?) but I thought I'd pass the link along to readers interested.
Fika: The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break, with Recipes for Pastries, Breads, and Other Treats
"An illustrated lifestyle cookbook on the Swedish tradition
of fika--a twice-daily coffee break--including recipes for
traditional baked goods, information and anecdotes about
Swedish coffee culture, and the roots and modern incarnations
of this cherished custom."
Sweden is one of the world’s top coffee consuming nations, and the twice-daily social coffee break known as fika is a cherished custom. Fika can be had alone or in groups, indoors or outdoors, while traveling or at home. A time to take a rest from work and chat with friends or colleagues over a cup and a sweet treat, fika reflects the Swedish ideal of slowing down to appreciate life’s small joys.
In this adorable illustrated cookbook, Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall share nearly fifty classic recipes from their motherland—from cinnamon buns and ginger snaps to rhubarb cordial and rye bread—allowing all of us to enjoy this charming tradition regardless of where we live.
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Lil' Dutch Maid Almond Windmill Cookies: 12 Packs of 5 Oz
Archway, Original Windmill Cookies, 9oz Package (Pack of 3)
De Ruiter Dutch Speculaas Cookies