Friday, June 5, 2015

Book Review: Fika: The Art of The Swedish Coffee Break, with Recipes for Pastries, Breads, and Other Treats by Anna Brones and Johanna Kindvall

It's not often that I can say that a cookbook makes a positive change in my life, but Fika: The Art of the Swedish Coffee Break, an illustrated lifestyle cookbook on the Swedish tradition of fika - a twice daily coffee break - has inspired me to do just that: to take a quiet coffee break (in my case tea), either by myself or with friends. A sweet time out, to regroup, refocus and refuel.

With its lovely images, and even better, recipes for traditional baked goods, you'll be inspired, too.

I love the idea of truly taking a break (sadly, most of my breaks during the day involve still working). The cherished Swedish custom is also highlighted thanks to information, history and anecdotes about Swedish coffee culture.

As author Anna Brones explains, "fika isn't just a coffee break; it's a moment to slow down and appreciate the good things in life.... the concept of fika is simple. It is the moment that you take a break, often with a cup of coffee, but alternatively with tea, and find a baked good to pair with it. You can do it alone, you can do it with friends. You can do it at home, in a park or at work. But the essential thing is that you do it, that you make time to take a break: that's what fika is all about."

"In Sweden, fika is incorporated into everyday life in many different ways. At any Swedish office, there is always a fika break, both in the morning and in the afternoon. Fika is an excuse for friends to meet up at a cafe and spend some time together. If you take a train somewhere, you pack a thermos of coffee and a baked good, and if you don't have time, you can be sure that there is a fika special — a cup of coffee and a sweet bun — on board in the dining car. Fika isn't just a coffee break, it's a lifestyle, and one that we could all probably use a little more of in our lives," Brones explains, on her blog,

I look forward to baking some of the nearly fifty classic Swedish recipes from cookies to cakes to bread. But more than I look forward to trying to slow down a bit more, by incorporating this simple life pleasure into my daily life. 

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