Fika is a Swedish institution, and it means simply to sit down, have a break and a cup of coffee, tea, or other drink, sometimes with a sweet bread (which is often called fikabröd, fika bread), cookie, or sandwich. The word comes from a sociolect, a manner of speaking among leather traders. It is a scrambling of the letters in the dialectal word “kaffi” which means coffee. The word fik is often used to mean café, as in långtradarfik, or lorry/truck driver´s café.
Sometimes fika can be used to replace other meals, like you might have morgonfika instead of a sturdy breakfast of porridge or sour milk with müsli (which would be your first option, I´m sure), or kvällsfika instead of a properly cooked dinner. Or even after a properly cooked dinner, as vickning, a late light supper. This suggests a simple meal of a hot drink and a sandwich. When I was a kid, we always had tea and sandwiches in the evening, calling it kvällsmat, or evening food. The hot meal was eaten in the middle of the day, according to traditional farming culture, at least where my mother was from.
In the workplace, we have two fikas a day: one in the morning and one in the afternoon. It is important to take part in fika as this is when we relax with our work mates, develop a relationship with our boss, talk about this and that and get to know each other. It is the glue that holds collegues together, where we become friends and forge loyalty bonds that sometimes exceeds most other kinds of relationships. Having a job is important to a Swede, it is essential to be needed, to pull one´s weight in society, to count for something.
This can also make it a bit hard to stick to a healthy diet – in some groups refusing fikabröd (particularly if it is home-made) can be a bit like refusing communion or disown someone´s hospitality and offer/reaffirmation of friendship. It´s tricky.
The photos were all taken during last Sunday´s outing, with T Tuesday at Bluebeard & Elisabeth´s in mind. Happy T-Day!