Eat, Drink, & Be Merry

Published: 8/5/20
By: Sheila Aven

Fika: a social coffee break with one’s colleagues, friends, date, or family, usually accompanied by sweet baked goods. It can be a noun (Let’s have fika.) or a verb (Shall we fika?), describing the act.

I read about fika a while ago when I borrowed, The Little book of Fika by Lynda Balslev from a friend. “Swedes are among the world’s happiest people.” They have such a good balance between work and life, which includes their twice-daily ritual of fika. The origin of fika is said to go back to the mid-1600’s. Today it’s a necessary part of their work-life balance. Stopping and taking a break with your coworkers is not only acceptable – it’s expected. Fika time lasts an average of twenty-four minutes each day for those not working and twelve minutes a day for those at work. It all comes down to an idea of “not too much, not too little – just enough.”

The idea of fika recently came back to my mind while enjoying a cool evening on our front porch with my husband, our youngest son, and our dog. I realized how difficult it has been to “unplug” during these last few months. With calendars cleared and life feeling somewhat canceled, you’d think it’d be easier. However, in the stillness, I’d find myself still trying to keep up with all the information and opinions that were swirling around me from every direction. I wasn’t embracing the idea of being still.

This task of simplicity is perhaps the most difficult. So, I decided to use this time for our team as a whole to take a break and enjoy some coffee and sweets! Only a few things are needed to ensure a successful fika. “Set the time.” Give yourself a break from your routine. “Adjust your mindset.” Keep it simple – don’t overthink it. Try not to multitask. Enjoy your company or the solitude.

“The most simple things can bring the
most happiness.”

– Izabella Scorupco, Polish-Swedish actress, singer, model

Fikabrod are the freshly baked goods that accompany coffee.


Poppy Seed Cake

preheat oven @ 350

• 1 box Butter Recipe cake mix (I use Duncan Hines)
• 2 sticks (1 cup) butter/margarine, melted
• 16 oz container sour cream
• 1/4 cup poppy seeds
• 1/2 cup sugar
• 2 tablespoons butter flavoring
• 4 medium eggs

Mix everything in a mixing bowl till smooth. Don’t overdo it!
Pour into a greased bundt pan. (I use vegetable spray)
Bake for 45 minutes. (Test for doneness – stick a clean knife in; if it comes out clean, it’s done. I start testing at 40 minutes. Don’t overbake – it’ll be dry!

This cake needs no icing, although sometimes I sprinkle some powdered sugar in the bundt pan before pouring in the batter.
It’s a great last-minute cake for company, and it’s great any time of the day, and it makes your house smell so inviting!


– How’s your work-life balance?
– Can you relate to the struggle to “unplug,” whether it’s when you’re with others or alone?
– If so, how can you be more intentional in your efforts to embrace the idea of being still or fully engaged with those around you?