One of our favorite movies is Julie and Julia. We love this true story of a woman baking through Julia Child’s cookbook, not only because of the growth you feel in Julie’s character, but because of the connection she felt to Julia.
We’ve been searching for a way to embark on a similar type of journey—to improve our skills in the kitchen and to feel connected with our heritage and new home. This is why we are starting our next project: a bake through of THE Swedish baking text: Sju Sorters Kakor, or “Seven Types of Cookies.”
In order to understand the concept of this book, you first have to know about Swedish “fika.” If you don’t already know, fika is a time to take a break and enjoy a cup of coffee and sweet treat with a friend. It’s even incorporated as a break during the work day in Sweden. During the early 20th century in Sweden, any fika without at least seven types of cookies was considered totally improper. Thus the title of this book. While fika and its importance in Swedish culture has not withered away with time, the cultural imperative of having “sju sorters kakor” adorning the table has fallen by the wayside.
This once commonplace tradition began to fade when women started working. The cookbook has persisted, however. You’ll still find it in most Swedish homes even though it was originally published in 1945! This book often comes up in conversations with Emma’s family about Swedish baking. One of Emma’s family members who was a career home economics teacher speaks fondly of this book and used it in her classroom decades ago. The copy we are using today is not quite the same book. Sju Sorters Kakor has evolved throughout the years in pace with the changes in Swedish baking. For instance, our edition has some more modern touches like gluten-free and vegan recipes as well as some influences from foreign cuisines.
The reason we started Folksmak a few years ago was because we wanted to share some of our ideas on Swedish and Nordic baking and cooking. One of the coolest things about creating a platform like this is the people you’re able to connect with. We’ve met so many other Nordic-American people who are interested in connecting with their roots beyond the stereotypes you see at IKEA. Emma is half Swedish but grew up in a Swedish-American community, giving her a unique perspective. Chad, a total outsider who’s been thrown into Swedish culture, also holds a unique perspective. We enjoy learning more about Nordic baking and cooking together because we are able to intertwine our past and present and feel a sense of connectedness to this community.
Sju Sorters Kakor is a book that connects many generations of Swedish and Swedish-American bakers making it the perfect book for us to bake our way through. Who knows how long this will take us—there are over two hundred recipes in this book. This isn’t our full time job and baking is a hobby for us. We want it to be fun! So, we won’t commit to finishing the book in a year like Julie Powell, but we do promise lots of yummy Swedish baked goods and discussion about the evolution of Swedish baking. If you’re interested, be sure to follow along on our journey!