Ruth calls from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to share warm memories of her family’s 3 p.m. coffee breaks. Her Swedish grandparents referred to those breaks as kaffedags, literally “coffee time of day.” (Similarly, matdags in Swedish is “meal time.”) Swedes often refer to that cherished break for coffee, socializing, and baked goods as fika or fikadags. The word fika is a slang version of the Swedish term for “coffee,” kaffe (also rendered as kaffi). The syllables were switched to form the name for this beloved Swedish tradition.

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