Foodways
Material

Swedish Coffee Cake

Main Piece
Swedish Coffee Cake – its very good. Its key ingredient is cardamom, which is a spice. You make the whole thing from scratch, so after you make the dough, you braid, you roll it out, and then depending on what you want in it, its usually sugar, cinnamon, and raisins, some people like raisins, some don’t, and then nuts, and then you roll it up, and then when you’re making Swedish Coffee Cake, you make it in a circle. And then you take scissors and then cut it all the way around so you can flip the sides. We made this all the time really – it was so good, the kids loved it, so it wasn’t really for a specific occasion, its just what you did. I stopped making it because kneading dough is really hard and tough on the hands and arms, unless you were going to buy the dough, but I always made it. It is hard though, you have to bake the dough, punch it down, and then it rises again, and you have to punch it back down, it’s a lot of work.

Background
The informant of this piece was born in America, yet her family comes from Sweden. She was taught this traditional recipe from her mother, and would make it very often for her children. Her children affirmed loving it and having it all the time, and mentioned they wish they still made it.

Context
The informant of this piece is a 79-year-old women, born in America to the family of Swedish immigrants. The information was collected outside a home in Palm Springs, California on April 20th, 2019.

Analysis
I wish that this traditional recipe had been passed down and used in my family! I would love to be able to celebrate my historical culture, even if through specific, traditional recipes! I find it really interesting that I have never tried it – even with the informant helping make important meals shared by the whole family, it has not been made, to my knowledge. I think it really interesting that specifically Swedish coffee cake is said to be made in a circle – I feel like most cakes are circular, although the use of scissors to flip the dough is interesting. It makes sense that it became harder and harder to make as the informant got older, but a big part of me wishes that wasn’t the case.

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