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My passion for coffee first brewed at age five when Grandma Anna poured the warm golden-brown magic into my cup. It all began at our kitchen table, where Grandma’s Swedish friends gathered for their kaffe kalas or coffee parties. Elsa, Mia, Ellen, and Linnea always brought baked goods to share, and Grandma often baked a batch of her famous Swedish cardamom rolls. I was the official greeter, and couldn’t wait to find my place at the table to discover the delicacies that awaited me. The idea that coffee would stunt my growth was never heard in my home.


My cup contained Anna’s special Swedish blend egg coffee. During those early years, my cup was filled with part cream, part coffee, and a sugar cube. Later, I discovered Grandma’s recipe. It was a mixture of ground coffee, beaten egg, and cold water, stirred into a pot of boiling water. The heat was turned off, and more cold water was added. It stood about ten minutes until the grounds settled. Sometimes a crushed eggshell was added to the mixture. The result was a coffee pure, clear, golden-brown in color, and smooth to the taste. I can still smell the rich aroma of that golden-brown coffee, and I carry it with me in my memories.

I remember being puzzled the first time I saw Grandma add eggshell to the mixture. “Grandma, I don’t think I’ll like the coffee with eggshells,” I told her one morning. “Will I be able to taste them? Will they hurt my tongue?”

“My little sweet grandchild,” said Grandma Anna, “don’t worry about the eggshells. They will blend with the coffee grounds and settle to the bottom of the pot. You’ll never know they were there.”

Grandma Anna always sucked on a sockerbit (sugar cube) as she daintily sipped her coffee. If my coffee was too hot, Anna allowed me to pour some carefully into the cup’s saucer and sip the coffee from the saucer. Not only did my passion for coffee begin at our kitchen table, but Grandma and her friends taught me fine table manners and the art of conversation. How fortunate I was, as a five-year-old, to be included. The coffee ritual these women shared was social, a break from the hard work they endured every day. There were no automatic washing machines, dryers or dishwashers in those days. Anna spoke English, but Swedish was the only language spoken at those coffee parties, and I soon understood every word.

Today, coffee is a giant global industry, and coffee houses have become all the rage. Coffee has come a long way since those long-ago coffee parties around our kitchen table. But this current rage isn’t new. It was not only my grandmother’s friends who gathered around the table for coffee and sociability. For years, men and women have been gathering for coffee in many divergent settings.

I looked forward to coffee breaks during my career as a secretary. My first coffee-break experience in 1956 was a bit intimidating. I worked for a large, international company, at one of their small office sites. Each day, the secretaries gathered with the vice presidents for their breaks. The secretaries made and served the coffee. There was no coffee talk from me for several weeks. It was different from Grandma Anna’s coffee parties. Gone were the familiar faces and the Swedish chatter. But I soon became comfortable as the men shared their worldwide travel experiences to places I could only dream of visiting. Later, as a young wife and mother, I enjoyed coffee with friends and neighbors, a regular occurrence in those years.

What fun it would be to engage in some coffee talk with Grandma Anna about the latest coffee trends. She would be amazed and probably a bit confused with the variety of coffee beans available, coffee flavors, and names of some of the most popular drinks.

“Grandma Anna, I would love to introduce you to my favorite brew—a latte with espresso coffee, steamed skim milk, and a shot of vanilla, extra hot. Maybe you’d enjoy a cappuccino, a mocha, or an espresso. I haven’t found a sugar cube in any of my favorite coffee houses, but you probably will not miss it.”

As a writer, I enjoy getting out of the house with my laptop computer, away from daily distractions, to work at a coffee house. But I still feel the need for coffee talk. My husband and I often enjoy time together over a cup of coffee. We enjoy experimenting at home with new flavors, and a cup of coffee after dinner has become our ritual. Included in our ritual are coffee cups brought back from Sweden where we visited the places our grandparents called home.

“Even though I’m a fan of the twenty-first century coffee houses, Grandma Anna, I miss our kitchen table kaffe kalas. I enjoy many kinds of coffee, but I’ve never found anything that comes close to your Swedish egg coffee, and the memories of our coffee talk around the kitchen table. I no longer understand much Swedish, but you gave me the lasting gift of hospitality and a passion for coffee. For that, I give you and your friends tusen tack—a thousand thanks.”

Sharon Kingan Young © 2007 from Chicken Soup for the Coffee Lover’s Soul

 

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Jerry's Haven N Tell Easter Special

Greetings From The Heart Easter Special

Easter

How To Decorate Easter Eggs

Real Age

Craft Patterns

Free Christian Bookmarks

All I Need to Know About Life I Learned from the Easter Bunny


Don't put all of your eggs in one basket.

Walk softly and carry a big carrot.

Everyone needs a friend who is all ears.

There's no such thing as too much candy.

All work and no play can make you a basket case.

Everyone is entitled to a bad hare day.

Let happy thoughts multiply like rabbits.

Some body parts should be floppy.

Keep your paws off other people's jellybeans.

The grass is always greener in someone else's basket.

An Easter bonnet can tame even the wildest hare.

To show your true colors you have to come out of your shell.

The best things in life are still sweet and gooey!

 

A Plus Carrot Cake

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/2 teaspoon allspice
  • 4 eggs
  • 2 cups white sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups vegetable oil
  • 2 cups grated carrots
  • 1 (20 ounce) can crushed pineapple, drained
  • 1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
  • 1 cup chopped walnuts
  • 1 cup raisins

DIRECTIONS

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Coat a 10x15x2 inch baking dish or 10 inch Bundt pan with cooking spray.
  2. In a medium bowl, stir together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg. Set aside. In a separate larger bowl, mix together the eggs, sugar and vanilla by hand. Stir in the oil; the mixture should resemble pudding. Gradually stir in the dry ingredients, then fold in the carrots, pineapple coconut, walnuts and raisins. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and spread evenly.
  3. Bake for 55 to 60 minutes in the preheated oven, or until a small knife inserted into the cake comes out clean.

Note

Feel free to omit the coconut, walnuts, or raisins as your taste buds suit you. However, getting rid of the pineapple will take away from the moisture of the cake.

 

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