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International ”kafferep” with seven types of cookies

LiU Alumni invited international students and alumni to a traditional Swedish “kafferep” or coffee party on Friday 22 March.

Several students took the opportunity to register for the LiU Alumni network. One of them was Martina Zanero from the master’s programme in Business Administration.

“The network is a good way to keep in touch with the university. I didn’t know that you could register before graduation”, she said.

Kafferep with seven types of cookiesThe University Club on Campus Valla had laid a table with the traditional seven types of cookies and the guests helped themselves before sitting down to enjoy the “kafferep”.

Viveka Adelswärd, linguist and Professor Emerita in Communication, had been asked to introduce the kafferep concept. She explained that a typical Swedish kafferep is a very complex ritual surrounded by many rules. It dates back to the 18th century and is mentioned in literature by for instance Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren. When her character Pippi Longstocking is invited to a kafferep, Pippi breaks almost all the rules: from rushing to the table instead of waiting her turn to putting her face in the cake. The other guests are in shock.

“This reminds us that the kafferep is a much regulated social affair”, said Viveka Adelswärd.

She went on to state that it has also been an important social function.

“It was an area where women could meet and exchange information. They were alone and could talk about their lives.”

Viveka AdelswärdThe tradition of serving seven types of cookies at the kafferep is very strongly rooted. “Seven types of cookies”, first published in 1945, is a staple cookbook of Swedish baking and can be found in most homes in Sweden. However, Viveka Adelswärd herself did not own a copy and was glad to receive one in acknowledgement of her speech (photo to the left).

“Remember, what happens during fika or kafferep is important. Many ideas are born during breaks and they are sometimes extremely important for work”, she concluded.

Three winners of the Linköping University quiz which had been handed out were also awarded their own copies of “Seven types of cookies”. Elena Shabrova, Yangzi Wangsun and Jasila Prabahar got all the answers right, from the name of the current Vice-Chancellor to the sport that can be exercised on Isovalen on Campus Valla.

Then came the final part of the kafferep: the “påtår” (refill) and cake.

Maria Karlberg 2013-03-25

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Last updated: 2017-02-13