Newsletter updates!
The Smart Mouth newsletter schedule is changing, as are the paid subscription benefits. The free edition, with articles by freelancers, will now publish three times per month. Once per month, paid subscribers will get an edition written by me. Sometimes it will be something quippy, sometimes it’ll be something long and serious … maybe sometimes it’ll be scenes from the food history-related screenplay I’m writing. (What? I’ve lived in L.A. for 18 years without writing one. If I don’t have it finished in two years, they’ll kick me out.) Also, for a limited time, paid subscribers will receive a merch set.

Free subscription:

  • Articles written by freelancers around the world, three times per month

Paid subscription:

  • Articles written by freelancers around the world, three times per month
  • One article per month by me
  • A Smart Mouth travel mug and travel utensil set

Last note: advertisers! I have an excellent open rate, and I can bundle ads with the podcast and How to Eat L.A. Reply to this newsletter if you’d like to talk.

Below is the type of article you’d receive as a paid subscriber. Hope you enjoy it!

Let Us All Fika

By Katherine Spiers

I just got back from Sweden this week. It was a fairly last-minute trip to a place I’ve never had a particular passion for, despite growing up in Seattle, which has heavy Scandinavian roots. (Turns out Stockholm looks a lot like Seattle, and the people are just as standoffish!)

Anyway, when I was doing my little bit of research for the trip, I came across a concept called fika. Fika is a meal, it’s a time, it’s a concept. It’s a noun and a verb. It’s a coffee break, but it’s both stricter and more informal than what Americans think of as a coffee break. At work, you don’t work through a coffee break – you have a fika, so you step away from your desk to drink coffee and have a snack. The snack seems important. And apparently it’s considered a little weird if you decline to participate. But you can fika away from the office, too – even just having a little pastry by yourself counts. (Swedish pastries are amazing.) Apparently it’s a popular first date option too, which makes sense to me.

So, Swedes are pretty coffee-focused, it’s safe to say.

Coffee first showed up in Sweden in the 1680s. Like in many other places, it was first considered medicine. Then it slid over to groceries. Then coffee houses started to appear – and, cool little note, about 20% of the coffee houses were owned by women in Sweden in the 1700s. It could be sold in other places too: I came across an interesting story of a butter shop that actually sold coffee to-go, in jugs that were lined up on a bar. Everything’s been done before!

Swedes really loved coffee. And their obsession with it actually led to the government banning both the importation and consumption of coffee five times between 1756 and 1817.

Read the article here:

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