Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Pop Foto, 1977: Become a real pepparkakor baker with ABBA

There's a lot of cheering and shrieking coming from the enormous kitchen. Cautiously, ABBA's Agnetha is trying the door handle. It's locked. The shrieking turns into a joyful, two-voiced burst of laughter and on the other side the door is being unlocked. "Do come in," it sounds in a strangled voice. We push the door open and we are looking at the biggest ABBA mess ever!

Grinning sheepishly and covered in white flour, the male half of Europe's most popular pop group is standing behind a large quantity of cake dough. Behind us, the female half of ABBA is bursting with laughter. "What's this?" we ask tongue-tied and bewildered. "We are baking pepparkakor," Benny and Björn proudly declare. "Pepparwhat?" "Pepparkakor," Anni-Frid - still chuckling - comes to the rescue. "Some kind of cookies that are being served with our Gluhwein here in Sweden. Normally these cookies are a real treat. But yesterday Benny was bragging that he had learned a very special pepparkakor recipe from his mother. Well, then Anna and I said: 'Just prove what you can do'. And this mess is the result!"
Cautiously we all look at the work of the pepparkakor master chefs. A little guitar, no surprise there, a little puppet with a bow in her hair and some troll-like creature. "Not bad," is what we think, "but you surely can't eat it like this?" Frida again comes to the rescue: "No, they have to go into the oven first. But if they've treated the cake dough properly, that shouldn't be a problem..."

She isn't able to elaborate any further because the men are pushing us out of their domain. They are going to bake now. When we look over our shoulder we see that Benny and Björn are rolling out the next piece of cake flour... We are very curious, and at the same time anxious. Just imagine that they don't succeed and we will still have to eat these cookies with a broad smile on our faces? But thirty minutes later it turns out that we have been worried in vain. Surrounded by a delicious smell the two chefs solemnly walk into the room, with a dish of cookies! And when we finally put our teeth into those (carefully at first), it's hard to catch our breath. This is really delicious. The puppets and the little guitar have miraculously remained intact in the oven. Only the real cookies, small and shaped like all kinds of flowers and stars, are eaten. The puppets are for Linda, Agnetha's little girl, and it turns out that ABBA has a surprise in store for us as well. Because when our craving for candy has been fully satisfied, Benny brings out a tattered piece of paper. "Here, this is the recipe. You can have it for your readers," he says, leaving us speechless for the next fifteen minutes. "I hope they will have as much fun preparing these genuine Swedish cookies as Björn and me!"
We went to a lot of trouble translating the recipe from Swedish and it's printed here for you. Good luck with it.

10 comments:

Angela said...

Nice story of the two masterchefs I wonder who cleaned the kitchen after.

Anonymous said...

Very nice I love singing cooks! Which nice Dutch could translates this recipe into German?
Henriette v.D.

Karin said...

I remember this article so well. It is actually in my scrapbook. It is so funny! That is where probably my love for Sweden and pepparkakor started. Thankfully they can be bought at IKEA nowadays. To anonymous: if you want to have the recipe in German, I guess you can type pepparkakor in the German google and I am sure you will a recipe. Good luck with the cookies!

Monica said...

What a fun little story. I can just imagine the mess in the kitchen!!

Chris said...

This all just seems a bit too goofy to be true. I think the photos of the boys are from Christmas 1972, when a Swedish mag did a photo spread of the group at home.

Anonymous said...

Thank`s Karin but I thought his mother made a special kind of this?
greetings from Henriette

Michel said...

Indeed, the pictures are from a Christmas photo session in 1972 at Björn and Agnetha's home. No other magazine could make up stories like this like Pop Foto. How could these puppet cookies be for little daughter Linda when she wasn't even born at the time. ; )

Monica said...

But Michel your title to the article says 1977? :o)

Michel said...

Yes Monica, the article was printed in this magazine in 1977, but they used old pictures and made up this story around them.

Monica said...

Okay Michel thanks for the information.