The old saying goes that necessity is the mother of invention, and often, that necessity is a mother’s need to care for her child.
📍1824-1923 born in Gränna Sweden.
Orphaned at age 10, by a cholera outbreak, Amalia took work as a maid to support herself. When the family she worked for moved to Gränna, she went with them.
❤️ There she met Anders Eriksson, a tailor. They fell in love and married, commencing Amalia’s happiest year. The union was blessed in the first year with the promise of children.
🍵 Amalia was pregnant with twins, but only one daughter survived. Her husband died of dysentery within a few weeks of little Ida’s birth, and Amalia is once again alone, and with a child to raise. Widowed and impoverished at age 35 … baby Ida fell ill soon after and Amalia was unable to afford medicine from a druggist. Desperate to relieve her daughter’s sickness, she blended peppermint oil, vinegar, and sugar, along with other ingredients, into what she hoped would be a health-restoring concoction. Although Eriksson’s creation, which she dubbed “polkagris,” did not prove to have medicinal value, its taste was a big hit with little Ida and, eventually, with children all over Sweden.
🌿 Her store was visited by the Swedish royals, Prince Carl and Princess Ingeborg. Amelia continued making her candy until she died at 99, and only on her death bed would she divulge her secret recipe to Ida, who continued the business until 1945.
Amalia is the grandma – mormor in Swedish – we might all want, so we call her tea MorMor Peppermint – fresh mint combined with chocolate tea for a decadent cup, far better than an after dinner mint, and delicious iced or hot.
Although women were not permitted to own businesses in Eriksson’s hometown of Gränna, she petitioned the town council and won an exception. Polkagris and the confectionery she established remain beloved icons of Swedish ingenuity and business acumen.