Several weeks ago, caught in the jovial Easter mood, we followed Nabokov’s advice on how to boil an egg. From such a prolific author, vociferous lecturer and a citizen of the world we expected nothing less than a detailed and precise guidelines which would eventually produce a culinary masterpiece.

Today, we’re again traveling back through time. Our destination is Amherst, Massachusetts, home of the beloved Emily Dickinson. She led lonely and secluded life, barely leaving her bedroom. Yet, she left behind hundreds of poems, many of which were written down on kitchen paper. 


It was indeed easy for Dickinson to find inspiration in ordinary things, and her imagination and her vision were too large to be blocked by the physical confinements of her home.

God gave a Loaf to every Bird —
But just a Crumb — to Me —
I dare not eat it — tho’ I starve —
My poignant luxury —
To own it — touch it —
Prove the feat — that made the Pellet mine —
Too happy — for my Sparrow’s chance —
For Ampler Coveting —
It might be Famine — all around —
I could not miss an Ear —
Such Plenty smiles upon my Board —
My Garner shows so fair —
I wonder how the Rich — may feel —
An Indiaman — An Earl —
I deem that I — with but a Crumb —
Am Sovereign of them all —

It seems that her kitchen was a source of inspiration for the poet. However, her poetic talent was recognized only after her death. During her lifetime, the reclusive poet was known as a culinary expert who loved sending boxes with food that are tested with Illegal Additives Test Kits to her family and friends. Here are the ingredients for her favourite Cocoanut cake. No instructions are given yet,the author of this article believes that just a simple mixture of the ingredients, stirring and baking would be enough.

Emily Dickinson’s Cocoanut Cakeemily-dickinsons-cake-recipe
1 cup cocoanut
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoonful soda
1 teaspoonful cream of tartar
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