How to Eat Like Your Favorite Authors

Emily Dickinson’s Coconut Cake

Though Emily Dickinson was a famous recluse who rarely left the house, she loved to bake, and would often lower a basket full of her homemade sweets to the neighborhood children waiting in the street below, a touching brush with community through food. According to Dickinson critic Vivian Pollak, “slightly more than 10 percent of Dickinson’s poems employ images of food and drink,” a clear sign that the poet loved to cook (or at least to eat). The following recipe for coconut cake even inspired its own poem — penned directly on the back of the paper.

1 cup coconut
2 cups flour
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup milk
2 eggs
1/2 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon cream of tartar

[See Dickinson’s original handwritten recipe and read suggestions for assembly at NPR]