"I am going to learn to make bread to-morrow. So you may imagine me with my sleeves rolled up, mixing flour, milk, salaratus, etc., with a great deal of grace. I advise you if you don’t know how to make the staff of life to learn with dispatch.”
Emily Dickinson to Abiah Root, September 25, 1845
For Emily Dickinson sharing food was a way of strengthening the bonds of love. “Love’s oven,” she wrote in a note accompanying a parcel with her delicious treats, “is warm." She saw the marvellous in the power of making bread, which she named "the staff of life." She spoke of twin loaves of bread with biblic words, describing them as "the glory" and her gingerbread as "trimphant." Baking in the kitchen was associated with her literary life. The kitchen was for her the space of a creative ferment and many drafts of her poems written on kitchen papers have since been collected. A poem (The Things that never can come back, are several) drafted on the back of "Mrs. Carmichael’s recipe for coconut cake" shows her meditating on loss while she was busy with the making of delicate bakings. She often sent gifts of food with a poem and she was well aware that her food was mostly better welcomed than her elusive verses.
Today, I would like to share with my dear readers Emily Dichinson's ferment of life. Thank you for your visits and comments. Let me wish you a very happy end of the year and tell you that everyone of your messages is a feast for me.
Here is Emily Dickinson's Gingerbread recipe as transcribed from her original manuscript.
1 quart flour
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup cream
1 tablespoon ginger
1 teaspoon soda
1 teaspoon salt
Make up with molasses
To know more about how to make it yourself view Emily Dickinson's archives here and here. To get the most beautiful inspiration to style your food gifts, I strongly recommend to browse Dietlind Wolf's blog.