Friday, August 1, 2014

Dwelling in Possibility: Emily Dickinson Cookies

I spent last week in Amherst, Massachusetts, enjoying all things Emily Dickinson as part of a National Endowment for the Humanities Landmark Workshop. It was great to immerse myself in poetry and place for a week with other like-minded folk. As part of the workshop, we spent time at Dickinson's house and in the archives examining her manuscripts and things (English teacher fun!).
One of the things I found interesting was Dickinson's own affinity for baking. We saw a poem written on the back of a recipe and another on a the back of a chocolate wrapper, shown below. Amazing.
I bought a cookbook of Dickinson's recipes at the museum gift shop, and can't wait to try out her gingerbread and coconut cake recipes. 

I knew before the weeklong workshop was over that I had to make Emily Dickinson cookies and send them program coordinator. Having been to a lot of workshops as a teacher, this was easily the most organized and well-thought-out program. Invigorating and organizing things for 40 teachers is not an easy task, and I was amazed at how seamlessly the week progressed. 

I found clip art online of Ms. Emily and drew from my own experience in viewing her original pictures to inspire these cookies (shown at top). I also created some plaque cookies with the phrase "dwell in possibility," taken from one of Dickinson's poems.
I used a chevron stencil and silver food color spray to make the background. I like the extra dimension it gives the cookies. 

Here's the poem that inspired these cookies (and the workshop, too!):

I dwell in Possibility –
A fairer House than Prose –
More numerous of Windows –
Superior – for Doors –

Of Chambers as the Cedars –
Impregnable of eye –
And for an everlasting Roof
The Gambrels of the Sky –

Of Visitors – the fairest –
For Occupation – This –
The spreading wide my narrow Hands
To gather Paradise –