Emily Dickinson’s secret love: baking

In addition to writing expansive poetry, Emily Dickinson had a passion for baking, says MHC English professor Christopher Benfey.

Emily Dickinson, class of 1849, is renowned for her poetry today. But during her lifetime she was probably better known for her black cake and gingerbread.

Dickinson’s  passion for baking was the subject of a recent interview with Christopher Benfey, Andrew W. Mellon Professor of English at Mount Holyoke College, and an expert on the poet. Benfey was interviewed for a Kitchen Sisters story that aired on National Public Radio's Morning Edition.

“In the kitchen, in the bedroom, these secret spaces where she could be alone or with her own select society, that really was freedom,” Benfey said in the interview. “When Emily Dickinson bakes bread, there's something almost ecstatic about it, satisfaction of creativity.”

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