Good Day,
Some years ago,  I found this poem written by Emily Dickinson sitting on a pin board in the waiting room of a holistic practitioner. I was passing the time checking stuff out and my eye was caught by the picture of the little girl on the swing.

I read the poem and was very touched by the sentiment. And then, I did a bad thing. I unpinned the poem, slipped it into my purse and brought it home to put on my refrigerator. It has been there all this time and is held in place with a handmade magnet that came from my mom’s home.

Here I am, all these years later, still affected by the words of compassion for those in pain, those needing help. So as I was passing the fridge, I re-read the poem, as I often do, and decided to do a search on Emily Dickinson. Her mention of the robin made me wonder what her personal connection to non-human animals was.

Well to my surprise, I discovered that this well known American poet was born (same month and date as  mine-go figure!) in the mid nineteenth century and was, of all things, a vegetarian.  One of her recipes that has survived to this day is her Cocoanut Cake.

Original recipe in her own handwriting!

Now, vegetarian does not necessarily mean no non human animal products. In fact, The Vegetarian Society defines a vegetarian as: “Someone who lives on a diet of grains, pulses, nuts, seeds, vegetables and fruits with, or without, the use of dairy products and eggs. A vegetarian does not eat any meat, poultry, game, fish, shellfish* or by-products of slaughter.”
So, judging by the ingredients in the  recipe written in Emily’s own hand, she was a vegetarian who did indeed eat eggs and dairy. Was she forward thinking for her time? I am not sure, but I am guessing yes.
So, I started thinking, perhaps I could make some substitutions and make this cake cruelty free. It worked out quite well, I think. I did several simple things.
I used vegan butter instead of dairy butter, almond milk instead of cow’s milk, and Egg Replacer instead of eggs.
This is the result.
More like a tea bread than cake.
But very tasty, I must say.
Stay tuned to my next post for my handy tips  on this recipe as well as  the  how to:
Grammie Annie’s Vegan View
I am always hopeful that inspiration will come knocking at my door. Today, as many years ago, I take inspiration from Emily Dickinson and the strength of her convictions.
 Dr. Wayne Dyer would say that the universe had a plan and that I was meant to find and be touched by Dickinson’s poem and to revisit it and be inspired by it again as a vegan.
Life cannot be just about random happenings, I think. So, who knows?
Until next time,
May all beings be happy and free


  • February 8, 2014 at 3:03 pm

    This cake or tea bread is very delicious, if I can say so myself. I ate the rest of it this morning.
    I agree with Anne, it does not take much to help other people.

    • April 27, 2016 at 11:32 am

      Hi Giovanni,
      Thank you for the clarification. I did a little further research and any mention of Emily Dickinson being vegetarian seems to be purely anecdotal.
      Take care,


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