Last week was a big week in the world of Emmett Lee Dickinson (Emily Dickinson’s third cousin, twice removed – at her request): Wednesday was National Margarita Day and Friday was National Tortilla Corn Chip Day.
Emmett Lee Dickinson, a certified mixologist from Harvard Junior College, invented the margarita – originally called the Lime Plantation Punch and later changed to margarita – and he tried to get congress to set May as National Margarita Month. Ultimately congress voted February 22nd as “National Margarita Day” in honor of Margarita Seward, the sister of President Lincoln's Secretary of State William Seward.
It was Margarita Seward who first proposed the idea that the United States should purchase Alaska from Russia, and Margarita played a pivotal role in “wining and dining” Russian Ambassador Аркадий (Arkady) Popov and getting him to sign the papers sealing the deal. Of course, instead of “wining” him with wine, she served Dickinson’s latest sensation, the Lime Plantation Punch, later changed to margarita in honor of Ms. Seward.
Pictured below left to right: Margarita Seward, sister of Secretary of State William Seward; Russian Ambassador Аркадий (Arkady) Popov; Seward and Popov together on the very night Seward juiced Popov up with Emmett Lee Dickinson's latest drink sensation, the Lime Plantation Punch.
National Tortilla Chip Day, a day set aside for the crunchy snack loved by millions across the nation, is observed annually on February 24th, the very day that Emily Dickinson invented the recipe for Cajun Nachos. Emmett Lee Dickinson took her idea one step further: he invented the all-you-can-eat nacho bar (first introduced on a river boat on the Monongahela River). More information about the Dickinson-nacho connection can be found HERE (scroll down to the entry dated November 5).
Emily Dickinson was inspired to create her recipe for nachos because of Emmett Lee Dickinson’s now-classic poem, “They were given to us by the Gods” (below on the left). Dickinson’s poem also inspired third cousin Emily to pen her poem, “It was given to me by the Gods” (below on the right).
By Emmett Lee Dickinson:
They were given to us by the Gods –
Tortilla chips made of Corn –
They give us Baskets most – you know –
When we sit down – to dine.
I hold one in my Hand –
Afraid to put it down –
For if I dare to dip – and eat –
I fear they will be gone –
I hear such words as “Yum” –
Hungering for our meal –
From lips of diners with the Chips –
All given with a smile.
Rich! ‘Tis Myself – is rich –
To eat the chips of Gold –
And Gold to own – Tortilla Chips –
With Queso – made so bold –
By Emily Dickinson:
It was given to me by the Gods –
When I was a little Girl –
They given us Presents most – you know –
When we are new – and small.
I kept it in my Hand –
I never put it down –
I did not dare to eat – or sleep –
For fear it would be gone –
I heard such words as "Rich" –
When hurrying to school –
From lips at Corners of the Streets –
And wrestled with a smile.
Rich! 'Twas Myself – was rich –
To take the name of Gold –
And Gold to own – in solid Bars –
The Difference – made me bold –