Grave Delights: Student Cooks Up Recipes Found on Tombstones

[TikTok, @GhostlyArchive]

Sometimes you find incredible recipes in the weirdest places, inside a library book or on an index card left from the previous home’s owner. But for Rosie Grant, a library studies student at the University of Maryland, she finds them on tombstones. Grant told “Today” that a recipe for spritz cookies etched into the gravestone of a woman named Naomi Odessa Miller-Dawson, “who has been buried at Greenwood Cemetery in Brooklyn, New York since she died in 2008 at 79” inspired her to begin a TikTok page in which she tries recipes left on gravestones. 

She said, “I think the spritz cookie is my favorite one to make. They’re very pretty. They’re these cute little butter cookies.”

Grant stated that during a class she took, she was tasked with creating a social media account to learn firsthand how networks work. “At the same time, [she] was interning in the archives of the Congressional Cemetery in the district, eternal home to such historic figures as J. Edgar Hoover, John Philip Sousa and a whole lot of senators.” Combining her daily activities led to the creation of @ghostlyarchive, which has recently taken off. 

Epoch Times has the cool story: A student from Los Angeles, who was tasked with creating a social media account from scratch, decided to mix two of her interests into one unlikely video series: cooking and cemeteries. She first found a recipe on a gravestone and baked it, and then another. Before long, recreating people’s favorite recipes, which are inscribed on their graves, became a beautiful way to share their memories.

Rosie Grant is a digital librarian in Los Angeles, California. As a library science student at the University of Maryland in 2021, she decided to start a TikTok account about cemeteries to fulfill a class assignment. During this time, Grant was also interning at a cemetery as a part of her field study for the master’s program.

So when she found her first recipe, written on the gravestone of Naomi Miller Dawson in Brooklyn, New York, she decided to give it a try.

“It wasn’t just that she liked cookies, it was the actual recipe,” Grant told The Epoch Times. “I think it’s beautiful. When you think of an old gravestone with just a name or a deed, and a quote or a symbol or something, it doesn’t say a whole lot about the person. A recipe says so much, and it’s such a gift to other people. It’s a way that you can continue sharing a memory of someone.”

She recently participated in a “60 Second Documentary” about her project: 

Loren Rhoads, a lecturer on cemetery history and the author of “Death’s Garden Revisited,” told The Washington Post that gravestone recipes are pretty uncommon.

She continued: “In all the cemeteries I’ve seen, I’ve never seen a gravestone with a recipe on it,” said Rhoads, adding that she’s visited “hundreds of graveyards.”

It’s a charming concept, especially since, Rhoads added, “in the Victorian era, sometimes women didn’t even get their own names on their gravestone. Seeing women reclaim this now, or seeing families reclaim this for their matriarch, I think it’s really cool.”

Grant agrees. She believes in the connection between food and death, adding that when she make old recipes given to her by her grandparents who recently passed away it brings her closer to them by helping her remember her love for them.

“Food is this weird entryway to talking about harder topics like death. We don’t want to think about our own mortality, but through talking about food and memorializing, it’s a little more palatable. I am extremely uncomfortable with death. This whole process has been a way for me to grapple with these harder topics.”

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