Gravestone Recipes  

Remember the episode of Friends when Phoebe loses her grandma’s cookie recipe? Losing a loved one is always difficult, but it can be even harder when they cooked a special meal for us that we won’t be able to enjoy anymore. Even worse is if they never wrote the recipe down before passing. Food makes a lasting impression on our memories, and could be a great way to remember someone who is no longer with us. According to The Washington Post, 430 obituaries published in American newspapers and online obituary sites between March of 2020 and October 2021 mentioned casseroles. Not only that, but the number of obituaries on that referred to casseroles increased by 43%. Not all great cooks take their recipes to the grave. There is a trend of people taking their recipes to the grave, but leaving it for all who visit their resting place, in the form of a tombstone etching. Rosie Grant, a user on TikTok, has been sharing her journey on compiling recipes from grave yards and preparing the dishes. Grant, who is studying to be an archivist at the University of Maryland, began the hobby during the pandemic. Originally, she was just sharing cemetery facts, which evolved to also include lighthearted posts and post of fun facts, such as the link between beekeeping and graveyards. It was during this time that she came across a recipe for spritz cookies and decided to make it on her TikTok. This first recipe only included the required ingredients, so it took a few attempts (and help from her followers) to get the recipe right. She told The Guardian, “As I made more of the recipes and got more feedback from everyone, I began to understand how important cooking is for people and for family histories.” Interestingly, most of the recipes that Grant has found left behind are for sweet dessert. The odds of her finding many more is pretty slim though. According to Douglas Keister, author of “Stories in the Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography,” recipes on gravestones is a recent development in the history of cemetery iconography. Grant isn’t the only one documenting the recipes. Allison Meier, along with two friends, self-published a cookbook of gravestone recipes called “Cooking with the Dead.” The travel website, Atlas Obscura, has also started to compile some of these recipes. Family members of the recipe’s authors have enjoyed seeing new people enjoy these family favorites. Seeing others enjoy these recipes makes it easier to remember good times rather than just the last time. And what a gift, to help new families make special memories. Grant doesn’t think that it’s surprising that her content has found an audience, since food and loss are just as connected as life and death. She goes on to explain, “When we’re in mourning, food is very comforting to us. These recipes feel like a more tactile, all-senses-included way to remember someone rather than only using your memory. But when you’re eating grandma’s special cake or cookie or whatever it is, you feel a little bit more connected to her.” Do you have a special family recipe that you would leave for future generations? Let us know on our Facebook page.

Recent Posts