It is quite unusual, but while walking through cemeteries in the United States, you sometimes come across funny tombstones: instead of praising the life of the deceased, you can read a cooking recipe there. Is the recipe engraved in stone the one that the buried person prefers, or is the recipe they made for their friends or family? Most of the time, details are missing. Sometimes, only the ingredients are listed, but not the procedure. These traces of life Rosie Grant, a 33-year-old American, made a specialty by discovering them before cooking and posting the result on her TikTok account (ghostlyarchive).
Spritz cookie recipe
During the Covid-19 pandemic, the 30-year-old, who was completing her studies as a librarian at the University of Maryland and doing an internship in the cemetery archives at the same time, began cooking these recipes. In June 2021, she created a TikTok account for a university project where she talked about her internship at the cemetery. “It was a little weird but it was cool, I’ve never spent much time in cemeteries before but it was interesting to see how they work, how people are buried, and the like,” Says Release.
From Washington, where you next reside, post tombstones and gravestones that you find interesting. Until I discovered the first recipe for Spritz cookies on one. “Sometimes a tombstone mentions what a person likes in life, but this was just a list of ingredients. I’ve never cooked much before. I’m more of a sandwich type!” She laughs. But since we were home the whole time, I walked in and thought it was a chance to try and cook his cookies.
On TikTok, success is instant, even if you fail to cook it right the first time. People were commenting, advising me to cook it for ten minutes, for example. I even ended up buying the mold to give them the right shape,” I smiled. And quickly, Internet users send him other photos of graves, all over the country, but also in Israel. “Most of the time these are relatively recent tombs – the oldest dates are from the 90s – and the recipes are pies, with blueberries, for example, cakes…so it’s easier to find the ingredients than if they were 19th-century tombs, Rosie Grant details. But sometimes the instructions are not accurate. There was a dessert recipe on the grave that said “Cook it until it looks like a softball, but what does that mean?.
Spotted by Buzzfeed or by the Kelly Clarkson Show, his account interests have surpassed 100,000 subscribers. This made it possible to create a kind of community around this unique hobby.. “One time I couldn’t find an ingredient and a subscriber sent it to me from New York, Rosie Grant laughs. Again, after a Buzzfeed article, a woman wrote to me saying her mom had a recipe on her grave and thought it was the only dingo that made it! It moved her, that others had the same idea, that her mother was part of something. She sent me a recipe for a cheese dip and we talked a lot.
“Connecting to the Past”
Sometimes Rosie visits the cemeteries herself, which she finds on Google thanks to Twitter (“A man who lived in Washington, for example, posted that his mother, buried in Louisiana, had a recipe for peach pie on her grave,” explain) or the local press. She was already in New York or Utah. Next destinations: San Francisco and Seattle, for cookie recipes. “It also happens that I have been contacted by the family but I would not necessarily dare to call them myself, especially since our obituaries are often online, so I found out like that. In the future, I would very much like to get to know the people whose recipes I cook better »she explained.
Cooking to keep the dead alive is ultimately part of what we all do, when we prepare a recipe inherited from a great-grandmother or great-uncle. Rosie Grant brings strangers to life. “I think it’s a good connection to the past.she said again. In the United States, we have the “positive death” movement, which means not celebrating death as a holiday, but accepting it as a part of life.. Cemeteries are quiet places to walk…I think it’s more correct for a cemetery to stay in touch with the community.”
If you discover a recipe on a grave, you can send it to Rosie Grant via her Instagram messenger: https://www.instagram.com/ghostly.archive/?hl=ar