Woman cooking recipes engraved on gravestones says they’re all ‘to die for’

Oct 27, 2022, 5:45 AM | Updated: 5:52 am

Photo courtesy of Rosie Grant...

Photo courtesy of Rosie Grant

You know that recipe your family requests at every holiday, potluck and birthday party? The one you’re famous for? What if you had it engraved on your tombstone? Some folks have done just that.

“I came across the first gravestone recipe, which was the grave of Naomi Miller Dawson in Brooklyn, New York,” said Rosie Grant, known on Instagram and TikTok as Ghostly Archive. “It was the ingredients to this spritz cookie that was a personal recipe for her.”

More from Rachel Belle: Seattle’s year-round cold water swimmers say the practice is mood lifting and life changing

Earlier this year, Grant started making recipes engraved on gravestones and sharing them on social media. In the case of the spritz cookie, only the ingredients were engraved, not the instructions.

“I definitely made a lot of mistakes,” Grant laughed. “I’d never heard of a spritz cookie before.”

Even when the instructions are listed, like in the case of a fudge recipe, it can still be a challenge.

“At one point on the gravestone it says ‘cook to the softball stage,'” said Grant. “I thought that meant, like, cook it to the consistency of a softball. I guess I’ll make it really tough. I don’t know what that means.”

So far, Grant has tracked down 11 gravestone recipes, mostly in the US, but there are two in Israel and one that’s cemetery adjacent.

“There’s this woman, she’s buried in Texas, and her grave says she made the best meatloaf,” said Grant. “The cemetery actually sent me her meatloaf recipe. The cemetery keeps that recipe on hand in their archives, which is so cool.”

She says all but one of the recipes are desserts and they’re all from elderly women who passed away over the last 30 years.

The project started when Grant was a library science student at the University of Maryland.

“We had to do an internship so I ended up interning at a cemetery in their digital archives area,” said Grant.

That’s when she ran across the spritz cookie recipe. Grant has since visited a few of the graves, and she always makes the dish and brings it along. Her goal is to visit all 11.

“I just got plane tickets to go to Seattle,” said Grant. “There’s one that’s like an hour south of Seattle that I’m hoping to visit around Thanksgiving. That recipe is so good, it’s a glazed blueberry pie. I’m excited to go visit that one.”

Grant has gotten a few messages from folks who think the project is inappropriate, but she’s been contacted by some of the families and they are thrilled that their relative is being remembered for the dish they were best known for. She says these recipes make it easier for people to talk about death.

“It’s a really lovely way to think about celebration rather than this really sad, horrible thing that will happen someday,” said Grant.

As for what she’d have engraved on her tombstone?

“This is my family’s favorite conversation right now,” said Grant. “I’m torn between my favorite mac and cheese recipe or I love clam pasta. Hopefully, I have a little bit of time to decide between the two of those.”

At the end of all her TikTok videos, Grant signs off by saying the recipe is “To die for.”

Listen to Rachel Belle’s James Beard Award nominated podcast, “Your Last Meal.” Follow @yourlastmealpodcast on Instagram!

Rachel Belle

Rachel Belle...

Rachel Belle

Belle: This isn’t goodbye, it’s see you later

After 20 years in news radio, I'm leaving my post at KIRO Newsradio to focus on making my podcast "Your Last Meal" full-time!

2 years ago

emily post etiquette...

Rachel Belle

Emily Post’s “Etiquette” goes modern: Advice on pronouns, hugging

In 1922, Emily Post published her very first etiquette book. Since then, 18 editions have been published by five generations of Posts.

2 years ago


Rachel Belle

Combat winter blues with friluftsliv, the Nordic tradition of being outside

Friluftsliv is part of the culture in Sweden, Norway, Finland, Iceland and Denmark, places that are darker and colder than Seattle in winter.

2 years ago

small talk...

Rachel Belle

Most Americans hate small talk, but Seattleites continue talking about weather

Out of 1,000 people surveyed, 71% said they prefer silence to small talk and 89% of Gen Z use their phones to avoid making small talk.

2 years ago

(Igordoon Primus/Unsplash)...

Rachel Belle

Seattle sperm bank in desperate need of Black donors

Only 2% of American sperm donors are Black men, which is causing a lot of heartache for women specifically looking for a Black donor. 

2 years ago

cold water...

Rachel Belle

Seattle’s year-round cold water swimmers say the practice is mood lifting and life changing

The latest health trend? Cold water swimming and cold plunging into icy baths, with devotees swearing by the health benefits. 

2 years ago

Woman cooking recipes engraved on gravestones says they’re all ‘to die for’