“There are no instructions so I’m guessing a lot / if a sugar cookie and a shortbread cookie had a baby / they’re to die for,” she said.
Rosie Grant, a digital librarian, found something unique on gravestones - recipes to make cookies, fudge, and many more things. “I think the spritz cookie is my favorite one to make,” Grant told TODAY Food. “They’re very pretty. They’re these cute little butter cookies," Grant said. The video she made about the spritz cookies went viral. The caption read, "I'm going to start making recipes from gravestones". The video received more than 1.3 million views. The gravestone is of a woman named Naomi Odessa Miller Dawson, who was buried at Greenwood Cemetry in Brooklyn, New York, in 2008. The recipe only included seven ingredients and left no instructions, temperature, or time in the oven, but Grant loved the idea of it.
She came across this gravestone when she was studying library science at the University of Maryland, at the same time she was interning in the archives of the Congressional Cemetry in the district, home to historical figures like J.Edgar Hoover, John Philip Sousa, and many others. One of her professors suggested her to combine two parts of her studies, which made her a lot more interested in the subjects. She created a social media account in which she posted videos about her internship and also cemetery facts, like on cenotaphs. She also shared lighthearted clips which contained cemetery puns.
While posting these videos, she came across Miller Dawson's spritz cookie recipe in her research and made a recipe out of it. “There are no instructions so I’m guessing a lot / if a sugar cookie and a shortbread cookie had a baby / they’re to die for.” She says that she is new to the baking scene. “I didn’t know what a spritz cookie was at first, so I cooked it kind of like a sugar cookie,” said Grant, adding that commenters asked her to invest in a spritz press.
“People were recommending different ways to make the cookies, so I read through all the comments to understand how to make the cookies correctly and made it again and again,” she said. She soon realized that the recipe on a gravestone is not a one-off thing. She found the gravestone of Kay Andrews which has her fudge recipe engraved on a tablet.
Grant said that there are many recipes like these. “Just a few weeks ago, a woman reached out and her mother has a savory cheese dip recipe on her gravestone, which is so good,” Grant said, adding that she cooked it once and her followers told her that she had done it incorrectly. “I’ve gotten the ingredients to do it again, which is all part of learning how to cook,” she said.
Grant has already made "12 or 13" recipes. “People will comment what they would want to put on their gravestone if they had to pick a recipe, or some people say things like, ‘Oh, snickerdoodles, my mom made it this way.’ And so there’s just this whole nostalgic connection, which has been really cool,” Grant said.
Grant feels that the connection between food is just like life and death. “When we’re in mourning, food is very comforting to us,” said Grant. “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,” she added.
Cover Image Source: Instagram/ ghostly.archive