- Rosie Grant is a digital librarian who makes gravestone recipes for her TikTok, @GhostlyArchive.
- Grant’s interest in tombstone recipes began with an internship at the Congressional Cemetery.
- One of Grant’s re-creations went viral in January, sparking a niche hobby for the librarian.
When Rosie Grant came across a recipe for spritz cookies etched into a woman’s headstone in January, she had the idea to take the recipe beyond the grave and share it on a TikTok account she made for class.
Grant, who is now 32 and lives in Los Angeles, was pursuing a graduate degree in library sciences at the University of Maryland at the time. While in school, she also worked as a digital archives intern at the Historic Congressional Cemetery in Washington, DC, where she researched and digitized information about the people buried there.
For a course on social networks, Grant was asked to create a social media account for a class assignment. Grant chose TikTok, she said, and her professor suggested she make her page about her internship.
“I was like ‘I don’t know if that’s a thing, I don’t know if there’s an audience for that,'” Grant told Insider, speaking of TikToks about graveyards. Grant said she quickly found there’s a huge appetite for content about cemeteries on the platform; as of Monday, the hashtags #GraveTok and #CemeteryTikTok have over 815 million views and over 74 million views, respectively.
Now, Grant has 110,000 followers on TikTok, where the videos on her page @GhostlyArchive have accumulated over 4.7 million likes collectively as of Monday.
It all began with a recipe for spritz cookies
While researching unique gravestones to feature on her TikTok account, Grant came across Naomi Miller-Dawson’s epitaph in Brooklyn, New York. The recipe for spritz cookies etched into a cookbook-style slab on top of the grave caught her eye.
After coming across the recipe, Grant said she knew she had to make the cookies herself and documented the process in a now-viral TikTok. As of Monday, it has over 1.4 million views — and led her to discover an unconventional hobby: re-creating recipes that she finds on tombstones.
In the video — which she shared on January 10 — Grant promised she was “going to start making recipes from gravestones.” While making Miller-Dawson’s spritz cookies, Grant said there weren’t directions so she had to guess “a lot” along the way, and described the treat as a mix between a shortbread and sugar cookie, adding they were “to die for.”
The comments section lit up with tips and tricks for the recipe, and eventually, Grant told Insider she was able to perfect the spritz cookie with a cookie press. Grant remade the recipe in July and visited Miller-Dawson’s Brooklyn grave to savor the moment with the deceased.
Prior to making the recipe from Miller-Dawson’s headstone, Grant’s TikToks highlighted interesting graves and facts about the people buried there.
She believes the gravestone recipes that are left behind are an ode to family, hosting, and celebrating life. So far, she said, all the recipes she’s come across have belonged to women.
“In the case of Naomi Miller-Dawson, this was the recipe that she would make for family gatherings but would not give anyone,” Grant told Insider, speaking of what she learned through her own research. “Literally on her deathbed her daughter came up with the idea of like, ‘Hey let’s put your spritz cookie recipe on the gravestone,’ so she basically took it to the grave.”
Then, Grant became fascinated by gravestone recipes
Since learning about Miller-Dawson’s story, Grant has been on a mission to find more gravestone recipes and bring as many of them to life as possible.
Miller-Dawson’s spritz cookies became the start of Grant’s “Gravestone Recipes” TikTok series, where Grant has re-created 10 other recipes for treats like fudge and cheese dip.
In August, Grant flew out to Utah to re-create Kay Andrews’ gravestone fudge recipe, she told Insider. On her epitaph, below the recipe, it read, “Wherever she goes, there’s laughter,” as shown in the TikTok she posted. Grant’s video has over 22,000 views as of Monday. In October, Grant shared in a TikTok that she’d never been able to make the recipe correctly, as “it’s always very liquidy,” and asked her viewers for help.
TikTok users in the comments suggested using bakers chocolate squares rather than regular squares of chocolates and buying a candy thermometer to make sure Grant knows when it’s done baking. Grant told Insider the comments are really helpful when it comes to getting the gravestone recipes just right.
Grant says her next recipe is a holiday favorite.
“There’s a blueberry pie a little south of Seattle so I’m going to go visit that one around Thanksgiving,” she said. Grant added that she likes to make each graveyard recipe while traveling and try the final product at the person’s grave as a “cheers” or “thank you” to the deceased.
Grant says she’s learned a lot from her hobby
In researching the recipes, and through the work she has done for her Congressional Cemetery internship, Grant said she’s learned a lot about death and how humans care to be remembered.
Grant attributes her outlook to the “death positive community,” which she explained as the belief that society is “better off” if people start to “accept and think about mortality.”
The librarian says her TikTok content has made it easier for her to talk about death with loved ones. She hopes that her viewers can say the same.
“‘How do I wanna be celebrated? How do I want my loved ones to be memorialized?’ I’m starting to have these conversations with family members,” she said.
As far as Grant’s own recipe she wants to leave behind, she told Insider she “would definitely want to do a savory one.” At the moment, it’s between mac and cheese or clam linguine.