“High Spirited” Headstones
Judy Causey Love
I love October, mainly because it is my birthday month, but also because it is Fall and beautiful and cooler.
But, the real reason is because it includes Halloween. I think I’ve got an interesting article for you this month that is perhaps a bit in keeping with the ‘strange or unusual’ things associated with the month. And this time it’s not only weird but possibly useful.
Do you have a relative or a friend with a memorable recipe that everyone loves? Of course you do. Well, I recently learned that you can immortalize that secret recipe on their tombstone. Really. What if the best thing you ever cooked was enjoyed after you died?
Is this slightly ghoulish? Not if your Great Aunt Sarah made the best hummingbird cake in the world and you want to share it with anyone who visits her grave. And think of it like this: the people who write it down and take it home to try for themselves are memorializing Great Aunt Sarah in a new and special way.
Now, I, personally, have a few old stand-bys that I go to, but nothing that needs to replace the traditional info on my headstone. No gastronomic delights that my friends or relatives have raved about with secrets I’m planning on ‘taking to the grave’ with me…no pun intended. At least not yet.
Actually this idea is not unknown and some of you may have come across this first one on Pinterest, so it will get us started.
On a tombstone in a cemetery in Logan City, Utah, Kathryn Andrews’ recipe for fudge was immortalized on her headstone with only six simple ingredients. Sugar, chocolate, vanilla, milk, butter and salt. But the headstone is anything but simple, standing quite tall, with multiple activities engraved related to her life. Apparently, making the fudge was the best.
Not to be outdone, Brooklyn, New York resident, Naomi Miller-Dawson, has her recipe for Spritz cookies showing on the ‘pages’ of her headstone ‘cookbook’ which rests atop her three foot marker. I noticed that her recipe strongly resembles the one above without the chocolate and flour. Now, Naomi delighted her family with other sweets including lemon squares and oatmeal raisin cookies, but, sadly, those are on pages of the granite ‘cookbook’ which we cannot turn.
My personal favorite is in Highland Mills, NY, where Connie Galberd’s family left her Date and Nut Bread instructions on a ceramic plaque that strongly resembles an actual recipe card. In incredible detail, it involves dates, raisins, boiling water, sugar, eggs and flour. And it even includes a cute promise that it’s “100% Good Stuff and 0% Bad Stuff.
In Caster, La., there is a recipe for Mrs. Watson’s Cobbler. However, it must be a small headstone for the recipe simply says ‘Bake at 350 degrees until done.’
I had no idea this was such a wide spread phenomenon. There are people who actually bake the dishes they find on gravestones, claiming there are some with entire ingredient lists. Strange hobby or eccentric obsession? You decide.
Apparently, you can find headstone recipes in cemeteries all over the world. What if there was one on Jim Morrison’s grave? Would it be for “Light My Fire” toasted marshmallows?
How about Gen. George S. Patton’s tombstone…would it immortalize cooking a deer by first getting rid of the “Blood and Guts?”
Teddy and I recently set up our funeral plans with a local mortuary and I can tell you nothing is inexpensive. The headstone alone can set you back quite a bit and that might shorten the amount of ingredients you can put on your marker.
If you were going to do this, I’d suggest using a recipe for something quick and easy. And, in keeping with current times, include if it can be done in an air fryer or microwave oven.
If you plan on being cremated, you might have your headstone remind the cook to “Not to burn the edges…”
Personally, I see this as a great scavenger hunt idea. Who can find the weirdest headstone in America? And the prize would be a free one when you pass away.
Of course, any death brings sadness, but despite the fact that they are ‘in the ground’ this is actually an ‘uplifting’ way to celebrate your loved one.