In these edgy, uncertain times, there’s something to be said for finding and following a recipe and the temporary distraction that it provides—measuring, stirring, baking or cooking—and the satisfaction derived from the results. Remember all the bread baking and comfort food making that was going on in the early stages of COVID-19 isolation?
Recently, I happened across an article about a woman named Rosie Grant who is studying to be an archivist. While taking daily walks in a local cemetery during the lockdown, she became interested in finding recipes on gravestones. She’s prepares the recipes she finds and has enjoyed researching the lives of the women who left them. Perhaps these women shared their favorites to maintain a connection with their families and keep their spirit alive. Rosie posts her findings to her TikTok account (ghostly archive). Her personal favorite so far is a recipe for Spritz cookies left by Naomi Odessa Miller-Dawson of Brooklyn, New York who died in 2009 at age 87. According to Rosie, this was a family recipe that Naomi never shared while she was alive. Rosie made the cookies and enjoyed them by Naomi’s gravestone.
This topic reminded me of a local court case many years ago involving a woman who was killed by a man hired by her husband. Her purse and its contents were admitted into evidence during the trial. A grocery store receipt helped pinpoint the time of her death. Also in her purse, was a recipe for “beer muffins” handwritten on a scrap of paper. I’d imagined her scribbling it down, perhaps while sitting in a waiting room somewhere, leafing through a magazine. I’ve done this myself in the days before cell phones with cameras. I copied and tried the recipe she likely never had the chance to make.
On a lighter note, I’ll happily share my grandmother Leona’s recipe for turkey dressing. She was known for her sense of humor. I still have the original recipe card my grandfather typed for her on his old Remington typewriter.
4 c. bread crumbs
2 onions, chopped
1 c. popcorn, unpopped
1 c. water
1 tbsp. salt
1 tbsp. pepper
1 tbsp. sage
Bake at 350 degrees. It will be done when the popcorn blows the ass off the turkey.