JMU English alum, librarian, gravestone recipe baker, and TikTok star, Rosie Grant.


by Angela M. Carter


SUMMARY: An interview with JMU English alum, librarian, gravestone recipe baker, and TikTok star, Rosie Grant.

What inspired you to start baking recipes found on gravestones?

This started while in grad school last year. I was studying library and information science and took a course on social networks, which meant creating a fresh social media account. I picked TikTok since it was a platform I liked but didn't know much about creating on. At the same time for school I had to do an internship, so I interned as the digital archivist at Congressional Cemetery in Washington DC. My professor suggested I make the Tiktok about my internship, which was how I even discovered #gravetok and #cemeterytiktok. While I was posting about different graves I came across a New York gravestone with a recipe on it. I cooked it and posted about the experience, and it went viral. While learning about this first gravestone I learned there were others, so have continued to look for and try different recipes. 

In your sixty-second documentary, you mentioned the practice of baking another’s gravestone recipe as a way of exploring how people choose to be remembered in death. What has been, or would be, your favorite engraving on a gravestone?

I love all of the different expressions and memorials on gravestones these days. Pretty much anything goes in how a person wants to be remembered. As far as gravestones go I particularly love the grave of Naomi Miller Dawson, who has a spritz cookie recipe on her grave. When you visit it in Brooklyn it's this beautiful open book, like you're walking up to a cookbook on a stand. I would love to have something like that on my own grave one day.


How did the skills you learned as a JMU English student prepare you for the success you are currently receiving and help you during your future career endeavors?

I attribute the success of this account to what I learned in the JMU English Department. The faculty encouraged me to be curious and follow what interested me. I was interested in storytelling and loved the chance to explore a narrative in my creative writing classes. Erica Bleeg's food writing class was extremely formative in this whole process, particularly with learning about how food intersects with everything. I still think about that class constantly since it gave me tools to talk about harder topics like death through the avenue of food.

How would you recommend current and future JMU English students use their education creatively?

English majors can do anything. No matter which job I've been in, my favorite people have been English majors. The major teaches you to ask questions, investigate the world, and learn how to tell the stories that are important to a person. Even as storytelling moves into new digital spaces there are still basics of telling a narrative that I wish everyone learned in school. I live in Los Angeles now and almost all of the creatives I want to work with were English majors - they see things around us in new and interesting ways.

Do you have a specific class or professor that made an impact on you as an undergraduate student?

Yes! Julie Sorge Way's 8 am Monday morning Brit Lit class was not only my first class in college - it made me fall in love with the major. She made classic literature fun and interesting in the way I hadn't experienced before. I learned how to build an academic routine and research things that made me curious in her class. She encouraged me in wanting to study library science in grad school and has done countless letters of recommendation that allowed me to be where I am today.

Erica Bleeg's food writing class was also a major inspiration. Food writing changed how I see the world. I get a lot of comments now from people asking how I thought to connect food and gravestones, which after her class I learned that food has the ability to connect us to pretty much everything.

Your fame on social media has led you to be featured on programs such as Good Morning America and the Kelly Clarkson Show. How would you recommend JMU students use social media to promote their projects or aid their research?img_6309.jpg

I started learning how to use it while at JMU and it'll be interesting to see what the next TikTok or Facebook is. I would recommend students look into any electives that they might be able to take just to learn how to use social media. Or they can volunteer for a club or org just to get the hang of it in a low stakes environment. Or do both. The power of a network can't be overstated, which was why it was even offered in a library science degree. No matter what job you go into, knowing how to connect with others in a digital space gives you an incredible tool, whether it's getting funding for a project, amplifying a cause, or even just advocating for something important to you.

One of our faculty members shared that you have an exciting job (outside of your social media notoriety). We'd love to know about your current role!

Yes that's right! I took a librarian job when I moved to LA before knowing what the Los Angeles freeway is like haha. So starting next week I'll be part time remote as a digital librarian and starting full time as the Outreach and Communications Manager at the UCLA Women's Center.

If anyone from JMU has questions or tips about interesting cemeteries they're welcome to reach out to Rosie.

IG at 
Tiktok at

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Published: Wednesday, October 26, 2022

Last Updated: Thursday, November 2, 2023

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