Cemetery recipes – Connie’s Date & Nut Bread

I had such a fun time trying out Kay’s Fudge recipe a couple of months ago, that I wondered what other cemetery recipes were out there. I was pleasantly surprised at the handful of recipes I found.

Today I wanted to try my hand at making Connie’s Date & Nut bread. 100% Good stuff – 0% Bad Stuff. Sounds delicious to me! 

This tombstone can be found in the Cemetery of the Highlands in Highland Mills, NY. Instead of the recipe being engraved on the stone, it’s printed on a small white plaque that is attached to the stone. The headstone belongs to Constance Galberd.

From reading Connie’s obituary, she was a very busy woman. Constance was a retired Registered Nurse at Cornwall Hospital in New York, a member of the Woodbury Community Ambulance Corps, and a member and Trustee of the Woodbury Historical Society. She has three children, a daughter, two sons, and four grandchildren. I think it’s safe to say she was also a great baker with a great sense of humor. Constance passed away in September 2008, at the age of 80. 

You can view her memorial page on Find a Grave.

I love the idea of putting a well-loved family recipe on a tombstone. It ensures the recipe will be passed down through the generations, and that a piece of them will be remembered.

The recipe reads:

Connie’s Date & Nut Bread | 100% Good stuff – 0% Bad Stuff

Ingredients:

  • 8 oz. dates cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 2 cups boiling water
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 eggs, well beaten
  • 4 cups flour
  • 2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chopped nuts

Directions:

  • Pour boiling water (where 2 tsp. of baking soda have been dissolved) over dates and raisins. Cool.
  • Add 1 1/2 c. sugar and mix well.
  • Add 2 eggs, well beaten.
  • Gradually mix in 4 c. of flour and 2 tsp. of baking powder. Beat thoroughly.
  • Add 1/2 c. of chopped nuts. Beat thoroughly.
  • Bake at 350 for 3/4 – 1 hr.
  • Bake in tin cans.
  • One batch = 13 small cans.

This recipe is pretty easy to follow. I have made banana bread before and found the process very similar. The directions are very clear, although I was a little uncertain of how long to let the boiling water over the dates & raisins cool. I spoke out loud to Connie while I mixed my ingredients and waited for the water to cool. When the water was no longer steaming, I mixed in the sugar and continued with the recipe.

I was a little thrown off by the last 2 directions, about baking in tin cans. I had to look that up. I found out that baking in tins cans, like vegetable or soup cans, was used for baking during the depression. The end result would be little round cakes or loaves of bread. I would have loved to be authentic to the recipe, but I didn’t have any empty tin cans to wash out and recycle for baking. It is something I would like to try in the future though. For this recipe, I used 2 loaf pans and split the batter between the two.

My kitchen smelled amazing while these were baking! I had to have a piece when it came out of the oven, and I was not disappointed. It’s a dense bread, similar to a fruit cake. Connie is absolutely right when she says “100% Good stuff – 0% Bad Stuff“. I am really happy with how they came out. After letting them cool on a cooling rack, I popped them out of the pans and wrapped them up. I always love to share my baking, and being able to share Connie’s recipe too feels like a sweet way to remember her.

Will you be trying Connie’s Date & Nut bread? Or have you found another tombstone recipe I should try? Tell me about it in the comments.

Thanks for reading!


If You Love a Recipe Enough, You Can Put It on Your Grave

The Recipe Headstone

Baking Brown Bread in Tin Cans

A Collection of lambs

I love exploring cemeteries and looking at the different symbols used on tombstones. If you spend a lot of time in cemeteries, especially in Northern Ontario, you will start to notice the repetition of certain symbols and motifs. One of the most common symbols I find is the lamb.

Lambs represent innocence and sacrifice, as they were often used in sacrificial ceremonies in ancient times1. Most often you will find lambs on the gravestones of infants and children, as Jesus is often depicted as a Shepherd, and also known as the “lamb of God”. Some variations can be found with lamb symbolism. A robed figure with a standing lamb beside it most often represents John the Baptist, who had called Jesus the “lamb of God”1. A lamb with a cross is known to represent the Lamb of God or Agnus Dei2, symbolizing the suffering of Christ as he sacrificed himself for the sins of mankind. Several other symbols may be found with a lamb to symbolize the lamb of God – such as a banner, halo, shepherds crook, and alpha and/or omega symbols2. A single seated lamb symbolizes an innocent soul. A seated lamb can sometimes be found sitting in front of a tree stump, this often symbolizes a life cut short. 

Finding lambs is often sad, but they are a beautiful symbol. I have photographed many over the years and wanted to share some of them with you today. 


1 Snider, Tui. Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A Field Guide for Historic Graveyards. 1st ed., Castle Azle Press, 2017. 

2 Keister, Douglas. Stories in Stone: A Field Guide to Cemetery Symbolism and Iconography. 1st ed., Gibbs Smith, 2004. 

A collection of handmade stones

If you spend a lot of time in cemeteries, especially in Northern Ontario, you will start to notice the repetition of certain symbols and motifs. In Ontario and Quebec, something I have come across frequently is handmade stones.

These stones have been lovingly hand-poured in cement, adorned with crucifixes, stones, and other baubles, and usually have hand lettering. They are beautiful representations of love for those who have passed. There could be many reasons why a handmade stone was created, and each one is unique and beautiful with its own charm.

I love finding handmade stones and have photographed many over the years. I wanted to share some of them with you.

Symbolism and iconography

Cemeteries are full of symbolism.

I find it fascinating and love trying to decipher the symbols and iconography I find. Symbolism can be found adorning tombstones and mausoleums. These symbols can range from simple designs to very elaborate ones. The meaning of symbols is a language in itself, and you can tell a lot about a person by what is on their tombstone. Religion, hobbies, clubs, and organizations can all be found represented, among other things, by symbols and icons within a cemetery.

Whenever I spot a symbol I have not seen before, I always turn to my handy reference books. If I can’t find what I am looking for there, the internet is the next best place to look. My go-to reference book is Stories in Stone: A field guide to cemetery symbolism and iconography by Douglas Keister. I have had this book forever, and always go back to it when I see something new. It’s a very in-depth look at what can be found in a cemetery. It covers architecture, sculpture, symbols, as well as acronyms and initials. I highly recommend it!

I recently added another reference book to my library – Understanding Cemetery Symbols: A field guide for historic graveyards by Tui Snider. I have just started getting into this one and I can tell right away it will be a great resource. It has some really in-depth sections on hand symbology as will as crosses and even statuary.

So what kind of symbols and iconography can you find in your local cemeteries? For the most part religious symbology is very common. Below are some examples of more common and not so common symbols you can find in Canadian cemeteries:

I love finding hands on a tombstone. Hands are shown in many different forms; pointing downward, pointing up, shaking hands, etc. the list goes on! And all of these different positions have different meanings. One of my favorite examples of hands was found in Terrace Lawn Cemetery in North Bay. These stones have weathered beautifully. This hand is pointed downward, with a finger extended which can symbolize God reaching down to collect a soul. The extended finger can mean sudden or unexpected death. This hand is also holding a chain. A broken link in the chain can represent a family or marriage broken by death.

Terrace Lawn Cemetery, North Bay ©2019

Lambs are a very common sight in cemeteries. These are sometimes accompanied by a tree stump, implying a life cut short. The Lamb itself represents “the lamb of God” and innocence. Sadly, lambs are almost always found at the grave of a young child or infant.

Whitefish Public Cemetery ©2021

Skulls are very rare to come by in my local Canadian cemeteries. I have only found 2 in all of my local travels, but I am always on the look out for them. They are more commonly found in other places of the world, like the United States and Europe. Most obviously a skull represents death. A skull found at the base of a cross is thought to be symbolic of the skull of Adam.

St. Thomas Cemetery, Warren ©2009

I have many great examples of symbols and iconography in my photography. If you are interested in seeing more and learning about their meanings, I share them every Friday on Instagram and Facebook.

I would also love to hear about the symbols you have found on your cemetery travels. Please share in the comments!