Put a pumpkin on my grave.
Put a pumpkin on my grave. Kristina Paukshtite/Public Domain

In a wide variety of cultures around the world, food and drink plays a key role in honoring the memories of loved ones who are no longer with us. In some cases it’s a widespread practice, such as the Chinese tradition of leaving oranges on headstones. Other times it’s unique to the person, such as the mysterious bottles of cognac regularly left on the grave of Edgar Allan Poe. In honor of Grave Week, we asked Atlas Obscura readers to tell us what foods or drinks they’d like people to leave on their own graves. Your answers were revealing, poignant, and made us kind of hungry, all at once!

Many of you chose a favorite dish, like one reader’s simple request for mutton ribs. Others picked a treat that holds special emotional resonance, like mom’s special iced tea. Oh, and an awful lot of you said to just leave some whiskey. So much whiskey…

Below, we’ve compiled a collection of some of our favorite responses. If death is just the next great adventure, these people won’t have to embark on an empty stomach.

Kjokkenutstyr Net/CC BY-SA 2.0

Perfectly Ripe Avocados

“They are so hard to attain in life, maybe in heaven they have good avos?” — Katy Rose, Cape Town, South Africa

Ben Heggy’s Chocolates

“Ben Heggy’s chocolates are to die for! Having Heggy’s chocolates on my gravestone won’t help me, but others might enjoy them. An aunt introduced our family to Heggy’s when I was a child, bringing them home from Canton, Ohio, when she visited a friend who lived nearby. She brought bags and bags (or so it seemed to me as a child) and generously shared. Her bags contained a variety, but milk chocolate peanut patties (peanut clusters without cream inside) and milk chocolate-covered marshmallows were my favorites. I rediscovered them in a candy shop in Columbus, Ohio, nearly 30 years later (nearly 40 years ago now) and fell in love with them all over again. Long live Ben Heggy’s chocolates! I think it would be generous if there were a bowl on my grave marker where people could place the individually-wrapped chocolates, along with a sign saying, ‘Please help yourself.’” — Nancy, Ohio

Pea Soup with Garlic

“Because it’s my favorite hangover cure.” — Radomír Dohnal, Czech Republic

Mike Mozart/CC BY 2.0

Kraft Macaroni and Cheese

“It’s always been my comfort food. When I lost everything and was hungry, I was always able to treat myself to a box of it for two or three meals!” — Ginny Mitchell, Southern Oregon

Taco Bell

“Nothing spices up a mood or occasion quite like Taco Bell can.” — Diana, Boston, Massachusetts

Côtes du Rhône, Duck Confit, and Camembert

“Remembrance of an incredibly romantic dinner my partner and I had in the Latin Quarter in Paris, under an awning, as rain slowly fell just beyond.” — Dave, Atlanta, Georgia

Iced Tea (Made the Way My Mom Taught Me)

“Until I was in my late teens, I didn’t realize that most people considered iced tea to be a sweet drink, or at least a sweet-ish drink. I grew up drinking iced tea that’s incredibly sour for most people’s taste. The recipe I’ve settled on uses a cup of lemon juice in a gallon of tea. I thought it was an old family recipe, but my mom told me that she just started making it that way because she liked it. And now, this is the iced tea my daughter drinks, so our sour tooth runs in the family. My mother-in-law calls it ‘poison tea,’ though, so it’s definitely not easy to convert people.” — James Callan, Washougal, Washington

pointnshoot/CC BY 2.0

Hot Pastrami Sandwich

“I’ve lived much of my life outside the United States in countries that do not have delis or places to get a hot pastrami sandwich. But, for me, a hot pastrami sandwich, which my family had most every Sunday lunch, represents the wonderfulness of immigrant America.” — David Evans, Hong Kong

A Roaster Full of Pyrizhky

“Pyrizhky is my ultimate Ukrainian comfort food; it far surpasses even pyrohy (pergoies) for flavor and sheer enjoyment of eating.” — Kenneth Kully, Edmonton, Alberta, Canada

A Chilled Six-Pack of Hard Cider in Glass Bottles, a Giant Platter of Piping-Hot Chicken Wings with a Dozen Assorted Sauces and Dressings to Dip Them In, Several Rolls of Good Bread, and a New York–style Cheesecake with Passionfruit Drizzle. Yes, A Whole Cheesecake.

“It makes me feel like I’m having friends over for an evening of role-play gaming and conversation.” — Gigi, Delaware

Olde English 800 and/or Munchies Flaming Hot Peanuts

“I travel with my husband constantly, and I will refuse a trip without those specific peanuts. I can go through three bags on a 10-hour drive. Olde English 800 has been my favorite beer for years. I love it because it sounds fancy, lol.” — Aubrey-Lee Morrow, Birmingham, Alabama

Dani Vázquez/CC BY-SA 2.0


“It is lit on fire, produces a lovely blue flame, and wards off evil spirits.” — Kalia, Spain

Hot Wings

“I love hot wings. They’re my ultimate comfort food. I’m also known among my friends and coworkers as a bit of a hot wing fanatic considering I did eat hot wings over 70 times in 2017, which averaged to about 1.5 times a week! Doing the math on the specific orders, I ate 460+ wings! I have the receipts and everything! I only hit the wings about 40 times this year but there’s still time yet!” — Alexa, California

Rebel Yell and Tab

“No one else drinks it. All mine!” — Diane, Savannah, Georgia

Fruit and Nuts

“Since graves are only important to the living, the fruit and nuts would make no difference to me, as I would be dead. But they would be very nice for birds, squirrels, insects, and other wildlife living in, or passing through the graveyard. And if the fruit were to just rot on the grave, that would be fine too. Compost!” — Kent, Near Portland, Oregon

Tyler/CC BY-SA 2.0

A Glass of Absinthe

“Lots of special memories about drinking it with good friends, and it might make it easier for them to see my ghost.” — Loren Rhoads, San Francisco, California

Ramen and Merlot

“Quick, easy food my partner and I share on our movie nights.” — Meghan, Phoenix, Arizona

Mutton Ribs

“It’s delicious.” — Omer Ehsan, Lahore, Pakistan

Buttertarts and Hot Toddies

“Buttertarts are perfect, and since I’ll be dead, guilt free. Hot toddy because a shot of whiskey will keep the cold at bay, and lemon and honey will soothe my aching, dead heart.” — Meghan Wilson-Smith, Guelph, Ontario, Canada

Vesper Martini

“It revived my spirits in life, let’s see if it has the same effect when I’m gone.” — J. Alexander Greenwood, Kansas City, Missouri

Sudhakarmadala/Public Domain

Pizza and Beer

“As a celiac sufferer I can’t have either in this world. Please bring it to me in the next.” — Jeremy Dreier, Rock Hill, South Carolina

A Bottle of Trocadero

“When I was 21, I had to flee the country to escape a long-term abusive relationship. I didn’t have anywhere near home I could turn to, but I had read in high school that Sweden was a nice place to be, so I bought my ticket in secret, packed my things in the middle of the night, and flew into Stockholm. After I landed, I had no real plan and such little money and I was alone for the first time in my life, but I was safe and I was free. I bought a soda that I had never seen before and when I took that first sip, it tasted better than anything I’d ever tasted. It was bright and fruity and different; the flavors of apple and orange blended together into an entirely new fruit. Its bubbles were playful and so unlike the burning Coca-Cola from back home. Everything about it was a magical reassurance that I had done the right thing and that I was going to be okay. And now, whenever I need to do something new and beautiful and scary, I can nearly taste the Trocadero on my tongue.” — Shayne, Atlanta, Georgia

Bourbon, Particularly in an Old Fashioned

“Life is a celebration filled with pungent, strong, sweet, and bitter nuances.” — Christopher, St. Cloud, Minnesota

slgckgc/CC BY 2.0

A Can of Vernors Ginger Ale

“It tastes like Detroit, where I grew up. I miss many things about my hometown, and there is nothing like Vernors anywhere else. Plus, unlike other sodas, (or pop, as we Detroiters say), it can also be enjoyed hot, which I imagine might be a plus in a ‘grave’ situation.” — Elaine Henry, Sand Rock, Alabama


“The longer it hangs, the better it tastes, and it tastes like home.” — Joy, Taiwan

Pepperoni Pizza and a Milkshake

“Civilization reached its high-water mark with those two glorious creations.” — Chris Estes, Front Royal, Virginia

Sourdough Biscuits

“I started my sourdough starter over 20 years ago. I mostly make bread, but I sometimes make biscuits to bring in for my coworkers. A batch of 30 biscuits will completely disappear within about 30 minutes, so I guess my coworkers like them. I have a tradition of bringing in a double-batch of biscuits and delivering them to everyone in the building on my birthday. I’d like to think that someone would leave a biscuit on my grave in memory of my biscuits.” — George Flexman, Indianapolis

If you have a favorite food you’d like placed on your grave, head over to our community forums and tell us about it!

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