My name is Madison Trapkin and in April I founded GRSLQUASH, a women’s food, culture, and art journal.
I started a food and art blog while I was still in college. This was my first real foray into food writing outside of an academic setting. I created an interdisciplinary food experience on this blog using a combination of writing, photography, music, recipes, and more. This was only the beginning. Last year I moved from my hometown of Atlanta, GA to Boston for grad school just in time for the season’s first snowstorm. A few weeks later, I walked into the first of many classes in the Gastronomy Program, Karen Metheny’s Anthropology of Food course. Still, this was the beginning.
I built up my portfolio (and my courage) during my first year in the grad school. I felt inspired by fellow classmates who were really kicking ass in their fields — everything from a CBD-based ice cream startup to pastry chefdom at a swanky Las Vegas hotel. I pitched my first story, a pseudo-restaurant review for the Boston Globe, while sitting in one of my classes last summer. And they actually liked it! I pretty much pitched at least one story a week from that point on, with varying success. To date I’ve had a few pieces published, but more importantly I’ve had LOTS of pieces turned down. This spring, in Laura Ziman’s Food in Art course, I was listening to an especially inspiring guest lecturer when I received yet another rejection email from a publication I’d pitched to. This was it. The lecturer, a local artist named Anna Stabler, encouraged us to build an army of talented people to surround us and to just….do it — sort of a build-it-and-they-will-come mentality. So, I did.
I rushed home from class to jump and yell excitedly to my now-fiancé about the idea I’d had. I would start my own publication, one that focused on all the things I loved most: food, art, and culture. This was also the beginning. The beginning of GRLSQUASH.
The Gastronomy program has empowered me as a writer and reinforced the importance of intersectionality in everything. It also facilitated my relationships with the majority of the GRLSQUASH Board! Besides my co-founder, Jess Graham, all other Board members are current or past members of the Gastronomy Program: Laurel Greenfield, Sam Dolph, and Rachel DeSimone.
Since starting GRLSQUASH it has grown immensely. A journey that began as a way to publish and promote underrepresented voices in the food and art worlds has evolved into a community-building venture, complete with collaborations involving some really incredible like-minded Boston organizations and spaces (Practice Space, Hourglass, The Cauldron, Angry Asian Girls, + more!). I’m thrilled about our growth and excited for our future.
Our second issue, themed: SELF, is currently in the works with an open call for submissions from now til Octber 12th! We recently launched our collaborative Calendar where you can find upcoming GRLSQUASH events + exciting happenings from many organizations and spaces within the GRLSQUASH community. And if you haven’t already, you can still order ISSUE ONE: MOTHERS/FOREMOTHERS!