Q & A with Madison Trapkin founder of GRLSQUASH Magazine
She is an Atlanta-born, Boston-based writer, editor, and the founder of GRLSQUASH, a womxn’s food, culture, and art journal.
Where do you live: Cambridge, Massachusetts
Where do you work: Currently working on this bit! I’m doing some consulting for food/bev businesses at the moment — Rebel Rebel, Avalon Catering, and La Fabrica Central are a few I’m working with at the moment. I was the Editor-in-Chief of Culture Magazine — a magazine dedicated entirely to cheese — up until June when I left to pursue this new venture!
How did you get into publishing your own magazine? I started GRLSQUASH in April 2018 with my West Coast BFF Jess Graham, who’s also our graphic designer. I was a little over halfway through grad school, working on my master’s in gastronomy at Boston University with an emphasis on food writing and food media. I felt so inspired by the projects started by my classmates, as well as other indie food publications I dreamt of one day seeing my work in (like Gather Journal, Cherrybombe, and Compound Butter). I’d started to dabble in freelance food writing in 2017 and as I continued to pitch stories to publications and platforms where I felt I belonged, I continued—like so many other freelancers—to experience rejection for the most part. And that’s okay!!! I grew from it, my pitching improved immensely, and knew I wasn’t alone in these feelings. I wouldn’t say GRLSQUASH was fueled by rejection necessarily, but it was fueled by a desire to create another platform specifically for women in food, without requiring that any of our contributors come from any sort of culinary, academic, or otherwise food professional background. GRLSQUASH was born out of a desire to highlight the overlaps between food and art, to show food as art, to give more space for exploring the breadth of our experiences surrounding food. GRLSQUASH isn’t the first space dedicated to women in food, and my hope is that it continues to be one of many spaces like this for a long, long time!
What item of food best describes your personality? Pizza because it’s my favorite food!
Favourite thing to do on your day off (apart from sleep!): Pre-COVID, my favourite day off activities included browsing indie bookshops, long walks (seriously! I love a good walk), and coffee dates with friends. Days off look a bit different now!
What Polka’s do you have: Two-tone! And more recently, the bucket hat + amazing long sleeved shirt
Top recommendation for food in your city: Lots of great women-owned + women co-owned spots like Pammy’s, Flour, Fox & the Knife, but also the Pizzeria Regina in the North End (Boston’s Italian neighborhood). They have the absolute perfect brick oven-fired pizza. And I love pizza.
Biggest inspiration: This might sound incredibly corny but…my mom!! She's where my love for food begins. When I was little and allegedly my first real word was appetizer; When my friends parents felt nervous when I ate dinner at their house because, "I'm sure it doesn't compare to your mom's food.”; When my sister found a caterpillar in our farm-fresh broccoli and my mom said she’d give her $20 to eat it; When I called blueberries “boobies” and no one, not even her, corrected me because that’s such a tender, cute thing for a child to utter.
As a food business owner, my mom is resilient, creative, and stubborn as hell. She inspires me and frustrates me to no end. She is the reason I’m in the (food) world.
Madison in our limited edition Two Tone PolkaPants