Muriel Vega, a food + travel writer based out of Atlanta found herself baking pies as a way to sooth her chronic anxiety and the end result was a year-long personal challenge to bake 50 pies, that became known on Instagram as #muriels50pies. While the pie challenge did eventually end in December 2014, the experience inspired Muriel to create a darling pie zine with memories, recipes and photos all about … well, pie.
I have Muriel’s zine sitting on my desk at home and it’s one of my favorite ways to take a break and have some pie without actually having to have a slice!
Thanks to Muriel for joining us and for sharing her experience in creating: PIE: A Zine about Memories and Eating Pie
What is your experience with creating zines? Is this the first one you did?
It was really fun! I spent weeks collecting pieces from all of my social media channels and friends. It was my first zine, but several of my friends have done some so I was able to talk to them about it..We have a really neat non-profit organization here in Atlanta, Murmur Media, and they focus on promoting DIY and zine media culture in the city. One of my favorite coffee shops hosts the Atlanta Zine Library, where I spent many afternoons looking at zines for inspiration and Murmur also plans the annual Atlanta Zine Fest, where vendors from all over the city sell their homemade zine.
How did you pick the stories and recipes to share?
Initially, I thought about just doing a zine about my pies, only by me. But as the challenge evolved, I kept getting more and more stories from people trying to make my pies and memories of them baking with their family members. It kind of went from there and I decided to make it about others, instead of just me. Originally, the zine was only going to be a few pages long, but I had such an incredible response from friends and fellow ladies around the country. At that point, I decided to do my best to fit as many as I could in the zine and it quickly grew to 30 pages! I’m eternally grateful for everyone who took the time to submit poems, illustrations, recipes and anecdotes. You guys really made my life!
How has the response to your pie zine been?
Amazing! I sold out within a week! I think people really connected with the subject matter and the nostalgia of it all. I worked really hard to put a good compilation together to culminate my 50-pie project and I’m glad everyone appreciated that. A few local boutiques and stores carried a few copies as well and in the end, I donated over $500 to the Atlanta Community Food Bank. This was around Christmas time too so I’m glad I was able to help people in need. I had a few people interview me about my project and zine as well (hi!) and one of my favorite writers, Ann Friedman, even contributed a pie chart for the zine. Let’s just say, I fan-girled so hard when she said yes to my request.
After eating and baking all that pie, are you still doing it to help your anxiety? Or have you moved onto to a new dessert? Shall we be excitedly looking forward to a doughnut zine? Ha! That’s an amazing idea. Donuts! I still bake pies here and there, but not as often anymore. After dedicating most of my time to them last year, my other goals kind of fell through the cracks so I’m trying to tackle a few other things this year instead. The challenge really helped me feel more centered and OK with life’s ever changing things. My anxiety is an all-time low (yay!) and I still work on it every day. I would love to do another zine. I’ve thought about maybe a pizza or taco zine? I wanted to do a trilogy of food zines about food that people are really obsessed with. This summer, I’ll be working on a podcast about snacks so look out for that!
Any advice to others who want to create a food zine?
Of course! Zines are unbelievably approachable and easy to make. My PIE zine was on the fancy side by choice, but most zines are black and white copies, stapled and only a few pages. Prices range between $2-5. It’s a great thing especially if you have only a few things to say, without having to write a whole book! Pick something you’re passionate about and make it happen. Stop procrastinating because you think it will take a long time, it really doesn’t. If you need inspiration, check out Pinterest (I promise they have more than mason jars and wedding things!) and Etsy. Or come to Atlanta and check out the Atlanta Zine Library at Hodgepodge Coffee!
Muriel currently lives in Atlanta, Ga. with her boyfriend/travel partner Alex and their three pets: cat, Pancakes + dogs, Jack and Alta. While they would love to quit their jobs and travel the world, it’s not in the cards for them, yet. But that doesn’t stop them from trying to seeing the world – all within their 10 vacation days from their 9-5 jobs.
Say hi to Muriel at her website: www.piesandtravel.com