2019.07.01

While in Portland last September, I was on the bus, on my way elsewhere, when I passed Microcosm Publishing. You can’t miss it.

Instead of taking the bus back, I walked, just so I could go inside. Unfortunately, when I got there, the door was locked. I was sad, but I knew I had a few more days in town, and I knew I could find my way back. Fortunately, as I stood on the corner taking photos, Joe Biel, founder and publisher, cycled up with his adorable dog, Ruby, in a bike trailer.

He let me browse as long as I wanted. I bought as many books as I could afford.

I picked up The Corners of Their Mouth by L.M. Zoller and Robin Elan because of the neon pink cover, but the subtitle made me buy: A Queer Food Zine. It was packaged in plastic, so I couldn’t even peek inside, but I trust a great cover.

(I discovered it’s packaged in plastic for good reason: the pink rubs off on your fingers. I used a piece of scrap paper folded around the cover to read it.)

The Corners of Their Mouth is written by L.M. Zoller and illustrated by Robin Elan. Zoller writes about their disappointment in the extension of patriarchy to the online cooking world—a disappointment I share. All the successful food blogs don’t cook the way I cook. Zoller actually did something about the problem, starting their own blog and hashtag: #ourqueerkitchen.

Elan’s drawings are delicate and precise, like botanical field notes. The recipes annotated with comic testimonials from their friends. I love (though heartily disagree with!) the Hierarchy of Potatoes. I appreciated the citations at the back, acknowledging the work built upon.

As a piece of art, The Corners of Their Mouth could hang on my wall. It’s a neon pink bright spot in my zine library.