never was a corn flake girl

though Cheerios remain unbeaten, especially when topped with bananas

Last Sunday was my last day at the White Rock Farmers Market. It started raining after we got the tent up, which was a lucky reprieve (no such luck taking everything down, though). My dad took this photo below, with me behind the table—my glasses fogged from the mask and the weather—and my mom in the background, re-adjusting the bags she made because making masks has got her sewing again. (My dad made the Santa Clauses hiding underneath the table.)

[image description: a table covered in a bright pink cloth, stacked with boxes, bags, signs, and a glass greenhouse filled with bread. A wooden sandwich board sign with a fried egg icon is on the ground. A white woman with glasses and mask in a white sweatshirt holds up a peace sign to the camera.]

I knew that after the last market I wanted to go back and look at my photos from the first, all those months ago, back in May. It rained on that first day, too, though not as hard or as long as it did on the last. The first day of the market felt like a celebration. We were only two months into quarantine, but people were desperate to get out and do something, anything, especially with other people. We wore masks, traffic was guided, and there was hand sanitizer aplenty. I sold out my bread before noon, and the sourdough starter was more popular than I ever expected.

[image description: a table covered in a white cloth with tiny black cat heads. On top of the table are brown paper packages in white boxes, under a beige tent with walls]

The last day was a slow one, but that doesn’t always mean a failure. I didn’t sell out, but I still sold bread. At every market, I had people ask questions about my starter kit, and even if they didn’t buy right then, they probably came back a few weeks later because they couldn’t stop thinking about it.

Selling loaves of bread online is a lot harder than at a farmers market. But I’ll certainly keep selling the sourdough starter. I still have brown paper pouches, so now I’m thinking, what else can I sell in 1 ounce quantities?

I’m rather a boring cook. I don’t love spicy food, and because I cook only for myself, I most often cook for comfort. Most often, I want the tastes of my childhood. But my friend, Megan, has an altogether different palate than mine, as well as a taste for experimenting. She is who I turn to when I want an interesting spice mix.

Megan and I met on Livejournal, more than 10 years ago now. But we really became friends once we realised we both feel the same way about food, cooking, as well as the intersection of digital and analogue. We chat online almost every day, but we also send each other postcards and packages in the mail. As I think about it now, I don’t remember who was the first to say, “We should open a bakery,” but I know the other responded, “How did you know my dream??”

We tried, for a while, but doing anything in a physical space when you live in two different countries is just as difficult as you might imagine—even though we live on the same coast and only two states apart. Still, I’ve never let this dream go. I keep trying to create a soft space so Megan can take the leap with me.

When it seemed like a physical bakery was out of reach, we started a blog instead, which I turned into a zine on paper. Megan and I wrote together for fun, but with jobs and life, there wasn’t enough time to devote to the project if it wasn’t making money. (She’s just started her own newsletter on Substack, about her brand of marketing and analytics. You should go subscribe if you’re also a media nerd!)

At the end of 2020, I’ll be 39. It’s not a special age; there’s nothing monumental to celebrate about 39. I’ll be happy to hand my birthday back over to New Year’s Eve celebrations so we can ring out this mother of a year. A lot has ended in 2020, and there are more endings to come.

But it was also a year which gave us time to look back, to reach into the past, to pick up what we once set aside because we didn’t have the ~time. What does time mean in the year 2020?

When I want some music, but I don’t have a specific craving, I’ll hit shuffle on my ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐ playlist. It wasn’t long this morning before “Space Dog” by Tori Amos popped up, and when a song catches my ear, it usually means I turn off shuffle and listen to the album from the beginning. Under the Pink was released in 1994, the year I was 12, the year I started high school, a monumental year in life.

2020 is determined to forge itself into a monumental year. Let’s make sure we remember the good stuff along with the dumpster fire. Let’s make the kind of stuff we want to remember.

💗 Jess

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Hey there! 👋 I’m Jessica Driscoll (she/they), a baker, teacher, and writer, living on the unceded territory of the SEMYOME (Semiahmoo) Nation, in a beach town outside the city called Vancouver. I’ve documented my creative experiments online since 2002, and I sell the products of those experiments at markets around the pacific northwest. This newsletter helps people keep track of my wandering attention span and follow along as I figure it all out. Currently, I bake on Instagram and sell online at All Day Breakfast. To celebrate the end of the market season, I sent $241—10% of my total 6 month proceeds—to Tiny House Warriors, who are defending Secwepemc Territory and blocking the Trans Mountain pipeline.

On the weekend of October 24th, my zines—including my sourdough and sea salt zines—will be for sale at canzine.ca.

[image description: pixel art style star field with a brown skin, green hair person leaping with scissors in hand and a rainbow streak behind them. Text reads: Virtual Canzine 2020. The festival of zines & underground print. 250+ vendors, events, workshops, plus more! October 24-26 at canzine.ca]