We are lucky because both of our Moms are great cooks. They are the kind of moms who cook food that friends and relatives pull you aside later to say, “Your Mom’s food is sooooooo good!”
Every family has some cherished recipes that get handed down from one generation to the next, and we want our family recipes and food stories to be remembered. That is why we have collected some of our favorite dishes into Noodle Taco. It’s our way of sharing what we learned from our mothers to future generations.
The recipes might change over time as the availability of ingredients change, but the feeling of eating them persists. The love that is felt through eating a favorite homecooked meal stays with you.
In the end, Noodle Taco is a love letter to our mothers that we are now passing on to you, dear reader. We hope that reading our stories and recipes will inspire you to spread homecooked love to your loved ones for years to come.
That’s the introduction to our new zine, NOODLE TACO: A Taiwanese-Mexican-American Culinary Adventure. I co-wrote this 36-page zine with my husband Marcus and it’s a collection of our cherished family recipes, the stories that go with them, and some beautiful and mouthwatering photos.
But really, NOODLE TACO is a valentine to our mothers and all the good food they nourished us with over the years. We wanted to spread the love that they embedded in these delicious dishes to people all over the world. That is why we wrote it.
Marcus and I first published and sold NOODLE TACO in September 2022 but it wasn’t until December that we actually got it up in our online shop. We had drafted it during the summer, but with leaving my last job, getting a new job, and traveling to see family members in California before starting my new job, we didn’t have time to release it during the summer. So, with a deadline looming, we printed out the pages on our home ink jet printer and stapled it together on the morning that we were tabling at the Olympia Zine Fest on September 4, 2022.
Talk about hot off the presses! NOODLE TACO was certainly that. We brought ten copies to the zine fest. (Ten may not sound like a lot, but when you’re tabling at a small zine fest with a small audience, you do wonder if you can even sell all ten.) At first, customers seemed more interested in our other books, zines, and cards. It wasn’t until I mustered up the courage to the read an excerpt from NOODLE TACO, a story about my mom’s wontons, at the fest’s open mic that more people came over to our table to check it out. It was such a satisfying feeling to get our new zine into people’s hands! Many people commented on the photos and said they couldn’t wait to cook some of the recipes. We ended up selling and trading all ten copies.
That is the satisfying thing about creating zines. Not only can you write a zine about something that matters to you–it could be something you love or something you hate or something you want to change or anything in between–you can then publish it yourself and sell it yourself to real customers.
The beauty of zines is you create and publish what you want, how you want, and when you want. You can make your zine full color like we did or you can make it black and white. You can use a home printer or use a copy machine at your local copy shop or a professional printer like Mixam which is who we’ve used to print all our books and zines and who also printed 100 copies of NOODLE TACO after the Olympia Zine Fest. You can make your zine eight pages, 36 pages, 60 pages or whatever amount feels right. It’s totally up to you.
You don’t need permission from anyone to create a zine and get it out in the world. You only need permission from yourself.
So, if you could write anything this year and get it into the hands of readers this same year, what would you write?
What’s tugging at your heart to get out into the world?
Pop your ideas and thoughts in the comment box below. I’d love to hear from you.
For more inspiration, check out the zines at Liminal Spaces and Antiquated Future. And if you’re looking for a great foodie gift for yourself or someone you know, pick up a copy of NOODLE TACO today! 🍜 🌮
Peg Cheng is the author of Noodle Taco, a Taiwanese-Mexican-American culinary adventure, Rebel Millionaire, a guide for how to retire as a millionaire even if you make a modest income, and The Contenders, a novel that asks, can enemies become friends? She is also the owner of Plaid Frog Press with her husband Marcus Donner. Born in Southern California to Taiwanese parents, Peg currently lives in Seattle, Washington.