Periwinkle Murray, 33, grew up in poverty-stricken Nassau, Bahamas, in a “complicated environment of a highly religious Third World country.” As an openly queer person, Murray experienced feeling isolated and was called a sissy and a faggot on the regular. Robbed twice at gunpoint and once with machetes, he firsthand endured a lot of hate, in an area where multiple murders of LGBTQ+ people happened and the police had no interest in solving them.
Since a young age Murray knew he would leave the island, and did so at 25. “I couldn’t take it anymore. I knew that staying would be a form of death, and with no options romantically, nor economically, as an out-queer person, my options were limited,” Murray shared.
Coming to New York, into a more diverse and accepting metropolis, he studied art history at Hunter College and worked professionally in art curation, including the well-known Basel and Frieze art fairs. After five years of managing projects and doing work behind the scenes, Murray realized he didn’t enjoy the work anymore, “the environment was toxic, competitive and fatiguing. It sucked the fun out of art.”
After losing the drive to produce and converse deeply about art, and overcoming personal struggles, it became unsustainable to stay in the high-demanding curatorial world. Throwing that life away and going back to an idea he had as a child, where he could create a coping world of his own, Murray gravitated toward baking, as a healing process.
Now, having lived in Bushwick for eight years, Murray calls the neighborhood lovingly, “a small town.” Soon after coming to L’imprimerie, Bushwick’s queer-owned French bakery, Murray started a job there as a barista, and later became the FOH manager.
After doing a cookie challenge, where he would bake a new cookie every week, playing with flavors, texture, and form, he left a Christmas batch of cookies for the owner of the bakery. The owner was surprised with the quality of the work and prompted Murray to start a pop-up and ensured that he’d have space and materials to make it possible. And thus, Mouthful was born.
The cookies have a queer element to them, as well as a humor. The cookies come in the form of Poppers, BDSM bears, pigs, PrEP Pills, and more. Murray wants to start a conversation about LGBTQ+ life and kink, where picking up a cookie can become a dialogue and raise awareness. He wants his product to be “cute and sexy,” empowering other queers and finding pride in their identities.
“Activism is banged on the head and it brings exposure and visibility in the long-term,” said Murray. “It’s not always the most fulfilling, and I needed something more healing, that’s where the baking came in for me.”
The curator in Murray created a story line through the cookies and gave them personalities. Through the lens of his sexuality and the many labels of being a polyamorous queer in Bushwick, he can now make light of that history and incorporate his story into his product for others to feel visible.
“It should make your face smile and your stomach smile,” said Murray about his cookies. “Something that makes you feel good.”
To make orders and to stay in the loop about upcoming pop-ups, you can contact Murray via his Instagram at Mouthful.
All images courtesy of Mouthful.
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