A Chat With Jaya Saxena -The Toast

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Home: The Toast

Mallory: ahoy
Jaya: hello!
I was just reading about sweet potato pie
Mallory: sweet potato pie is a fantastic pie
Jaya: it really is. I never had it until college but a professor gave me his recipe, and everyone loved it
Jaya: Thank you!!! The main thing to love is it was $20 on sale at Anthropologie
Mallory: DUDE.
Jaya: Where everything is $500 for some reason
Mallory: one of the saddest things that ever happened to me, fashion-wise
was that last year I bought an AMAZING gorgeous ball-gown type skirt at Anthropologie
I wore it to two events and looked INCREDIBLE
and then accidentally left it in Philadelphia
Jaya: nooooooooo
Mallory: it was the most I’ve ever spent on an article of clothing
and I was like, “that’s okay, I’ll wear this to every fancy dress event for the rest of my life”
and promptly lost it
i have not bought new clothes since
frankly I do not deserve them
Jaya: Oh that is the saddest
I’m trying to do that thing where I replace clothing with like, well-made expensive pieces instead of just buying 100 $5 t-shirts from Old Navy
it’s hard
but it’s okay, you can just save up for a bigger skirt
soon you will be more skirt than woman
Mallory: thank you
I appreciate it
HEY Jaya
Jaya: It seems like a good idea!
That I live here now, with you, on The Toast.
Mallory: It’s true!
You’re joining us as a Staff Writer and I’m SO FLIPPING EXCITED ABOUT IT
Jaya: I am honored that you are excited about it because I too am excited.
Mallory: we’re all excited
so you’re still going to be a freelancer, I should note
this is a regular but part-time gig
Jaya: Yes, my work will still be elsewhere, but more regularly here, which is great because nobody else would take posts like Red Pill, Blue Pill seriously.
Mallory: that’s how I LEARNED about Red Pills Blue Guys!
Jaya: I love that I got to introduce you to it, even though it makes not a bit of sense.
Mallory: (hang on two seconds just got a call from the sewer people)
(the actual sewer department not like…bad guys)
Jaya: Oh no the C.H.U.D.s!!!!
Mallory: ahahah
okay, BACK
so this means, for our readers who already know and love you, you will be turning up more regularly on a weekly basis, blogging about whatever it is that catches your interest
but editors should still feel free to GET AT YOU because you are still lancing freely
Jaya: I will lance all your content boils
Mallory: do you know I only JUST saw those cyst-popping videos this last month?
you know how that’s like super popular on line
people popping old zits and what have you
Jaya: It is! I have a friend who watches pimple popping videos to de-stress
Mallory: I’ve watched the most horrific, gruesome things on YouTube and yet I could never bring myself to watch these
I’ve seen the helicopter crashing over Chernobyl like 50 times
but I can’t handle pus
Jaya: I can see where the satisfaction comes from but oh my god why
Mallory: I have to know, Jaya
there’s a part of me that is just like: life can end in any one of a number of unimaginably horrific ways
and I have to know the worst
Mallory: would you like to say a little bit about yourself as a HUMAN and a WRITER for Toastrons who might not be lucky enough to know you yet?
Jaya: Okay, well as a human I very much am one
A woman, specifically, with hair
Mallory: all over, or just certain spots?
Jaya: Oh everywhere
Mallory: Jaya what if your nails and eyebrows switched places
Jaya: All about
Mallory: like if you had eyebrow hair on the ends of your fingers
and nails on your eyes
Jaya: I’d be GORGEOUS
Mallory: your eyes would be IMPENETRABLE
Jaya: Anyway I’m from New York and I still live here, and I’ve been writing professionally for about five years now, but transitioned to doing it full time last year and it’s been swell.
Oh! You may know me from Dad Magazine which is going to be a BOOK next year
Mallory: YES
and also Uncommon Courtesy!
Jaya: and I have ANOTHER BOOK on a TOTALLY UNRELATED TOPIC (historic cooking)
Jaya: oh and yes I am co-founder of the etiquette blog Uncommon Courtesy!
Okay The Book of Lost Recipes is all about old restaurants across America, most of which have been closed for some time, and how they represent how we ate and how that’s changed, but it’s also got a bunch of recipes you can make yourself
Sometimes I worry I write about too many things but nobody has stopped me yet
Mallory: I never will, Jaya
So you and I have known each other for a while now
before The Toast even was, I think??
Jaya: Yes! I met you when you were in New York for…something. And then we got lunch in San Francisco before the toast even had a name.
Mallory: yes! when Nicole and I were coming up with TERRIBLE NAMES
and I mean, I feel like on my part at least, I always knew I wanted to GET YOU for the Toast
Jaya: When it was a dad enthusiast listserv
Mallory: like, if we were playing Red Rover and picking teams, I was like, “we GOTTA get Jaya over here”
Jaya: That makes me feel so wonderful!!!
From the start I always felt like the Toast was a great home. Like you accept me at my weirdest.
Mallory: If there is a Toast ethos beyond just “Stuff Nicole and I happen to like” I feel like you definitely embody it
dad jokes, comics, old recipes, mangling old children’s books
Jaya: Yes! Oh I can’t wait to get back to mangling children’s books
I’m reading Pippi Longstocking and she is A TERROR
Mallory: have you ever read them before??
Jaya: No! I definitely knew who she was but she keeps bragging her father is a cannibal king and that is maybe not the best thing to be
Mallory: yeah, there’s some interesting colonialism in that series
I think it was written in the 40s?
and one of the sequels is set in “The South Seas”
Jaya: ooh boy. yes I keep running into that with a lot of these books.
The Little Princess is on my list so that’ll be fun
Mallory: SO I want to talk a little bit about how we were able to Part Time Hire you
because as you know
Nicole doesn’t take a salary
and we’re profitable as a site, but we can’t afford the kind of full-time salaries that other places do
so we’ve talked a lot, the two of us, about how we want to slowly expand
in a way that’s manageable
and recently we came into a bit of extra monthly money
and we were talking about, okay, how should we spend this
and an actual lightbulb went off over our heads
Jaya: duh on me
Mallory: and we both screamed Jaya
Jaya: hahaha
Mallory: and I called you IMMEDIATELY
like, while Nicole was drafting an email to you
Jaya: I want to talk about that phone call, because it was hilarious. It was basically like “Jaya, Nicole is going to email you this exact phone call but now I get to do it first”
I loved it
Not just because you were offering me a job/money but because it was so very you guys
Mallory: I am THE WORST at keeping secrets or holding back news
has it been really hard for you not to yell about this on Twitter
it’s been really hard for me
Jaya: I am so proud you’ve gone this long about this!
Mallory: THANKS
I mean I wanted to announce the second you said yes
but that was also the day we announced I had become Dear Prudence
and Nicole wisely pointed out that that was a lot of news for one day
also it wouldn’t make sense to announce three weeks before you actually started
Jaya: It has been. I’ve told friends and family, but it’s taken a lot not to be like LOOK AT ME, THIS SITE THINKS I’M WORTH SOMETHING
Mallory: I think you’re worth SO MUCH
honestly, you know how much I love you and Matt personally but just like, as a writer, I’m so glad you EXIST
Jaya: But also I try to be very zen and light a candle and think “my time will come”
Jaya: “baby, I think it’s time we shared media empires”
Mallory: lolllll
is there anything you want Toasties to know about your new reign of terror? do you want to be sent tips about gross old family recipes?
Jaya: I will try out any recipe you send me! Yes I’d love that. In terms of topics, I mentioned before I write about a lot of things, and I feel sort of like you and Nicole that it’s whatever strikes my fancy, whether it’s witchcraft or identity or old movies or songs from 4 years ago I just never got around to listening to
Mallory: what was happening for years ago
Jaya: Miley Cyrus???
Mallory: I mean to you, that you weren’t listening to music
Jaya: Did I not tell you about the coma?
(lol there was no coma I’m just slow with pop culture)
Mallory: ok I feel like we have done a good Chat
Jaya: Also I just thought of this, but I’m excited for the Toast because I always felt like it was a place where I could share opinions without them being Opinions
Mallory: yes!
you can fling out ideas when they’re still just Ideas
Jaya: it’s nice that I can share/write things and then six months later be like “okay I think a little differently now and that’s alright”
Mallory: and not necessarily announce your intention to die on a hill
it is!
i mean
one of the things that I think is great about what we’ve built
is that there’s a lot of creative freedom
Nicole and Nikki and I will offer each other feedback or ask each other for advice but we all are pretty laissez-faire about each other’s work
like, “GO FOR IT, you can always change your mind or say you were wrong later”
which is not to say we just fling half-baked ideas into the Idea Void
just, like, there’s a lot of freedom
Jaya: Right, but you recognize you’re humans whose opinions change sometimes
even if they were very thoughtful to begin with
Mallory: SOME of my opinions are thoughtful and some I will cheerfully admit are garbage
Jaya: oh wait I need a food opinion from you?
have you ever eaten at a california pizza kitchen?
Mallory: lol yes
my mom loves their iced tea

[At this point the transcript is lost to time.]

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