Homemade Junk Food: The Cookbook

Casey Barber

by Casey Barber on April 5, 2012

We’ve had some fun travels down junk food memory lane over the past few years. Together we’ve chomped on Cheez-Its, gone wild for Cheez Whiz, flirted with Fig Newtons, puckered up to Pinkberry… and now there’s going to be a whole lot more on the plate.

homemade oreos
Yes, it’s true. I’m pleased as (Hawaiian Fruit) punch to share the news that my first cookbook, Homemade Junk Food, will be published in 2013 by Ulysses Press. And it’s going to be a full-on nostalgia-fest, covering all the salty, sweet, cheesy, cakey, creamy, deep-fried, and frozen bases: 70 recipes for homemade versions of classic treats from Sno-Balls and Fudge Stripes to Cool Ranch Doritos and pizza rolls. All the recipes previously published on Good. Food. Stories. will be tweaked and improved, and I’m working like a mad scientist to carefully craft each snack, making sure they mimic the taste and texture of the treats we grew up with as closely as possible.

I sincerely hope no one plans on counting the calories in these recipes. There won’t be any substitutions of applesauce for oil, and I’m not afraid to use (organic, trans-fat free) shortening when necessary for the perfect Oreo filling. But I’m most certainly avoiding long, chemical-laden ingredient lists in favor of unprocessed ingredients like real cream, rich butter, and freshly ground spices. It’s important to me to know where my food comes from and what it’s made of, whether I’m roasting a pork shoulder or baking a batch of Goldfish. And taking the time to make a plate of seasoned waffle fries—slicing potatoes, whisking batter, dipping each and frying by hand—lends a new appreciation to the process.

ice cream sandwiches
And there is real American history in each bite, which I’ll share with sidebars and factoids on the history and evolution of our country’s beloved junk food. Did you know ice cream sandwiches have been around since 1899 and came from the original food trucks—Lower Manhattan pushcarts? Or that French onion soup was purportedly invented by a California housewife? Or that the Kellogg’s factory in Battle Creek, MI can churn out more than 200 million Cheez-Its in a day? Mind-boggling.

If you’re interested in recipe testing—or just want to follow the progress of the book with sneak peeks and inside info—click over and like the Homemade Junk Food Facebook page or follow the book’s Twitter account: @JunkFoodatHome.

I’m so, so thrilled to bring this cookbook to life and I hope you’re excited too. Stay tuned!

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