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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{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

Ron & Susan Piljay April 5, 2012 at 2:47 pm

Healthy junk food…very interesting concept. Best wishes.


Jamie | My Baking Addiction April 5, 2012 at 4:46 pm

Congrats, Casey! I can’t wait to see all of your creations!


WINO April 5, 2012 at 5:44 pm

Fantastic. Good Luck. A nice bottle of wine is in your future with your publication!!


Rachel (Hounds in the Kitchen) April 5, 2012 at 8:46 pm

Great news indeed! Congratulations!


Becky April 6, 2012 at 9:40 am

So exciting! I love your homemade junk food recipes!


larry giannone April 6, 2012 at 8:23 pm

congrats casey cant wait


Rebecca Peters-Golden Rebecca April 9, 2012 at 8:57 am

Congratulations, Casey—I cannot *wait* to try these recipes!


sarah henry April 11, 2012 at 3:59 pm

Congrats Casey, I’m sure there’s a huge market for a cookbook like this. Even Michael Pollan says it’s okay to eat treats once in a while — if you make ‘em yourself.


Cara Alaimo April 12, 2012 at 9:31 pm

Good for you Case! I’m so proud. Best of luck.


LeeMichael April 20, 2012 at 4:25 pm

I’m so happy for you and so hungry for your book!! Very well deserved recognition of your talent! I’m hoping for a taste preview at NYE!


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