Growing up as a child in America, the majority of my favorite treats came out of plastic packaging. We were all being fed Twinkies, Ding Dongs, Oreos and more on a regular basis — but at that point, they weren’t nearly as full of modified starch and corn syrup (or we were totally oblivious to what that even was) and we were outside running around all day so we also weren’t worrying about childhood obesity around every corner.
So when Sasquatch Books contacted me about reviewing Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk by Lara Ferroni, I was all over that like a fat kid on one of those delicious little chocolate cupcakes with the white swirl down the center! I mean just look at the cover — who wouldn’t want to make all these yummy things at home?
About Real Snacks
Real Snacks is a delicious collection of 50 recipes spread over 192 pages. If you grew up loving junk food, whether sweet or salty, but have been denying yourself because you know it’s just not good for you, you are in luck. With this book, you can start enjoying homemade Twinkies, Ding-Dongs, Doritos, and Cheez-Its (and make them gluten-free or vegan if you like) and not have to worry about all those strange preservatives, modified starches and corn derivatives that you would be cramming in your mouth otherwise. Now you can make your favorite snacks at home with whole grains and natural sweeteners full of wonderful flavors and nutrients instead of artificial colors and preservatives.
The recipes are broken down into sweet treats and salty treats. A few sweet treats that I have my eye on are: mini-cake doughnuts, vanilla wafers, chocolate pudding ice pops, yogurt covered raisins and ice cream sandwiches. And on the salty side, cheesy fish, wheat crackers, nacho cheese tortilla chips, corn chip strips and hot pockets. Actually, if I’m being honest, I kinda want to try ALL the recipes in here, because many of these things you can’t even get in Germany (and of course Hostess products are gone for now anyway) but I can’t exactly list everything here at the moment.
And in addition to those you will also find an appendix that includes many “pantry” ingredients that you can make yourself which you’ll then use in the recipes. These include things like cheese powder, sour cream and onion flavoring, glazes, sprinkles, sweetened condensed milk and so on. Some of the
The Good and the Bad
- The photography! This book is worth buying just for the food porn. Seriously, it’s some of the nicest photography I have seen in a while and it’s not only delicious to look at, but fun too. The author should come out with a book about shooting food porn next. Oh wait — she’s already doing workshops for that!
- Special needs diets are considered! Gluten-free and vegan options are included for every recipe.
- You’ll get to explore more into the world of real foods. If you’ve never really been too sure about how to work with different types of flours or sweeteners… or what they even are, this book is great at not only explaining them, but also encouraging you to use them!
- Techniques and tools used in the book are also fully explained before you dive into the recipes.
The Not So Good
- Don’t be fooled into thinking that just because these are more wholesome recipes that they are “healthy.” Lara Ferroni doesn’t try to trick you into believing they are healthy either. But your brain might try to convince you of this just so you can eat homemade raspberry Twinkies and Pop Tarts for dinner tomorrow. On the other hand, it does take a bit of effort to make these recipes so you’re not likely to make Twinkies, Doritos, Cheez-Its and Ding-Dongs in one go, “forcing” you to eat everything within just a couple of days!
My Overall Thoughts
Honestly, I think Real Snacks is delicious and would be a great gift for anyone who loves food, who is on a real food adventure or who just loves looking at beautiful cookbooks. I love that the author has taken the time so thoroughly deconstruct the snacks I loved as a child and put them into this book. Pretty much every recipe in here is one you will recognize from the supermarket shelves, especially as you look at the images. And as a someone who loves to cook, I think it’s refreshing that someone would take those things that are so overly processed but familiar and show you that yes, you can indeed make them just a tiny bit more wholesome (if not a little healthier) and make them at home yourself. Sure it takes effort — but so do most types of cupcakes, treats, snacks and so forth. And each morsel of those goodies you make not only tastes better but can also make you that much prouder that you’re doing something good for your family and yourself.
Note: I received a copy of Real Snacks: Make Your Favorite Childhood Treats Without All the Junk to review from the publisher but the opinions expressed in this blog post are my own and were not influenced by the publisher. Also, there are affiliate links contained in this post which may earn me a few pennies if you buy this book via them.