“I never imagined when taking art classes at Bucknell that I would be styling pasta as a job, but here I am.”
Ever since college, Casey Barber '00 has been that friend everyone turns to for cooking advice. "I was probably the only person who came to Bucknell with a MultiPot and tongs, and was actually cooking on those rickety, electric-burner dorm stoves," she laughs.
The art history and English major has turned her passion into a career, as a food writer, illustrator and photographer. A typical day might involve writing or illustrating a feature story for publications like Better Homes & Gardens or food website The Kitchn, or creating and photographing new recipes to post about on her own website, Good. Food. Stories. (In one post, she writes about an especially memorable pasta dish she made as an undergrad, after moving into off-campus housing and having a proper kitchen for the first time.) She's also authored two cookbooks: Classic Snacks Made from Scratch: 70 Homemade Versions of Your Favorite Brand-Name Treats and Pierogi Love: New Takes on an Old-World Comfort Food.
Though Barber grew up in what she calls "a family of great eaters," she never imagined her career would someday revolve around food. She credits her time at Bucknell with helping her develop the autonomy to "figure out that I was enough of a self-motivator to actually work for myself," she says. That, and having parents who always encouraged her artistic side growing up — allowing her to draw anytime she wanted, frequenting art museums, and exposing her to great children's books, like Maurice Sendak's In the Night Kitchen.
After college, she completed a master's in journalism at Northwestern University, then worked as an assistant editor at First for Women magazine. From there, she worked at several PR agencies — one that focused on arts institutions, another on fashion — before deciding to go full-time freelance in 2009. As it happens, that was right around the time that foodie culture and food-related digital media took off, and the rest is history.
"I never imagined when taking art classes at Bucknell that I would be styling pasta as a job, but here I am," she says.