Review & Giveaway: On a Stick! 80 Party-Perfect Recipes

On a Stick!
Does food really taste better on a stick? It’s trendy and portable but a bamboo skewer is still not a magic wand. For the same reason ice cream tastes better in a cone and Chinese food tastes better with chopsticks, some foods are better eaten on a stick. It’s not scientific, but presentation plays a role in the way we enjoy our food; we eat with our eyes first.

These days shish kabobs and corn dogs aren’t the only thing served on a stick anymore. Ever since Starbucks came out with their cake pops, inspired bakers everywhere have started poking sticks into baked goods, candies and other desserts. Could it be the next whoopie pie?

If that’s the case, Matt Armendariz, food photographer and author of On a Stick: 80 Party Perfect Recipes, is ahead of the game. The cookbook, released in May, is a feast for the eyes. Armendariz showcases his food styling skills with 80 creative, assembly-required recipes. I was doubtful at first about some of the creations. Spaghetti and meatballs just doesn’t belong on a stick, but somehow Armendariz almost has me sold: swirls of spaghetti studded with little meatballs are frozen mid-spin in a deep fryer. Potato chips on a stick just seems impossible, and pizza on a stick? It’s already easy enough to eat with your hands. But sticking a skewer through a piece of meat doesn’t count, Armendariz re-forms meals to fit the stick.

Not only is this cookbook great for on-a-stick disciples, it’s also fun for dippers. You know, people who’d rather dip and dunk their food than smear or spread. Armendariz lists 24 homemade dipping sauce recipes from spicy to creamy and salty to sweet. Each recipe has a sauce pairing suggestion and a specific stick recommended. The first few pages showcase a selection of utensils like cocktail picks and de-leafed rods of rosemary.

While not all of his recipes are college-kitchen friendly, substitutions can be made easily. When I made the Fried Mozzarella, I didn’t didn’t have cocktail sticks so I slid a bamboo skewer through the fried cheese and used leftover small mozzarella balls instead of large chunks. It turned out great and it was fun to slide the cheese balls off the stick.

The cookbook is great for entertaining. Make a batch of appetizers on a stick and the only clean up after the party are cups, napkins, and a game of pick-up sticks. However, I attempted to make a meal out of on-a-stick foods, which I don’t recommend. Foods on a stick are better eaten when mingling at a party or walking around a street fair.

So a pile of dirty sticks later, what’s the verdict? Food on a stick is more fun, no question, but no matter how many sticks you poke into fois gras I will still not eat it.

Read on for a sneak peak at one of the recipes, and comment below for a chance to win a copy of your own! To enter the On a Stick giveaway, you must:

  • Leave a comment below and tell us your favorite finger food to eat at parties
  • Be a subscriber to the SKC newsletter. (we’ll check!!)
  • Become a fan of our Facebook Page
  • (Extra Entry) Tell your facebook fans about this contest – post the link and @Small Kitchen College
  • (Extra Entry) Tweet about this contest @BGSKCollege

Alexia Detweiler is a freelance food writer based in Westlake Village, CA. Her ideal date meal is sushi, which probably tastes even better on a stick.


Spaghetti and Meatballs on a Stick
Makes 8

8 popsicle sticks
5 cups plus 3 tbsp vegetable oil, divided
1/2 lb cooked spaghetti
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

1/2 lb lean ground beef
2 tbsp minced yellow onion
1 garlic clove, minced
1 egg white
2 tbsp seasoned bread crumbs
salt and pepper, to taste

Line a baking sheet and shallow baking dish with parchment paper.

Make the meatballs: Place all meatball ingredients in a medium bowl and mix until well combined. Shape into 1-inch balls and place on the prepared baking sheet.

Warm 3 tablespoons of the vegetable oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add meatballs and cook, turning to brown all sides, until just cooked through. Remove from heat and let cool.

Gently toss meatballs, spaghetti, marinara sauce and Parmesan in a large bowl until thoroughly combined. Place mixture in the prepared baking dish, cover, and refrigerate at least 12 hours or up to overnight.

Preheat the remaining 5 cups of oil to 350°F. Cut chilled pasta mixture into 8 equal squares. Remove squares from baking dish and insert a pop stick into each. Carefully place spaghetti sticks into pot, one at a time, and fry about 6 to 8 minutes, or until golden and crispy. Drain on paper towels, season with salt and pepper to taste, and serve warm.

Recipe courtesy of On A Stick! Check out Matt’s blog at

Originally posted on Wednesday, August 31st, 2011

27 Responses to “Review & Giveaway: On a Stick! 80 Party-Perfect Recipes”

  1. Mia

    September 1st, 2011

    Entered! My fav finger food is…. chips and dip!

  2. Christie

    September 1st, 2011

    Definitely mini bruschetta and/or a great antipasti platter

  3. Belle

    September 1st, 2011

    I absolutely love some really nice marinated olives! And I’ll always be a sucker for shrimp cocktail…

  4. Laura

    September 1st, 2011

    I love to eat pigs-in-a-blanket

  5. Kristin

    September 1st, 2011

    Pigs in a blanket! Easy to make, easy to eat, and an easy way to happiness!

  6. Ciara

    September 1st, 2011

    Chips with spinach and artichoke dip. Yummmm!

  7. Sherri

    September 1st, 2011

    Lil smokies in bbq sauce
    Liked your FB page, subscribed and commented!

  8. Eleni

    September 1st, 2011

    I’m a sucker for single serving spinach and cheese phillo pies.

  9. Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray

    September 1st, 2011

    Oooh, my favorite party finger food is *definitely* the mini spring roll. Spicy dipping sauce = a must have!

  10. Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray

    September 1st, 2011

    Just subscribed to the newsletter.

  11. Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray

    September 1st, 2011

    Already a fan of the FB page!

  12. Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray

    September 1st, 2011

    And shared the giveaway with my fans (via the Chip Chip Hooray page).

  13. Tara @ Chip Chip Hooray

    September 1st, 2011

    And just tweeted the contest. :) Whew!

  14. Adrienne

    September 1st, 2011

    At parties, I like to eat hummus with crackers or chips. Always tasty and pretty filling.

  15. Adrienne

    September 1st, 2011

    I tweeted about the giveaway :)

  16. Kay

    September 1st, 2011

    Chips and salsa, pigs in a blanket- I love almost all finger foods haha.

  17. Kay

    September 1st, 2011

    I subscribe to your newsletter!

  18. Kay

    September 1st, 2011

    I Like you on Facebook!

  19. Mirakol S.

    September 5th, 2011

    Hmm…this is a toughie! I must say it’s a big tie between cheese sticks or fried pickles…hmm, maybe fried ravioli or macaroni and cheese. Wait…that’s all fried! Haha! Well, I am from Texas ;) I really do like plain ole chips and dip though :)

  20. Traci B.

    September 6th, 2011

    Entered – my favorite party food is salsa and chips.

  21. Ladytink_534

    September 6th, 2011

    Pigs in a blanket or cookies.

  22. Ladytink_534

    September 6th, 2011

    I LIKE you on FB~ Jen Tink

  23. Ladytink_534

    September 6th, 2011


  24. Ladytink_534

    September 6th, 2011


  25. Robin

    September 6th, 2011

    Deviled eggs, with a pinch of paprika dusted on top!

  26. Mia J

    September 8th, 2011

    I like veggies and dip.

  27. Mary Ward

    September 8th, 2011

    I love cheese sticks for a finger food. And I’ll never turn down taquitos!

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