On A Stick! My new book is out today! And a giveaway!

My sister Angela got her book yesterday. Thanks Amazon!

Well whatddayaknow? Today is the relase of our first book, On A Stick!

I’m thrilled, elated, a bit nervous but happy that this book hits store shelves today. It was an incredibly fun project that required some state fair visits, tons of research and plenty of taste testing and you should know I gave 150% of myself to this book. Especially the tasting part :)

On A Stick! is a book about – wait for it, wait for it – FOOD ON A STICK. Ok, I’m being silly and knew you’d figure that part out, but this book is where high brow meets low brow, where favorite recipes meet new fangled ideas in some fun and silly ways. Are you seeing the parallel between me and the book? God I sure hope so!

When I began to discuss the idea with Quirk, my publisher, I knew there’d be so many fun moments in store but I also knew it’d be quite a bit of work to produce a cookbook. While I’ve photographed several books for others, this was the first that landed on my shoulders but you should know it was a team effort. None of it would have been possible without my rock, my live-in stylist and my husband Adam. And the same goes for Jenny Park, my tester, writer and assistant stylist. And also to Haley White, my intern at the time, who kept me company and provided valuable assistance and feedback during the process.  And also to our friend Eddie Vasquez who helped me sample item after item after item at a State Fair last year. Who says I don’t take my work seriously?

Top: Adam and Eddie conduct serious research at the San Diego State Fair last year and yes, they are Fine Art. Bottom: Adam enjoys a Hot Dog Covered In French Fries in Seoul, South Korea last week. The work never stops!


But back to the book!


I did my best to cover all my favorites on a stick, from party food to street-fair food to appetizers and desserts. And because there’s that natural thing that happens when you have food on a stick – you simply must dunk or dip it – I included several recipes for dips, marinades and sauces.

And then there are the photos. Fresh off of Susan Russo’s The Encyclopedia Of Sandwiches, I began to rub my eyes and pound my fists a few times as the challenges of photographing food stuck on sticks began to wear me down. It wasn’t easy! Luckily Margaret McGuire, Editor Extraordinaire, was there every step of the way to assist and inspire me with words of encouragement. And with Adam’s styling I think we pulled it off.

Let’s have a look at a few of the book’s images, shall we?

Chicken and Waffles On A Stick.  If you aren’t familiar with the concept of Chicken & Waffles then you need to get up on this! Based on the dish I love at Roscoe’s Chicken & Waffles I wanted to put it on a stick and drown the whole thing in syrup. Oh. My. God. No, you shouldn’t eat this everyday but for something different on a stick I do love it.

Coconut Shrimp. Not everything in the book is on a giant long stick reminiscent of state fair cuisine. These tender shrimp are dipped in shredded coconut and fried, a flavor combination creation in Heaven above. Serve with mango salsa and you have yourself a cute little appetizer. They pair wonderfully with cocktails, I’m telling you.

Fried Pickles. Oh puhleeese quit looking at me that way. You know you want some. And if you love them already then you know where I’m coming from. Again, excellent with cocktails or beer. Not that I drink all that often.

This Panzanella on a stick was the very first recipe I wrote and tested. I took them to a 4th of July bbq last summer (it’s been that long already!?) to test on a crowd and you know what? They loved them. It’s fresh, summery, with enough chewy croutons to give these skewers some substance. Secret admission: I was kinda hoping people didn’t like them so I could eat them all myself. I’m serious.

Popcorn Balls. Is there anything better than a sticky face and sticky hands? Not really. When we shot these I told Adam to leave them on my computer stand just in case I needed to photograph them again. I AM SUCH A LIAR! I left them there to eat over the course of the day which I did. Sticky camera and mouse be damned.

Fruit Salad Skewers. These make me happy. They’re easy to assemble and great for kids, but you know the best part about them? The fluffy sweet sauce that they’re dipped in. I’m going to leave it at that and encourage you to make them. And invite me over.  I’ll bring extra sauce.

Spaghetti & Meatballs On A Stick. When I traveled around with my advance copy of the book this photo was always met with laughter. Was it good laughter or bad laughter? No one would tell me. But go ahead, laugh if you want, this dish is delicious, silly, a bit labor intensive but guaranteed to make you, um, smile. C’mon, it’s on a stick. Enjoy and delight in the silliness of it all! Besides, it’s the only time you’ll be able to eat spaghetti and meatballs with one hand while holding a glass of red wine in the other. Another drink reference, must I see someone about that?

There are so many more recipes in this book, not all silly, either.

To celebrate the release of On A Stick!, I’ll be giving away 5 autographed copies! All you have to do is leave a comment below, it can be stick related or you can tell me how much you love corndogs, I’m easy! Just leave a comment and next Monday, May 9th I’ll pick 5 winners and write sweet nothings in your book and mail them to you! EASY! Unfortunately you must be in the United States to win and must leave your comment by 9am PST time on Monday the 9th. I’m so excited to send some lucky winners a book that I may just throw in a few secret surprises!

Visit Amazon.com to buy your copy today!


  1. says

    Food on a stick! Such a great book concept, combined with your beautiful photos this is sure to be a winner! Congrats!

  2. says

    Great work on the book, this looks top notch, as expected. The Panzanella on a stick looks fantastic. Your photography is incredible. Looking forward to getting my hands on a copy.

  3. says

    Your photos bring back a sweet memory of Ben Holtz as a toddler, eating two whole corndogs on a stick at the Del Mar Fair while sitting in a stroller…with Mother’s Day this weekend, these memories are precious! Your book is gorgeous….and whether I win one or not, it would be a great Mother’s Day gift! (but I’m wishing for an autographed copy!)

  4. says

    Congrats – I love your blog and I’m so excited for this book. I can’t wait to try some of these amazing recipes – living in LA for a few years brings back some chicken and waffle memories for sure.

  5. Kathy Firestone says

    Send me a free copy and I’ll celebrate with a PB&J on a stick! :-)

  6. says

    OMG spaghetti on a stick? That is one I have never considered and just seems crazy amazing. Want.

    Congrats on the book!

  7. Debbie Petrides says

    Oh oh, I’m a foodie too :) Congratulations on the new cookbook! If the recipes are as pretty as the cover, you’ll do great!

  8. Irene Sideratos says

    The recipes sound like something new and interesting to serve my grandkids. Can’t wait to try some of them.

  9. says

    Just discovered you through Bakerella – and just in time! Everything is definitely better (and more fun) served on a stick! Want to go on the book!

  10. Sharon says

    Matt, congratulations! The coconut shrimp and fried pickles caught my eye, however, I’m wondering if one of my childhood favorites made the cut. As a Brownie scout growing up in the South, one of my happiest day camp memories was getting to smoosh together hamburger meat, ketchup and mustard, wrap it in the shape of a hot dog around the end of a carved stick (early knife skills training), roll it in crushed potato chips, roast it over the open flames of the campfire, then serve it on a hot dog bun with mustard and pickle relish. Yum!

  11. Jurek Lipski says

    If you would be so kind as to include the fried pickles themselves, with the book, or a google map with gps coordinates to those pickles-I’d be ever so pleased.

  12. Jessica Karaiseky says

    Coconut shrimp on a stick?! Count me IN!! Congrats on the book!! Such an awesome idea!

  13. Jen Perry says

    OMG! Congrats! I cannot wait to break open this book-my sticks and skewers are at the ready! (but is there something in a tortilla AND on a stick?)

  14. Bri says

    I need to try the spaghetti on a stick, that looks amazing. You’re some kind of evil genius! Congratulations!

  15. Pamela Killingsworth says

    Oh how I would love to call my daughter for her 25th birthday, which just happens to fall on May 9 , and tell her I have won this wonderful book for her!!! Of course I would have to sneak a peak before sending it to her and know I would be going out and getting my own!!!! Looks fantastic! Congratulations!!!

  16. says

    As an American living in Europe where I so miss this kind of food, I actually found myself grinning as I read through this post! What a fun idea for a book and the photos and recipes you have featured here are fabulous! This book, the food would be so loved by my French husband (who has learned to eat the American way from me, even though it took him many years to be comfortable with it) and my sons who are forever in search of their American roots. Wow, would I love to surprise my guests (friends, husband’s co-workers or sons’ friends) with an entire buffet cooked from this book and watch them eating food on sticks! Ha! What great fun!

  17. says

    Yay Matt!!!! I want your book pleaseeeeeee :) Love the new header by the way. And I am so so happy for you and your new book celebrations! yaayyy Matt!

  18. Tracy Fritz says

    All the pictures look scrumptious. My kids love corn dogs. We have carnival’s every year at the local fire departments to raise money and one of the stands is a corn dog stand. We have to go just to get one. I’m with Aimee, spaghetti on a stick, crazy amazing!!! My kids would love that too. Congratulations on the new book!!

  19. Robb says

    OMG – I the book looks awesome! and the FINE ART photo is priceless!!!
    cant wait to try some of it – love me some “amuse buche”

  20. Lucy says

    Everything looks so goooooood:) Congratulations on your book. I would love to win one. Thanks:)

  21. says

    Spaghetti and meatballs is one of my all time fave dishes! But on a stick? Man, you’re a freaking genius! Also-fruit salad. You’re a man after my own heart. I’d love to win a copy-how fun would that be?! But even if I don’t, I’m getting a copy of your book. Food on sticks makes eating so much fun!

  22. Bud McDevitt says

    If it’s on a stick, it’s fun foods!! I am an at home “chef” for a family of seven. Oh-and as far as corn dogs go-I have to have one now! Corny huh? Looks like a great book.

  23. Tricia Gerlach says

    An answer to how to eat with one hand, hold my cold beer in another…while floating in the pool. Finally-my summer can officially begin. Congrats!!

  24. Moira says

    Anything a stick is great! My husband and I won’t miss the Minnesota State Fair and the opportunity to eat all kinds of things on a stick. I’d love your book and a chance to recreate some of our favorites, as well as lot’s of new ones. Your book looks fabulous!

  25. Natalie Arnold says

    I always thought that “On a Stick” would be a great eatery! Thanks for sharing, I’d love to read it in it’s entirety because this post is just teasing.

  26. says

    Congrats! It’s true everything is better on a stick…Is your book on a stick because if it were, YOu would be even more awesome.

  27. Eric says

    Fried pickles on a stick?! Don’t mind if I do…And also, a hot dog on a stick covered with french fries sounds like one of the greatest sinful pleasures ever created…

    Love the new header, too!

  28. Kate B says

    What a wonderful collection of recipes! I can’t wait to try them with family this summer :)

  29. bill lambert says

    Yeah stick food! just love the idea. Who doesn’t love a good corndog. My fav is fried cheese on a stick. BTW your photos rock.

  30. Anne B. says

    Happy New Book Day!!! Pictures are making me hungry!
    My first memory of food on a stick was the numerous corn dogs we inhaled at the 1968 HemisFair in San Antonio….the best thing we had ever had at a fair! (boy did I just date myself!)

  31. Raven Edwards says

    Wow! These recipes look totally awesome! I love the fruits and seafood choices especially, but know my kids will go crazy for the more “fair food” types of foods on a stick! If you should pick me as a lucky recipient of one of your coveted books, I would happily write a review of it. I love the idea of this book, what fun!!

  32. Andrea says

    Congratulations! Looks tasty! My favorites are fried pickles on a stick, YUM.

  33. Kristin says

    Matt! I am so proud!!!!
    I wish you had come to the NYS fair and sampled here (and of course people watched with me.) We have all kinds of food on a stick – I think its a requirement for a fair permit :)

    Best of luck to you!

  34. says

    How chicken and waffles on a stick has yet to be introduced into my life, I don’t know. But it needs to be. Now.

  35. Grace says

    I’ve always had an affinity for food on a stick. I remember has a child having a baby-sitter put all sorts of things from raw broccoli to cheese to pizza kabobs. There’s something terribly endearing about double-fisting deep-friend deliciousness, especially when you don’t even have to get your fingers all oily or sticky. Congrats on the new cookbook, I hope it does as well as you expected.

  36. Joanna says

    “On A Stick!” seems simply scrumptious. What an interesting cookbook with a lot of research. The possibilities are endless! I am hungry just looking at the sample photos. Best of luck on your new accomplishment ; I hope to see this wonderful book in my mailbox!

  37. Shelly Crawford says

    Fruit on a stick?! You are a genius! I’m going to give that recipe to my dietitian client. She teaches parents how to get their kids to eat healthier. Kids won’t be able to resist fruit and veggies if it’s on a stick!! It’s brilliant!!

  38. says

    Wow! I love food on a stick. Grilled meatballs, satay, and popsicles being my favorites.

  39. Cheryl says

    I dare say that nothing says summertime like food on a stick! My husband & I have actually contemplated starting up a fair-time stand called “Stick-It!” where people would pick from an unlimited selection of foods & we would place them on a stick & fry ’em up! We would really LOVE this book! Not only for more ideas, but I think I could lose myself in the beautiful imagery…perfect stress relief!

  40. says

    Clever ideas to serve foods with a ‘twist’ ~ This just might be the Go-To Entertaining Book of the Summer! !