Thursday, March, 28, 2013
A couple of summers ago I set out on a journey with several friends to catalog 52 different Foods on a Stick. It was a great adventure and there was a lot of food sampled, most of it far from healthy and nearly all of it contained gluten.
Today’s the day we take back all that is impaled, skewered, speared and otherwise on a stick ! I’ve collected several of my favorite gluten-free Foods on a Stick to share with you. Happy National Food on a Stick Day!
From Shirley of Gluten Free Easily, Glorious Fruit Easily. Think Edible Arrangements, only DIY. Love this!
Debi of Hunter’s Lyonesse has created these beautiful Sangria Poptails. A combination of a popsicle and a cocktail? That’s a food on a stick after my heart!
This gorgeous Chocolate Covered Cheesecake on a Stick comes from Marcia at Sugar & Spice in the Land of Balls & Sticks. Shown here all decked out for Christmas, you could decorate these many different ways…or not at all. Cheesecake and chocolate on a stick? Yes, please!
Perfect for Spring, Jeanine at The Baking Beauties has created these adorable Gluten-Free Cake Pops.
How about Pizza on a Stick from The Gluten Free Bistro? Lots of possibilities here, and a fun one to make with kids in the kitchen!
For those of us still digging out from the snow, this Hot Chocolate on a Stick from Chocolate Covered Katie is perfect! I’m including this in my celebration today!
Check out the Tempeh and Cucumbers on a Stick from Averie Cooks. The Brown Sugar Balsamic Reduction Dip sounds so good!
Soon it will be time for fire up the BBQ grill. First on my list, these Marinated Veggie Kabobs from Megan at Allergy Free Alaska.
And last, a favorite from right here at In Johnna’s Kitchen, Sugar Cookies on a Stick.
Big thanks to all of the wonderful food bloggers who participated in this round-up. Click thru and visit their sites for many more original recipes!
Are you celebrating with us today? Got a favorite food on a stick? I’d love to hear from you!
Tuesday, October, 09, 2012
Today’s post is a guest post from my dear friend Debi of Hunter’s Lyonesse. I adore Debi, her quick wit and tell-it-like-it-is writing style. Be sure to check out her blog after reading this post. She shares great tales of gluten-free travel, life and lots of recipes that appeal to not only gluten-free folks but anyone who enjoys a bit of deliciousness.
The funniest thing happened on vacation while we were in the car on our way to the Los Angeles County Fair. Johnna texted me as soon as she saw on Facebook where we were going asking if I wanted to do a guest post. Seriously. I had just posted on Facebook minutes before I got the text. Johnna is funny like that. That’s just one of the many reasons why I love her and why I said yes.
When we go to any type of fair, I never know what I’ll be able to eat that doesn’t have gluten or dairy. Probably because when I think fair, especially state or county fairs, I think deep fried foods and anything sugary. So, I tend to avoid fairs. Unless they are Renaissance fairs and then I can have enough mead that I don’t even care about food.
No really. I love Renaissance fairs. But I digress.
We went to the Los Angeles County Fair with my bestie and her son, Little Obi-Wan. I was up for anything this vacation and I had snacks stashed in my camera bag should I need them. Rule #1 of living with food intolerances and allergies, always have something safe stashed in your bag just in case!
We let Little Obi-Wan lead us around at the fair and the other amusement parks we went to on vacation. That is, until it was time to move on. He loved the little hay maze for kids in the animal barn and didn’t want to leave. The “ride” that was really a big climbing adventure that ends in a long slide, he didn’t want to leave that either. Tears were shed, but we moved on with the promise of a doughnut at the end.
We finally decided to get some food after a morning full of animals and rides. I was spotting potential food the entire time we were walking around. The big potentials I had on my list, giant turkey leg or BBQ. I was even thinking grilled corn if it was unbuttered.
Then I got distracted by Mediterranean food. I thought, “Food on a stick! Perfect!” I knew I could get a good mix of protein and veggies from it, too. I figured I’d take the opportunity to be healthy at a fair.
I waited in line forever. The rather large family group in front of me was very needy and took their time ordering. And even when they were done, they weren’t done. It made the woman taking my order very distracted when I was asking her questions about the kebab plate I was wanting. I will generally ask what comes with something when it isn’t listed. So I asked what came on the kebab plate and she said the kebab, hummus, and a salad.
“That’s all?” I asked.
“Yes,” she answered staring at the men from the family group who were still being needy.
“Does it come with a pita?”
See. Sometimes you have to ask clarifying questions because the people serving you don’t even think about a pita coming with the plate as being important.
I placed my order and waited.
And saw my food waiting in the window. The cashier was too busy taking orders to get it. Meanwhile the half a dozen people in the trailer were too busy standing around talking to each other to leave the trailer to bring it to me. Ah, the joys of the staffing at the food vendors.
Little Obi-Wan was trying to dig the ice cream in the cone out with his tongue by the time I got to the table and a funnel cake sat in front of him. I quickly learned he decided Mommy’s ice cream cone should be his. Who needs funnel cake when there is ice cream to be had?
Chaz arrived with a plate of chili cheese fries piled high and shaped like a brick. I was surprised the plate didn’t break because there was so much on it.
I dug into the hummus. It was a bit salty. Almost like it came from a tub. Which wouldn’t surprise me. Then there was the “salad” of cucumbers and tomatoes. Nothing really to write home about. It was plain. And the kebab.
Oh, the kebab.
It was bland. Flat. Lackluster. Dry.
I sat there wishing I had stuck with the idea to get a giant turkey leg. I kept eating just because I was hungry and I knew I needed the nourishment. Only when I knew I had enough to hold me out for a few more hours did I stop. I normally only stop when I’m full. I hate that I wasted food, but I just couldn’t keep eating more than was enough. My bestie at least tried it when I was done.
It wasn’t a horrible fair experience. It was just a horrible fair food experience for me. I had a perfectly great time outside the lunch disaster. Watching trains with Little Obi-Wan. Checking out the wool that my bestie goes to the fair to buy. Walking through the buildings filled with vendors. Looking at the collection of Mr. Potato Head figures and Nancy Drew books. Cheering Little Obi-Wan on as he participated in a few games.
The best part was just being with Chaz, the bestie, and Little Obi-Wan.
Although Chaz and Little Obi-Wan would probably argue that it was the massive doughnuts they got as we were leaving. Little Obi-Wan’s plain doughnut sent him into a food coma in the car and Chaz decided to forgo dinner after all the calories he consumed from the Maple Bacon Doughnut. If I could have had a doughnut, I would have gone for the Maple Bacon Doughnut, too. That bugger smelled amazing.
Thanks to Debi for this terrific guest post. I almost feel like I’ve been to the fair after reading this and looking at the photos! Drop by her blog for more gluten-free travel and recipes.
Wednesday, September, 12, 2012
I was recently interviewed for a newspaper article about Food on a Stick. And somehow I managed to slide in both “moderation” and “healthy.”
Here’s the story, featured in the St. Joseph, Missouri, News Press. It was a delight being interviewed by Sylvia Anderson. (Shhh! I’ll tell you a little secret. I was interviewed by phone while sitting in a parking lot in Louisville, Kentucky…the parking lot of a grilled cheese and tomato soup restaurant that makes sandwiches on donuts. Yeah, this healthy thing, it’s gonna be tricky.)
Not shown is a recipe I developed for this story featuring a healthy-ish Food on a Stick, fruit kabobs with a honey yogurt mint dip. Watch for that soon, I AM going to redeem myself after years of sharing mostly deep-fried, not-so-healthy items. But again, moderation.
Friday, August, 31, 2012
While not on a stick, this one is definitely worth a mention here.
The Kentucky State Fair had Deep Fried Girl Scout Cookies this year.
Authentic Girl Scout cookies were dipped in a funnel cake batter and fried for about 30 seconds on each side. I paid $7 for a sampler of six cookies.
Included in the assortment were Thin Mints:
Tagalongs (Peanut Butter Patties where I come from):
John and Mark gave them a try. The Thin Mints weren’t popular, apparently that variety of mint in a hot treat isn’t delectable. The Tagalongs were better, but the Samoas were by far the favorite.
The State Fair of Texas was featuring a Samoa wrapped in a wonton skin and fried, then drizzled with chocolate, caramel, and coconut. Considering the guys in Kentucky enjoyed the Samoas the most, I’d bet on this one becoming a fair favorite.
Tuesday, June, 05, 2012
The time of year Food on a Stick fans most enjoy is quickly approaching. Fair season is right around the corner! I’m excited to see what new food finds I’ll discover this year.
While reports of new food offerings are slow rolling in, I did want to share a fun new page my friend Michelle from Statue Viva and Michelle’s Magical Poodles has created. Michelle will be at many Fairs this season and has started a page on Facebook, American Fair, to share photos of the Fair and the people who make it happen.
I’ll check back in soon with updates on my Food on a Stick findings this year. And if you’ve got news to share, comment below. I’d love to hear what’s happening in the impaled food world!
Friday, September, 09, 2011
My friend Greg Frisbee spotted these:
Bacon Wrapped Scallops at the Hopkington State Fair in New Hampshire. Looks like a great Fair Food find for $7!
Saturday, July, 16, 2011
|Poster from the Kentucky State Fair, 2010
52 Foods on a Stick has hit the big time…well, not exactly, but we got a little link in a news story.
Consumer Reports offers this article about fair food safety. It has several great tips, many that we should have followed in the Food on a Stick journey.
Be careful out there, impaled food fans.
Wednesday, July, 13, 2011
A Note from Johnna: My friend Jenny, a native of Tulsa, rounded up the final 7 Foods on a Stick. What a great way to end the journey, Foodie style. Read on…and enjoy!
Food on a Stick Research #46 – #52
Eaten and almost digested by Jenny Vergara at
The Tulsa State Fair 2010
Introduction: In terms of things to do at a State or County Fair, one would certainly rank eating right up there at the top.
In the early years of “State Fairhood”, one would find tents offering much simpler fare than the complex oddities that are offered today. Back then, it would have been considered a treat to enjoy a simple ice cream cone, some roasted nuts, a pretzel, cotton candy, soda pop or a hot dog. Then there is the Grand Pappy of all Fair food on a stick: the corn dog. The corn dog is one of my all time favorite treats on a stick. I love its sweet crunchy brown corn crust, and it’s hot, but tender, pink hot dog center, for me, always dipped in a bit of yellow mustard. Truly, food on a stick does not get much better than that.
As the technology in mobile cooking equipment improved, so did the options of fried things we could put on a stick. Our creative juices began flowing. No longer content with the old standbys, our mobile kitchen trucks allowed us the ability to fry almost anything that would hold still long enough to have a wooden stick shoved up its end.
Suddenly, we began seeing Fried Raviolis, Fried Candy Bars, Fried Stuffed Olives and Fried Cheese. Still clever, but these were still pretty standard types of food on a stick. Things we probably had eaten or seen before.
With the advent of Food Network and foodie culture, TV shows began to appear highlighting the best of the worst Fair food. That is what quickly set the stage for the more extreme items – Fried Conch, Fried Mashed Potatoes, Fried Alligator and Fried Butter etc. They are predicting that this year at the 2011 State Fairs across the country Fried Kool-Aid on a Stick will be the hot new food item. Can you imagine?
These mobile carts with their deep fat fryers, ovens and flat-top stoves on board, were the early adopters of our modern day street food or food truck fetish. Our earliest memories and experiences with Food Trucks in the Midwest did not happen on a busy street corner downtown, they happened at State Fairs.
So, let us wrap up the final 52 Weeks of Food on a Stick and celebrate this portable, affordable treat. . .if only once a year . . .when the Fair is in town.
#46: Sausage Roll on a Stick - In many donut shops across Oklahoma and Texas you will run across something known as a kolache. A kolache is a Czech term for the famous circular tart made of double-risen dough, with a center topped or filled with a sweet sauce made of poppyseed, cottage cheese, prunes or other fruit filling. The same shops that makes kolaches also happens to make sausage rolls from the same double risen dough. The only difference is inside of these they bake a plump sausage, just like a pig in a blanket. This version at the Tulsa State Fair was more like a toasted pita wrapped around a hot dog, than a true yeast roll. The hot dog did have cheese inside of it, which added something to the flavor, but the dough was a disappointment. Rating: D
#47: Pizza on a Stick – In my mind, I could not figure out how one was going to offer pizza on a stick. My imagination literally had envisioned a triangular piece of pizza with a stick baked in the crust. What we got instead was the biggest gut bomb of the night. It was the size of my shoe in length, heavy with dough and tomato sauce and pepperoni and cheese. It looked like a calzone on a stick, but when I bit inside I could see spiraling layers of tomato, cheese and pepperoni, as if they made a small pizza and then wrapped it around a paint can stir stick and baked it. The flavor of the pizza was average, similar to Chef Boyardee. The real issue was the pizza was chewy and so heavy that only a couple of bites were enjoyed before we realized we were not going to be able to finish it and the task at hand. So we moved on, after eating only a couple of bites. Rating: C
#48: Fried Brownies on a Stick – This rich sounding, indulgent bit of chocolate gooey goodness was something that I was really looking forward to wrapping my lips around. This was going to be my dessert for the whole night and I wanted to make it count. Unfortuantely, the reality did not match up to my fantasy. An icy cold block of brownie was taken from the fridge, dredged in a light batter and held by the stick in the fryer until it was almost golden brown. A dash of powdered sugar and it was ours to try. The first warm chocolate bite was delicious with the crunch of the crust, but as the oil began to leak out into the paper boat it was served in, we realized that this might kill us if we tried to finish it. Truth is, we really would have preferred just to eat the brownie by itself. Another thing worth mentioning is, I suppose you could have eaten it by the stick, but it was so heavy, that I was afraid to try it for fear of my fried goodness hitting the dirt before I had a chance to get it into my mouth. Rating: C
#49: Ham & Cheese on a Stick – This was, by far, the worst “food on a stick” experience all night. Billed as a Ham & Cheese on a Stick . . .again, I am picturing a Monte Cristo style of sandwich with layers of warm black forest ham and melted cheese on Texas Toast, dipped in batter and deep fried. No. Not. Even. Close. What I got was a corn dog filled with chopped ham salad and melted American cheese. It looked and tasted like baby food. It was mushy, and disgusting. I took one bite for the cause, and pitched the rest. Rating: F
#50: Manicotti on a Stick – This was actually like eating a very long, meat or cheese filled Fried Ravioli. It was golden brown and crispy with a warm and gooey cheesy center with a lovely side of marinara to dip it into. Not hugely, revolutionary . . .but delicious. Rating: A
#51: Fried Shrimp on a Stick - I knew I was in trouble when we approached this trailer on the outskirts of the State Fair, and inside were overall wearing, mullet-sporting, toothless old men drinking beer while the sign outside said “Pimps of the Shrimps.” I thought to myself this is either going to be the best Fried Shrimp on a Stick of my life, or the absolute worst. It sadly, was the latter. They had pre-cooked these Fried Shrimp skewers that had alternating hunks of white onion and shrimps, so by the time it was served to me from under a heat lamp it was luke warm, tough and chewy. So tough and chewy, that I could not even slide it off the wooden skewer to even eat it. It looked a little dodgy all the way around. Rating: D
#52: Deep Fried Butter on a Stick – The hottest new item to try at the 2010 Tulsa State Fair was the Deep Fried Butter on a Stick. We had a heck of a time locating the actual booth that was making them. Everyone we asked sent us off into the wrong direction, until finally with only 10 minutes before the Fair was to close for the night we managed to scoot in front of the right booth. Panting and dripping with sweat, we begged the guy who was shutting down for the night to make us one last batch of the Deep Fried Butter. He took pity on us, and made them for us. It was the most delicious thing I put into my mouth all night long. No lie. Frozen butter balls are dipped in batter and deep-fried into balls. The curious part is once you bite into them you do get a pleasant release of butter, but the balls are mostly hollow with the butter just cooking right into the batter shell it was encased in. It was like the best, most buttery, funnel cake you ever tasted, and I loved it, even if my waistline didn’t. Rating: A
What an amazing way to end the 52 Foods on a Stick round-up! Thanks to Jenny and all of the intrepid foodies who joined me in the fun. I appreciate all of you for your adventurous culinary spirit and wanton calorie consumption! –Johnna
Wednesday, July, 13, 2011
Awhile back I mentioned a fun food find from Marcyzk Fine Foods in Denver. These were spotted at the same terrific store. They are one of very few Foods on a Stick well-suited for travel. I brought these home to KC and tried them in my kitchen.
Choc-O-Lait is a block of Belgian chocolate on a stick, intended for use in a hot beverage. The company suggests adding one to milk to make hot chocolate. I tried the milk chocolate variety in a cup of hot coffee:
While not suggested for use in coffee, it resulted in a nice sweet treat in a hurry. It was better than the $5 coffee drink available at the drive-thru of my nearby coffee option and took less time to make.
The cointreau variety was used in a cup of hot almond milk, to create hot chocolate. It made the best hot chocolate I have had in a long time, with just a hint of bittersweet orange flavor.
I think the Choc-O-Lait would make a nice gift, but isn’t something I plan to keep in the pantry. I might buy a few the next time I’m in Denver to pack in my travel food kit, for chilly nights when I’d love a hot chocolate that is a big step up from the usual powdered mix.
Wednesday, July, 13, 2011
|Photo Courtesy of Betsy at www.BetsyLife.com
Richard spotted the Zucchini Weenie at the Big Fresno Fair . It’s a hollowed out zucchini stuffed with a hot dog, then dipped in corndog batter and fried. While it doesn’t quite fit the new MyPlate food recommendations, I think it is close. Add a little fruit and some sort of dipping sauce that contains dairy and you’ll have a well-balanced meal, on a stick!
While researching the Zucchini Weenie, I read Betsy’s step-by-step recipe for making your own Zucchini Weenie. How fun is that?!? I love this, it requires power tools (a drill) and is deep fried. Click on over to
a DIY Zucchini Weenie from BetsyLife for the full scoop on how to make this yourself!
Tuesday, July, 12, 2011
We went to the 49th annual Greek Festival at the Annunciation Church in Kansas City and met friends there for an afternoon of eating and music. There were only a couple of Food on a Stick items at the festival, both thin pieces of meat on a skewer, Svoulaki.
Here’s where you have to use your imagination to picture what it looks like. The photos, all of them, from the Greek Festival, have gone missing. The photos of Todd eating pork Svoulaki and Emily eating chicken Svoulaki have flown the coop. The photo of the $25 box of Greek pastries my husband bought from the church ladies is gone.
It was a fun place to round up food on a stick. I’ll keep looking for the photos and you keep looking for more food on a stick for us to try!
Wednesday, June, 29, 2011
Zaq made this find at the South Plains Fair in Lubbock, Texas. It’s Bacon Cheddar Cheese Mashed Potatoes on a stick, served with a side of ranch. Of course it was ranch…
Zaq said this, “Awesomeness on a stick! It had bacon chunks in it with the melty cheese. Crispy, light batter on the outside.” He mentioned they also had a garlic version and said it was good, too.