On a Stick by Matt Armendariz – review

It’s a book to bring a smile. Food served on skewers: mouthwatering titbits stuck with delicate picks or substantial chunks on batons. Everything here is poked and presented in stylish fashion, from bits one nibbles in polite company to deep-fried and delectable munchies that one would prefer not to share.

On a Stick Food is so often the garnish to conviviality. We invite friends over and we enjoy spoiling them with attractive things to eat. Yes, a meal will often fit the bill but maybe it’s lighter fare we are after. Perhaps the occasion calls for a grazing menu. This book suggests striking and delicious solutions to all your dilemmas …or at least those that combine fun and food.

Matt Armendariz has penned 80 recipes for stick-suspended morsels for both adults and kids, for formal and casual get-togethers and for savoury snacking or dessert devouring. There are recipes for the noble and health-obsessed and others for the rest of us. This is food that will either charm you or make you laugh. Some classics and some adaptations of familiar food combinations.

Antipasti Skewers illustrate how sophisticated yet casual this concept can be. Matt presents Pickled Peppers stuffed with Feta Cheese accompanied with a slice of salami, and Pepperoncini paired with Marinated Artichoke Hearts. Add various kinds of stuffed olives and mozzarella to the selection and the combinations are without end. Ideal for a summer evening of prosecco and friends.

One could envisage an oriental theme of toothsome picks. Chicken Satay with a Peanut dipping sauce on bamboo spikes, Chinese Five-Spice Skewers full of aromatic flavour, and Chinese Meatballs served with Sweet and Sour Chilli Sauce would make a splendid display for perhaps a Chinese New Year party. You could consider adding some Crispy Orange Beef Skewers for those with manly appetites. All of these could be served on or off skewers along with rice for a light lunch.

An All-American evening of sport could be enhanced by some All-American food. Chicken and Waffles sounds an unlikely marriage but it’s popular in a chain of restaurants in the US. Chicken is marinated in herbs and spices overnight. It’s coated in a sweet batter and then it’s deep-fried.  The author suggests a dip of maple syrup but I might go the piquant route myself.  Spicy Cajun Skewers are also truly American but they are more delicate than the stuffed waffles and will work well with the bottles of Bud that those lads will have brought with them.

If you have a sweet tooth then you will find plenty at the back of this book to inspire you. Deep-fried Candy Bars are a take on the Scottish staple of deep-fried Mars Bars. If you want to feel noble then some fruit would be in order. Matt has Frozen Bananas covered in Chocolate. These are simple and well worth trying; a cooking project for the kids who will love this unique confection. Those bananas are a little like ice-cream.  Frozen Elvis, on the other hand, is a frozen chocolate banana with bacon and peanut sprinkles. An intriguing preparation of sweet and salty.

On a Stick is a book for adults who want to throw classy and chic cocktail parties. It’s a recipe collection to delve into when one is planning a kid’s bash, and one for preparing hearty fare for boys’ nights in. Food is to be enjoyed and it’s never more entertaining than when it’s served on a stick.

On a Stick
Author: Matt Armendariz
Published by: Quirk Books
Price: US $16.95, Can $18.95
ISBN 978-1-59474-489-1


Cookbook review by Chrissie Walker © 2018