I Can Eat Any Food on a Stick
The best events in life are ones that include the option to eat food on a stick. Popsicles on the beach, kebabs hot off the grill in the sweltering depths of summer, happily munching on a corndog on the boardwalk. But for most of my life, I assumed that in order for your meal to be on a stick, it had to have certain qualities. It had to be the kind of satisfying-but-bland state fair food that can hold its integrity on a skewer. It couldn’t have multiple finicky components, and it couldn’t, surely, be for breakfast.
I was wrong. You can eat basically any food on a stick, including and especially breakfast. Oatmeal? Yup. Freeze that into a popsicle. Bloody mary? Uh huh—you can even eat that off a ring pop. With a little creativity (and, OK, the advice of actual food-creation professionals, like our in-house chef Jiselle Basile and senior food and drink editor Kat Kinsman) you can transform your entire brunch into a stick-able feast that’s handy, portable, and deeply impressive.
Our first challenge was turning the apocryphal cop breakfast of coffee and doughnuts into something you could eat off a stick. Obviously you could just put a whole glazed doughnut—or a row of powdered ones—on a skewer, but the coffee element posed a little bit of a problem. Simply dunking a doughnut kebab into a latte didn’t seem to be in the spirit of stuff on a stick, so we did some brainstorming, and the intrepid Kat Kinsman came up with a solution: doughnut-and-coffee ice cream frozen into popsicles, rolled in sprinkles for good measure. The trick is to soak doughnuts in milk before incorporating it into the ice cream mixture, and crumble a couple of those bad boys directly into the mold. Success! Who can argue with ice cream for breakfast?
The second on-a-stick meal was a bit trickier: chicken and waffles. Both fried chicken and waffles are easily skewered, but the question was how to incorporate the flavors of the condiments that actually make the dish so good—maple syrup and hot sauce. To achieve that sweet and spicy combination, we added maple sugar and Tabasco directly to the waffle batter. Then you just layer fried chicken (or chicken nuggets or chicken fries, whatever your preference) and squares of waffle. And at the end, you can add more maple syrup and hot sauce. All the messy splendor of chicken and waffles, but in a kebab-like structure.
Finally, we reached the pinnacle of things that you probably cannot eat on a stick unless you have run out of utensils and are surviving on takeout chopsticks, stabbing at your food at random. That’s correct: huevos rancheros. The idea of putting a dish that is a form of upgraded breakfast nachos on a stick may sound like madness. But you’d be forgetting that workhorse of stuff-on-a-stick cuisine, the magic ingredient in many a delectable county-fair on-a-stick creation: the deep fat fryer. Roll something in some batter, slap it in the fryer, and presto, it’s stick-able. Snickers bars, banana sandwich, whatever you got. (Not lettuce, though, or really any vegetable or fruit with high water content. That turns out terribly.)
To make huevos rancheros on a stick, first you have to believe they can be on a stick. Then you have to layer tortillas. Think of it kind of like tortilla lasagna, only every layer has a different ingredient: tortilla, salsa, tortilla, layer of egg white, tortilla, sautéed onions and jalapenos, tortilla, cheese, tortilla. Then you fold the whole thing in half, skewer it shut so it doesn’t fall apart in the frying process and just deep-fry that sucker. Once it comes out, slice it into wedges and put those wedges onto a stick. Yes. It’s huevos rancheros totally on a stick. If you feel extra daring (or you crave that runny yolk that completes huevos rancheros) you can do as Jiselle did, and whip together an egg yolk sauce. Just whisk yolks in a metal bowl over a pot of simmering water until they thicken. Add some salt and pepper. Dig in. Marvel at your life, for you have just made brunch on a stick. And if anyone calls your new only-off-a-stick diet foolish, you’ll know better. You can eat anything on a stick.