McDonald’s McMuffin is a family of breakfast sandwiches sold by the international fast food restaurant chain McDonald’s. The Egg McMuffin is the signature sandwich, which was invented in 1972 by Herb Peterson to resemble eggs benedict, a traditional American breakfast dish with English muffins, ham, eggs and hollandaise sauce.
It used to be available only for breakfast
On a Tuesday in October 2015, McDonald’s made a move that would change the course of culinary history forever. Before that fateful day, the hangry and hungover would have to scramble out of bed and speed to their nearest McDonald’s. For you see, there was once a time when McDonald’s stopped selling their prized Egg McMuffins at exactly 10:30 a.m. every day. It took years of loyal customer pleading, petitioning, and Tweeting to convince McDonald’s to start offering extended breakfast hours. Nowadays, you can roll up to most McDonald’s any time of day or night to order an Egg McMuffin.
The Egg McMuffin’s inventor had to pull a few tricks to get it on the menu
Like personal computers, bicycles, and other world-changing inventions, the Egg McMuffin wasn’t initially appreciated for the genius idea it was. “… it was a crazy idea — a breakfast sandwich,” McDonald’s President Ray Kroc wrote in his memoir. The aforementioned “crazy idea” was dreamed up by one Herb Peterson, a McDonald’s franchise owner with three locations in Santa Barbara, California. The aforementioned “crazy idea” was dreamed up by one Herb Peterson, a McDonald’s franchise owner with three locations in Santa Barbara, California. It took six years to get the Egg McMuffin on menus of McDonald’s nationwide. By 1976, however, Americans were hooked.
The Egg McMuffin single-handedly spearheaded the fast-food breakfast industry
The Egg McMuffin entered the world when most fast food establishments didn’t open until 11 a.m. and when eating fast food for breakfast was kind of weird. Before the Egg McMuffin, “breakfast tended to be a sit-down occasion,” Bob Goldin, food industry consultant at Technomic, explained on All Things Considered. Families gathered around the breakfast table for pancakes, eggs, and bacon. Running late? You might be out of luck and forced to head to work hungry. The breakfast sandwich fulfilled a need the busy American worker had been craving for too long: a quick, cheap, convenient breakfast that could be eaten on-the-go. Nowadays, most Americans wouldn’t have it any other way: consumers expect that breakfast be one of the most convenient meals of the day.
Here’s why the eggs are perfectly round, every time
Speaking of perfectly round eggs, let’s go back to 1971, when Herb Peterson was playing around in his kitchen, experimenting with hundreds of different prototypes of the breakfast sandwich. Herb knew that his beloved Eggs Benedict was far too messy to be scarfed down with one hand on your way to work. He solved the issue of gooey hollandaise sauce by replacing it with cheese and butter. But making the eggs portable was trickier. Herb commissioned a local blacksmith to create a stainless-steel, teflon-coated, six-ring tool to cook the egg into a neat, perfect circle that fit onto the muffin perfectly. To this day, McDonald’s use a similar contraption to create perfectly round eggs for their Egg McMuffins.
It’s not as unhealthy as you think
McDonald’s gets a bad rap as being the quintessential purveyor of unhealthy American cuisine. To the company’s credit — they’re making major strides to provide healthier options these days. But long before ditching the artificial preservatives in McNuggets and soft serve and taking soda off the Happy Meal menu, McDonald’s offered at least one kinda healthy food: the Egg McMuffin. The Egg McMuffin is made with a real egg that is poached and not fried. Your classic sandwich has a small circle of Canadian bacon, a single slice of American cheese, and real butter. Together, this totals to 290 calories, 12 grams of fat with about six of those grams coming from saturated fat, 17 grams of protein (34 percent), and 29 grams of carbs (10 percent). In terms of unhealthy breakfast options, you could definitely do a lot worse.