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Ode to the English McMuffin – Updated

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Herb Peterson

Herb Peterson

A sad day passed on March 25, 2008, when Herbert Peterson, inventor of what the Associated Press deems the “ubiquitous” Egg McMuffin, died at 89.

The image (right) comes from the AM New York Blog c/o the Associated Press.

A longtime franchisee and former vice president of McDonald’s advertising firm, Peterson introduced the signature McDonald’s breakfast sandwich in 1972 in one of his own restaurants.

Legend has it that Peterson was partial to eggs benedict and wanted to make it convenient and portable. Traditional Eggs Benedict is an open face sandwich preparation that consists of half an English muffin, topped with ham or bacon, soft poached eggs, and hollandaise sauce. Peterson’s replaced the hollandaise sauce with a slice of processed American cheese. He formed the egg on the griddle with a Teflon circle and broke the yolk. He served everything on a toasted buttered English muffin with a slice of Canadian bacon. Initially, it was served open-faced, but customers quickly discovered that the firmed egg and cheese slice allowed the McMuffin, when sandwiched, to be eaten, one-handed and while driving.

Today, the McMuffin is recognized world-wide as a quick breakfast. As an example, here’s a McDonald’s breakfast featuring a Sausage McMuffin. I picked it up at a McDonald’s franchise (1880 Carling Avenue) on my way to Bayshore one morning.

Sausage 'n Egg McMuffin

Sausage ‘n Egg McMuffin

Firmed Egg

Firmed Egg

Greasy Sausage Patty

Greasy Sausage Patty

Hash Brown

Hash Brown

Essentially, the Sausage ‘n Egg McMuffin is a patty melt. The sausage however is quite greasy and easily passed the napkin window test. The firmed egg was also haphazardly done.

Cost: Sausage McMuffin ($1.31) + Hash Brown ($1.19) = $2.88 (including taxes)

The McMuffin breakfast sandwich form has also been widely adopted by many a food court restaurant to serve the hurried masses on their way to work. Here are two examples:

Firstly, here’s a “pre-packaged” Egg McMuffin from Le Marché Info Deli at Place du Centre in Gatineau:

Pre-packaged Egg McMuffin- Front

Pre-packaged Egg McMuffin- Front

Pre-packaged Egg McMuffin - Back

Pre-packaged Egg McMuffin – Back

Cross Section

Cross Section

This McMuffin preparation features real bacon, a fried egg, and sliced mozzarella cheese. It is served chilled to room temperature, wrapped in plastic. At $2.98, it is a poor value when compare to the made-to-order McDonald’s egg McMuffin, which is served hot.

Secondly, here’s an “back to basics” Egg McMuffin from the Teryaki Kyoto Sushi Bar at Place Du Centre in Gatineau (and no, I’m not kidding!):

Teriyaki Kyoto Signage

Teriyaki Kyoto Signage

Back to Basics Egg McMuffin

Back to Basics Egg McMuffin

This McMuffin preparation features real crisped bacon, a griddle fried egg, and a slice of processed American cheese. Best of all, this toonie ($2.00) sandwich is made to order, so it is served hot. Why do I consider this “back to basics”? Well, it more closely resembles its inventor’s intention: a portable eggs benedict. Cold eggs benedict isn’t edible.

Unfortunately, according to August 18th’s (2008) Source, Sun Media’s Ottawa edition of its free commuter newspaper, an Egg McMuffin (sans sausage or bacon) carries a whopping payload of 300 calories.

Here is the breakdown:

  • 300 calories
  • 12 g of fat (5 g saturated, 0 g trans)
  • 260 mg of cholesterol
  • 820 mg of sodium
  • 30 g of carbohydrates
  • 2 g of dietary fibre
  • 3 g of sugars

That’s quite the caloric punch for a mere 139 g (4.8 oz) breakfast sandwich.

I guess there’s always a price to pay for convenience. Then again, I’ve a feeling that Herb Peterson didn’t intend his sandwich to be a daily occurrence. It doesn’t make a lot of sense to eat eggs benedict (egg McMuffin-style or otherwise) everyday.

Mild-mannered IT professional by day and food blogger by night, I founded foodiePrints with a single intention, to share my love of all things food. My first post shared a recipe. Many followed. Eventually, I learned Ottawa prepares and serves great food. Thereafter, I started meeting restaurateurs, chefs, cooks, farmers, and other local producers, all good people. Ideas for food-related content swirled in my head. foodiePrints grew into a place to put them. From exploring foreign and domestic cuisines to shopping for exotic ingredients and cobbling together my takes on dishes in my meager kitchen, there are stories to tell. Welcome to foodiePrints. Here, you will find stories about food and drink, cooking, and eating in Canada’s capital. Be it food-related or just food-for-thought, I hope you find something tasty here.