Top five things we love about the Egg McMuffin

Happy fortieth birthday, Egg McMuffin! McDonald's signature breakfast sandwich hasn't changed a bit over the past four decades -- unless you listen to fast-food conspiracy theorists who gas on about how the portion sizes have been systematically decreased by a pinch every so often. The 40-year-old McMuffin is still America's favorite drive-thru breakfast, a wondrous combo of toasted English muffins, egg, Canadian bacon, margarine and melted American cheese.

To celebrate the Egg McMuffin's big birthday, we could take it to a strip club, get it wasted on well vodka and dare it to pee in a public park, or just give you our list of the top five things we love about it -- with no rotten hangovers and no criminal charges.

5. It's fast.

Drive-thrus at McDonald's are the best inventions ever. You roll up, give some faux-exultant employee money, and within a few minutes you'll get a warm, crinkly white paper bag filled with occasionally hot, crinkly yellow paper-wrapped Egg McMuffins that, once the paper is breached, will deposit pockets of grainy cornmeal in the tiny stitching-fissures in your car seats. The McMuffin grit will remain there forever -- no amount of detailing will ever get every little particle. But that's a small price to pay for being served breakfast in less time than it takes to select a box of cereal at the grocery store.

4. It's cheap.

For under five bucks (prices vary in Hawaii and some red states), you can get an Egg McMuffin combo meal with an a.m. sammie, coffee or juice and one of those greasy, oval tater-tot patties. What else can you get for under a fiver that is even half as satisfying first thing in the morning? (With inflation, you can't even purchase a wakey-wakey hummer for under a foldy Jackson pic.) And sure, you could hit the Piggly Wiggly and buy all the makings, but have you priced a package of Canadian bacon lately? It might be cheaper to line homemade egg-a-muffins with shaved white truffles.

3. It's filling.

And speaking of filling, eggs are one of the best stomach-satiation grub-ables, and McDonald's has perfected slathering them with liquid margarine, presumably to make them easier to scrape off a flat grill -- but also to boost their flavor profile. And while eggs have been classified as bad...then good...then bad again...they're now back at good, thanks to the American Egg Board's mass-marketable slogan (The Incredible Edible Egg!). So now we can eat our morning McMuffins unencumbered by guilt. At least until margarine pisses off someone important with too much Web MD time.

2. It's readily available...mostly.

There are McDonald's restaurants everywhere. Even though the chain isn't quite as prolific as Starbucks (but then, McDonald's coffee drinks taste like cups of pureed assh*les), you shouldn't have a problem getting Egg McMuffins, at least until 10:29 a.m. Yes, 10:29 a.m., because if you've ever tried to get breakfast after that particular time, then you already know that it would be easier to grow a garden of daisies in your armpits.

1. It's made of real-food things.

One of the many running jokes within the overworked bowels of the food industry is how far too many packaging ingredient lists contain food additives that no one can pronounce, and it takes the amount of cognitive dissonance that could fill several dump trucks to eat these foods and not be concerned. But Egg McMuffins are made with real things. They were created by a guy named Herb Peterson -- back in the days where you could have a real name like "Herb" -- who was screwing around with a recipe for eggs Benedict. Egg McMuffins are elegant in their simplicity -- they have easily identifiable, whole ingredients like muffins, eggs, Canadian bacon, cheese and margarine. It's too bad Hollandaise sauce didn't make Herb's original cut, because that stuff is disgustingly delicious -- but nutritional breakdown of the Egg McMuffin couldn't handle the added stress. One of them contains 300 calories, 12 grams of fat, 30 grams of carbohydrates, 820 milligrams of sodium and 260 milligrams of cholesterol.

And you are probably going to eat two of them.

Happy fortieth, Egg McMuffin.

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