Mount Rushmore: Egg McMuffin Edition

They say breakfast is the most important meal of the day.  I beg to differ.  I rarely, if ever, eat breakfast.  In part because I’m usually not very hungry in the morning.  But mostly because any breakfast worth it’s salt (and, yes, ideal breakfasts are savory… or at least have a savory component) takes more time and effort than is usually available in the morning.  If you offered me a perfectly made omelet every morning, I’d be unlikely to turn you down.  But who has the time to dice the tomatoes and onions, shred the cheese, slice the mushrooms, and do whatever prep work a good omelet requires?  No one.  That’s who.

Where was I?  OH YEA!  The Mount Rushmore of breakfast meals.  First, some ground rules. While I am not one for abiding by the nonsensical rules that attempt to arbitrarily dictate which foods should be eaten at what time of day (why the fish can’t I have a hamburger for breakfast?), for the sake of this argument, we are going to stick to fairly traditional breakfast meals.  This means no dinner or lunch meals and, sadly, no brunch.  Yes, the venn diagram of brunch foods and breakfast foods shares quite a bit of overlap but, still, we’re talking breakfast here.  Second, four meals!  FOUR FUCKING MEALS, PEOPLE!  How many faces are on Mount Rushmore?  FOUR!  FOUR GODDAMN FACES!  Anyone who offers five or three or six nominations is going to get tazed by your local SWAT team.  Lastly, I’m going to apply a rather inconsistent and completely principle-free logic to allowing or disallowing foods to be grouped.  So, I’ll accept “Bowl of cold cereal” as an answer if people don’t want to specify exactly what type of cereal but will not accept “Eggs” without a specific preparation offered.  Hey, I don’t make the rules.  Well, I do, but whatever.  If you don’t like it, complain in the comments.

Without further ado…

Cold Cereal

I know, I know.  Predictable.  Boring.  Lame.  But close your eyes and think of breakfast.  Odds are an image of a bowl of cereal enters your mind almost immediately.  And there is a certain brilliance and utter joy contained in that bowl.  Choose a cereal you love.  Maybe you’ve got a sweet tooth and want some Lucky Charms.  Or maybe the simplicity of Cheerios and the sliiiiiiiight bit of saltiness gets your gears going.  Whatever it is, fill that bowl and top it off with some real milk.  None of that skim bullshit.  2%, minimum.  Whole milk ideally.  Or if you are completely crazy like my grandmother, pour the heavy cream in there and serve it with a knife, fork, and coupon for an angioplasty.  And ignore what the “health experts” say… go for the bottomless bowl.  Still got milk left in there?  Top it off with more cereal!  A good initial milk pour will get you at least two semi-refills.  And based on fat boy math, you can still claim that as a single bowl of cereal.  Brilliant, eh?

Sausage, Egg, and Cheese on an Everything Bagel

Bagels alone — at least for those from the New York area — could stand alone on this mount. A good bagel is a treat all on its own.  But a well-crafted and perfectly balanced sausage, egg, and cheese on a toasted everything bagel is a thing of beauty.  It’s hearty and filling and a great way to start a long day.  And none of that turkey sausage crap.  Use the real shit.  Pork, baby.

Waffles

I’m going to make this simple: waffles:pancakes::pizza:dog food.  Waffles are the shit and make pancakes look like a bunch of sad sack losers who have no idea what the word “texture” means.

Huevos Rancheros

Of all the items on this list, this probably has the biggest boom or bust potential.  Even a cruddy waffle can be saved by syrup.  But all the Cholula in the world can’t save a crappy huevos rancheros dish.  But when done right?  Corn tortillas (really, the only tortillas), beans, cheese, onions, chili sauce, eggs, and, ideally, some sautéed veggies topped off with the aforementioned hot sauce… a thing of beauty.  Like the bagel sandwich, this one will fill you up and leave you ready to tackle the day.

That’s what I got?  WHAT YOU GOT???  Bring it strong!

(OH BY THE WAY, hat tip to whichever OTer recommended this as a topic.)

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82 thoughts on “Mount Rushmore: Egg McMuffin Edition

  1. Agreeing with you on two of these.

    1) Cereal with milk: The classic. Typical breakfast (at least in the US and Canada).

    2) Waffles. Awesome, especially Belgian waffles.

    3) Omlettes – Best way of making eggs. Cheese and some kind of spices are essential; other inclusions are almost infinitely variable.

    4) Porridge. There’s certainly people who hate it, but make it with raisins, cinnamon, and lots of brown sugar (or honey) and it’s delicious.

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  2. I object to leaving out skim milk. I’ve gotten used to the taste now and everything else feels like I’m drinking fat.

    That said, in no particular order:

    1. Cereal With Milk – kellog’s special k with sweet farm maple and pecan granola
    2. Waffles – Belgian is good, but so are many of the selections from eggo
    3. Grilled Cheese Sandwich – the classic version is the best
    4. pancakes – with a massive helping of maple syrup or margarine (not the real stuff, but the super thick artificial stuff which is mostly HFCS)

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  3. There are clearly only four breakfasts allowed on Rushmore:

    1. Huevos Rancheros

    2. Corned Beef Hash*

    3. Coffee/espresso drink to go

    4. Mimosas or straight champagne, drunk in bed naked with the lover of your choice

    And maybe an honorable mention going to Eggs Benedict.

    There are no other breakfasts. At all.

    Period.

    * Actual corned beef hash, with real chopped corn beef friend with roasted potatoes and onions. Not whatever that pasty stuff is that they sell in cans.

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  4. A Mount Rushmore of Breakfasts without Biscuits and Gravy is not a Mount Rushmore of Breakfasts. In truth, there are no other breakfasts than biscuits and gravy, only sad sad mornings when biscuits and gravy are not available. But some weak substitutes will nake a sad sad morning marginally less sad.

    So,

    1. Biscuits and gravy (country gravy with sausage)
    2. French toast (thick Texas Toast style bread)
    3. Crepes with sausages (or as they’re know in the DeBoer/Hanley household, Dutch pancakes)
    4. Oatmeal eaten by the side of a lake in the Boundary Waters Canoe Wilderness Area

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  5. Kazzy, you poser, this is breakfast:

    Eggs over easy stacked on top of a slice of canadian bacon or ham on top of some cheese, placed on a english muffin or other toasted carbo product. Cut egg, allow goo to be absorbed into the “nooks and crannies”.

    Toasted bagel and smoked salmon-WITH CAPERS on the cream cheese.

    SAVORY waffles (with fresh herbs in the mix) with eggs on top-say poached.

    French toast but using Panatone bread. Add some almond extract to the egg/cream wash too.

    And I’ll take issue with you on making breakfast in the morning. Dude, the first item in my list I can make in the time it takes to toast the english muffin. 5 mins max. Channeling “slate”: you’re not doing it right.

    Now, I don’t eat that on the weekdays though, mainly because I’d rather have something quicker :) Greek yogurt and granola with maybe a bit of honey on top.

    I will add, since I’m a southern boy, that I must mention grits and biscuits. Frankly, cold cereal sucks a dog’s rear end. Nothing but a carbo fest and spikes your blood sugar and crashes you after 2 hours.

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  6. 1. Biscuits and gravy with country gravy (but no sausage…I generally like sausage, just not in my biscuits and gravy*).

    2. Corned beef hash (Contrary to Tod, I like the canned stuff, I’m sure I’d like his version is much better).

    3. McDonald’s sausage biscuit with egg.

    4. Banana with a cup of coffee. (This is my usual breakfast.)

    *First world problem.

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  7. A breakfast I only eat in Texas is chicken fried steak and eggs. It’s really good, particularly if you just mix the country gravy, the steak, the breading, and runny over-easy eggs together into a big mush. Oh, with home fries or hashbrowns on the side.

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  8. 1. Fresh-baked croissant, coffee, and a perfect fruit, depending on the season. Real croissant required here, not fake-and-bake shiz.
    2. Oatmeal with a dab of maple syrup (the real deal) and strawberries or blueberries, coffee.
    3. French toast, maple syrup, and fruit; coffee. Again, no fake syrup. Maple syrup is a gift from Glooskabe, remember.
    4. Scrambled eggs with a bit of cheese, toast, fruit and coffee.

    If none of these food products are available, I’ll skip the food, thank you, and just have the coffee. Lunch is only a few hours away.

    And breakfast for dinner is the best meal evah.

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  9. 1) Northeastern Breakfast — oatmeal with Grade B maple syrup, and just a pinch of cinnamon.
    2) Pain Perdu, New Orleans style — if yer french toast isn’t still toothsome when done, you’re not making it right.
    3) Liege Waffle
    4) Ranch cornbread (or, if you will, Cherokee cornbread, if you’re not in Texas).
    and, I know that Kazzy is gonna yell at me, and I don’t care.
    5) A good fruit pie.

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  10. 1. Eggs Benedict. This is what the Egg McMuffin was supposed to imitate, but if you put real hollandaise sauce on an actually-poached egg, you’ll understand why the real thing is heart-slaughteringly better.

    2. French toast with Grand Marinier (or Bourbon whiskey) mixed in the custard, with crisp, smoky bacon. Use a stale baguette for the bread; stale bread holds more custard.

    3. Freshly-baked cinnamon rolls, slathered in gooey icing.

    4. Onion bagel, cream cheese, lox. Capers? Sometimes.

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    • I’ve taken to makin’ my bacon in the oven lately. Lay out the strips flat on a big foil-covered cookie sheet, crack some fresh black pepper on there, cook at preheated 400 for about 15 minutes.

      Makes a lot of bacon at once, no flipping required, and gets crispy like the microwave, but without losing all the grease (you will need to blot it on paper towels when it comes out).

      The only drawback is that depending on the thickness/fattiness of the bacon, cook time is pretty variable, and the window between ‘still-rawish’ and ‘burnt black’ is *very* small when using this method. So you have to pay close attention to not overshoot it.

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      • Oh, the fat is still there. I don’t save mine currently but you could.

        Before I remove the strips I drain the sheet, you’d just do it in a jar instead of down the kitchen sink drain with hot water.

        Seriously, I may be an idiot for only realizing recently you could do it this way – I always did pan/griddle if I had time, microwave if not – but this really doesn’t take much longer than those methods and the bacon is much better (and more plentiful) – actually, total time may be LESS, since cleanup is a snap (throw away the foil, drop the cookie sheet in the dishwasher.)

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  11. 1. Breakfast Burrito – Eggs, sausage, cheese, onions, peppers, salsa, maybe some hash browns, jalapenos, all wrapped up warm in a tortilla. Portable, delicious, perfect.

    2. Biscuits and Gravy – I prefer sawmill gravy with sausage, but tomato or redeye gravy will suffice.

    3. Pancakes with a side of sausage – I prefer plain old maple syrup and butter. Dip the sausage in the syrup.

    4. Cereal and Milk – Once a year or so we will get a box or two of junk cereal (I love Golden Grahams) for breakfast on the weekends. Although our breakfasts typically run along the granola or raisin bran path, sometimes a bowl of sugary, carby junk food is nice. FWIW, some “junk” cereals have less sugar, calories, and carbs than “healthy” ones. Compare a typical box of granola (not some organic, fancy pants brand) to Fruit Loops, for example.

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  12. There was a cafe I occasionally went to in Cologne whose Sunday breakfast special was an espresso and two aspirin. I never saw anyone order it, but then I wasn’t often there on Sunday mornings.

    1) Full English breakfast: bacon, eggs (sunny side up for me, thanks) bread, tomatoes, beans, everything fried in the bacon fat. I think green tomatoes are best for frying, but I think the canonical English version generally uses ripe ones.

    2) Muesli with fruit and yogourt. Rich plain yogourt, 6% fat or more, and you can keep your perverted sweetened flavoured business to the privacy of your own home.

    3) Toast and a soft boiled egg. One slice of toast cut into strips and dipped in the yolk, the rest with marmelade.

    4) Cornbread and bacon. I like corn pancakes with cane syrup, but any cornbread will do.

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  13. Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and when people like our dear author tell me they usually skip breakfast, I die a little inside. I also think we do breakfast pretty damn awesome in the South so this was a tough one.

    Oatmeal – Pick your flavor. Lately I have been pretty obsessed with the dark chocolate oatmeal made by Lavish. I always add a generous tablespoon of peanut butter to my oatmeal so I get some protein in there. When you add it to dark chocolate oatmeal you’re basically eating a no-bake cookie for breakfast. Add the outdoor scenery of your choice on a cool October morning and this is pretty much perfect.

    Country Ham and Fried Eggs w/ Red-Eye Gravy – A true Southern breakfast. Hard to say anything more.

    New York Breakfast – I only call it that because that’s what it said on the menu the first time I ever ordered this in a restaurant. Bagel (toasted), cream cheese, red onion, smoked salmon and capers.

    Hardee’s (Carl’s Jr) Sausage Biscuit – Thank God there are no Hardees between my house and the office or I would weigh 400 pounds. I so rarely get Hardees for breakfast that it is a real treat when I do. Of all the fast food chains I think their biscuits are the best. Add some sausage and maybe a slice of cheese and I am a happy camper. (Note: I stopped at a Hardee’s out in farm country last weekend and they were advertising their new ‘Fried Bologna and Velveeta Cheese’ biscuit as if it was high cuisine. I kind of love that.)

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    • Thank you for your concern, . I’d eat breakfast more often if better breakfasts were available to me. But alas.

      FWIW, the town I currently live in is noted for having been the birth place of Velveeta cheese. On the list of things I hate about this place, that ranks high.

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      • New Orleans food probably edges out barbecue as my favorite American cuisine. This is based in part on the fact that every dish seems to have sausage in it. If you ask for a glass of water, half the time it comes with a sausage link floating in it. There is nothing surprising about the distribution of obesity rates in the country.

        Another overlooked fact is walking versus driving culture. My ex-girlfriend, who spent her high school years in Texas, would point out that pretty much every store in Texas had a massive parking lot. People would drive between stores nary a block apart. The combination of ample space and stifling heat meant many people didn’t even cover the normal amount of walking you would from simply living a normal life.

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      • Kazzy,
        The northerner in me can instantly tell what part of the country we’re in, just from people’s standard walking pace.

        In Austin they saunter, they stroll — they do not walk. I walked, in Austin, and was covered in sweat within minutes. (How, in september, they were wearing pants, was a continual amazement).

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      • Saying a group does everything right about food and you would weigh twice what you do now if you ate that food does show a misunderstanding about “right.”

        And just to be hated by many people. Country/biscuit gravy= cement. Not even good cement either.

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  14. A few reminders about process…

    As is my tendency, I focus on more than just the inherent exceptionalness of the items being considered. I also consider ubiquity, influence, and gravitas. There is no denying that biscuits and gravy trump a bowl of cereal every day and twice on Sundays. But biscuits and gravy are often hard to come by, especially for us northerners. I’d venture to guess more Americans have NOT had biscuits and gravy than have had it. But everyone grew up eating bowls of cereal. So, from my perspective, that is going to weigh heavily into the rankings.

    Of course, that’s just me. The whole point of this is to argue needlessly. SO HAVE AT IT!

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  15. (1) Two eggs, over easy, fried in bacon grease, topped with fresh dill… with three strips of that bacon, two pieces of well-toasted rye toast, a half tomato broiled with a touch of olive oil, a very large cup of freshly-ground coffee made in a french press… and ending with a half-grapefruit, well chilled. If you’re Aussie, you can sub a flat white in for the french press coffee.

    (2) A breakfast burrito (hat tip to the above), albeit with roasted Hatch green chili instead of jalapenos.

    (3) Biscuits and Gravy. I agree with everyone that said that if you don’t have this on your list, you haven’t had good biscuits and gravy. Also, you’re unAmerican. Probably godless. Most likely being controlled by aliens. Get yourself some good biscuits and gravy.

    (4) I’ll second Mike’s New York Breakfast, as long as it’s on an onion bagel.

    Oatmeal isn’t a breakfast. Oatmeal is a punishment.

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  16. I’m a bit late to the conversation but my canonical breakfeasts include:

    1. OJ. and Coffee These are simply necessary for every breakfast. There are no ifs, ands, or buts. They get their own spot because of that.

    2. Bagel with lox.

    3. Yogurt mixed with a banana.

    4. Pancakes.

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