I once went to McDonalds’ with my mother and siblings when I was young. She bought us each an Egg McMuffin and a cup of ice water. I took a bite of the warm sandwich, spilling most of the water down the front of my corduroy overalls as I did so. I was nauseated by the rubbery, artificially fluffy square of egg, the stale tepid meat, the bright orange American cheese, and the tough, chewy English muffin exterior. After that one bite, I automatically decided I hated all English muffins, all American cheese, and all Egg McMuffins. However, I stayed true to my mother’s ‘waste-not, want-not’ policy by handing the sandwich to my older brother. He wolfed it down in a hurry.

It was some time later when I rediscovered English muffins, this time well-buttered and spread with apricot jam. I was amazed that something that had fallen so low in the hands of a disturbing clown could rise so high with the addition of a few spreads. I hungrily crunched bite after bite out of the English muffin, savoring its wheaty flavour and sweet rich toppings. However, I still refused to frequent my local McDonalds’.

Though I never developed a taste for American cheese, I have rather rethought my policy on the hated breakfast food. This morning, I was very hungry, and wanted something hot, savory and filling. In the breadbox was half a loaf of a French baguette from last night’s supper. In the refrigerator was a ham bone with plenty of meat on it, as well as some eggs and a block of extra-sharp Cheddar cheese. I got out a small frying pan, then greased it and put it on the stovetop. Meanwhile, I unwrapped the ham bone, trimming some choice tidbits of meat from it, and warmed them in the pan until they were sizzling and browned. Then I cracked two eggs on top of this, scrambled them, and added some spices—namely McCormick’s ‘ITALIAN HERBS’ and Lemon Pepper—and let the eggs and ham cook together. While that fried, I cut a thick slice of the baguette and put a wedge of cheese on top of it, placing it under the broiler for a couple of minutes. By that time, the eggs and ham were done, and I scraped them onto a plate over the bread and cheese. Treating the bread as an open-faced sandwich, I took a large bite, closing my eyes in gustatory glee. It was only after I’d consumed the entire thing that I realized my creation was simply a reincarnation of the other—the famed McMuffin.

I can’t care less about McDonalds’. Frankly, the company could shut down entirely and I would be none the worse for wear. However, they must have indirectly influenced me as a child, for I must give them a small modicum of credit for my delight this morning. I think that this is the way many things come into being—someone invents an idea, and someone else takes his or her cue, not necessarily copying it word-for-word, but simply modifying it into a different idea. I am not an overly imaginative chef—especially early in the morning—and my meal, though delicious, is essentially the same. Therefore, I thank the disturbing clown and his cohorts for giving me the idea that became my breakfast.

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