David Peterson (center) and managers Monte Fraker and Gaby Velasquez invited us into the kitchen of the Milpas Street McDonald’s last week to show us how to make an Egg McMuffin.

In 1971, Herb Peterson, then an owner of three McDonald’s in Santa Barbara, fried an egg in a specially designed circular ring and then slapped it, a cut of Canadian bacon, and a slice of American cheese onto a toasted, buttered English muffin. He saw the creation, which he called the Fast Break Break-Fast and considered a poor man’s eggs benedict, as a way to feed customers before the fast food chain’s traditional 11 a.m. opening.

Herb Peterson designed the perfectly circular frying rings just for this sandwich, which still uses freshly broken eggs.
Paul Wellman

The move riled the corporate brass. But when McDonald’s founder Ray Kroc came by to taste this rogue menu item, he loved it and gave his blessing. The name was changed to the Egg McMuffin — also the first “Mc” item on today’s Mc-heavy menu — and the sandwich became the chain’s first breakfast offering in 1972.

“Imperfect is perfect” when it comes to the English muffins’ nooks and crannies, explained David, the McMuffin really introduced the West Coast to the bread style.
Paul Wellman

“It really changed the way the world ate breakfast,” said Herb’s son David Peterson, who now owns six McDonald’s in the area and wrote a book about his dad, called The Good Egg.” Now it’s 35 percent of our business.”

To celebrate the creation, McDonald’s all across the Central Coast will sell the Egg McMuffin for $1 a pop during regular breakfast hours on Tuesday, January 27, in honor of the 7th annual Herb Peterson Day.


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