“The War on Breakfast” was originally inspired by the fact that McDonald’s doesn’t have an all-day lunch menu, which I find blasphemous. Let me spin you a tale of heartbreak.
You find yourself being awoken by the sound of a key sliding into a lock. It’s the mom you babysit for, back from work. It was so much later than she’d thought. She hopes the baby wasn’t too bad. You assure her they weren’t, and she pays you. You stumble out to your car, shoving yourself into the front seat. How long had you slept? You look at your phone for the time. The light shines in your eyes in open defiance of God. 3:07 a.m.
You start the car, plug in the aux, and pat the dash affectionately. You tell her she’s a good, nice girl and you love her. She’s just as tired as you are, and needs the encouragement as much as you do. You close your eyes and breathe, preparing for the drive home. It’s not long, but it’s also 3:07—ah, 3:09—in the morning.
In that moment of quiet, your stomach rumbles, and you realize just how hungry you are. Before you can rationally think about what you want or what’s at home, the thought rushes to the forefront of your mind: chicken nuggets. Now, every thought is about how to get those precious chicken nuggets.
Your first thought, naturally, is Wendy’s, but alas. They have closed for the night.
Your second thought is of a haunted place, where the workers never sleep and the very concept of time is a fabrication. The smell of fryer oil hits your nose, along with the stench of sweat and dead dieting dreams. Mickey D’s.
You ask Siri for directions. She readies them, as she always does, and you thank her. You put your car in gear and start to drive, the entire way there thinking about how satisfying those chicken nuggets are going to be. You can almost taste the crispy breading, the hot chicken. Your mouth is watering.
You pull up, the lane wide open in expectation of you. While you wait for the speaker to crackle to life, you look at the menu. “Maybe I’ll get fries, too,” you think as you look up.
You face the board in horror. It dawns on you that it is 3:21 a.m. You’ve never been to a McDonald’s this early in the morning. They’ve got up their breakfast menu.
The employee chooses this moment to speak. “Welcome to McDonald’s. What can I get for you?” they say.
“Ah, yes. Um,” you stammer. You panic. What do you want? You were so intent on chicken nuggets…
It’s fine. You got hotcakes. Well, I got hotcakes. You got to listen to my story about getting hotcakes, and being immensely disappointed in them. I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed in pancakes in my life.
Honestly? I just want to know why. Like, there’s got to be money there. Think of all the stoners, smoking at three in the morning and craving chicken nuggets. Are you too good to take their money, McDonald’s? Is that it? Because I HIGHLY doubt that. Highly. If you think that, you must be high. Or, at the very least, unaware of how much of your business must be stoners with the munchies.
Also, think about the people getting off work in the early morning. They don’t want to go home and cook. They want to go home and sleep. They also probably don’t want breakfast for dinner at three or four a.m. What if they just want a cheeseburger?
Kids, too. Have you ever asked a kid what they wanted for breakfast and they said something like macaroni or ice cream? I remember wanting chicken nuggets or fries as a kid when we went for fast food for breakfast. When I had breakfast at Blueberry Hill with my Papaw, I’d get spaghetti almost every time (although at that point we had been awake and running around for like six hours).
I’m not proposing a full menu off to the side—just sort of like what they did with the all-day breakfast menu. Chicken nuggets, cheeseburgers, fries. Would that be so hard?
My main point, though, circles back around to my proposed war on breakfast. We shouldn’t limit ourselves to breakfast foods in the morning. There’s too much good food in the world to do something as silly and inane as that.