Take a moment and look at the image above. What is wrong with this fast food breakfast photo, besides being a recipe for a major coronary episode at the ripe old age of 41? What is different here from every other similar photo you’ve seen in an ad?
The difference was one that immediately jumped out at me while watching a television commercial for Krystal’s “Three Egg Breakfast,” which may or may not be a new item, or simply one they’re now choosing to promote. But it’s this: Sunny-side up eggs?
When, in the course of your adult life, regardless of how many decades that might be, have you ever seen sunny-side up eggs as a menu item at a national fast food chain? Actual, dribbly, partially cooked sunny side-up eggs, staring up at you from the plate like plastic decorations in a child’s 1950s play kitchen? I sure as hell can’t think of a time I’ve ever seen such a thing from a fast food burger chain in the same tier as Krystal. When did near-raw egg become a menu item people trust fast food to provide for them? Does each Krystal also secretly have a matronly woman in the back making homemade huckleberry pies? These are the kinds of quandaries that Eating Badly was created to investigate.
An A.M. Trip to Krystal
The first thing I notice, arriving at a local Georgia Krystal at 8:30 a.m., is that the place is close to full. There are probably two dozen people in this tiny room, mostly sitting at large communal tables that have been pushed together, all clearly part of a daily routine. I am, without any doubt, the only customer under the age of 50. I may be the only one under the age of 60, provided that some of these people aren’t actually 30-year-olds who have had the life-force sucked from their bodies by Krystal like the villain at the end of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade. Either way, I suspect that if this particular Krystal also came equipped with a world-weary Crusader guardian, he would inform me that I have “chosen poorly” in stopping by this morning.
When placing my order I half expect to be denied; for the woman working behind the counter to assure me that no one actually orders their eggs sunny-side up at a Krystal and that I’d be much better off with the warming tray full of scrambled yellow egg shrapnel. She doesn’t bat an eye at the request, however. Within two minutes, I’m looking at the following:
Yep, those are definitely some sunny-side up eggish-looking things. The moment I graze one with a fork, it bursts in a shower of ochre effluvia, soaking the toast and complimentary grit mound. It’s immediately clear that I am in far over my head. I start laughing compulsively at the fact that I even bothered to unwrap one of the individually packaged plastic knives, as if there was anything on this paper plate that could possibly require its use. Rather than a knife, the meal would be better suited to a fork and a plastic funnel.
It’s also about this time that I realize how well-suited this meal is for the actual target A.M. Krystal audience, who are rightfully eyeing me with suspicion. “Three Egg Breakfast” probably has a bit more curb appeal as a name, but the true title should be “Octogenarian Pablum Platter,” which I think has an equally nice ring to it, in addition to being far more truthful. There’s nothing in this meal that would ever necessitate the possession of working teeth, and that suits the 60-and-up crowd just fine. It also somewhat explains the soupy eggs, soupy grits, soggy bacon and toast that also manages to somehow be on the soggy side—just soft enough to safely gum it down, let’s say.
With that said, though, the toast and bacon are obviously the highlights of the experience. The bacon is a brief, merciful, 30-second respite between diving back into what has now become an inland sea of egg yolk, only hemmed in by the foothills of the Grit Mountains. It’s an ugly stretch of topography:
Try the Krystal Placental Plate!
Of course, these are simply the stray observations of an admittedly deranged mind. You could also consider the dissenting opinion of good ‘ole boy/YouTuber “CasualGamerReed,” whose 66,000 followers thoroughly enjoy watching him exercise his ability to simultaneously sit in the car and enjoy menial fast food items. He found the Three Egg Breakfast fairly satisfying, although he didn’t have the intestinal or mental fortitude to endure the sunny-side up egg option. I link to him here simply because I can’t resist quoting his unrelated thoughts on bacon: “I must admit, the only flaw I can find with this breakfast is you just get two strips of bacon. That’s very disappointin’—I can easily eat a slice of bacon every bite.” Trust me when I say that I don’t doubt you in the slightest, Reed. Not in the slightest.
Driven to the bathroom after my meal by some mixture of shame and queasiness, I splash water on my face and wonder what the lingering effects may be. Will this largely liquid breakfast pass straight through me unhindered as one might expect, or is it even now solidifying into an unbreakable epoxy in the depths of my colon? Each outcome seems equally likely. If it’s the latter, I will be dead by the time you read this.
Lost in existential dread, I find myself staring down into the toilet, where a small glob of some kind of unidentifiable yellow sludge is floating. Did it come out of someone’s body, I wonder? Or is it a bit of some woeful sunny side-up egg that an ashamed customer furtively attempted to dispose of where they wouldn’t be seen? Regardless, I’m envious of that far smarter person. Either way, they’ve exorcised their demon.
Jim Vorel is Paste’s news editor, and he was pretty bearish on this breakfast. You can follow him on Twitter.