You might not know it, but your hangover recovery owes a hell of a debt to one specific bloke in the US.
Michael “Jim” Delligatti, the man who invented not only the Big Mac but the McMuffin as well, has sadly passed away in the US at the ripe old age of 98.
A spokesperson for McDonald’s confirmed that Delligatti died late yesterday in his Pittsburgh-area home, with family and friends at his side.
Delligatti was a noted early franchisee of the global burger juggernaut, who opened his first Golden Arches location in the Pennsylvania city of Uniontown in the mid-60s, before going on to own and operate 47 Maccas locations throughout the region.
But his lasting legacy not only to the company, but to Americana in general, came in the form of a little kitchen tinkering at that first location.
Wanting to expand on the restaurant’s original menu of simply serving burgers, fries, and shakes, as well as satisfying his customer’s growing appetite, Delligatti mucked around and landed on a wild “two all beef patties, special sauce, lettuce, cheese, pickles, onions, on a sesame seed bun” formula, and dubbed it the Big Mac.
The real clincher came the day after first serving it, when overall burger sloppiness forced Delligatti to think outside the box:
“The first day we just used the regular bun, we didn’t have any centre [bread] slice. Making it that way made it very sloppy. The next day we put the centre slice in, and today it looks the same.”
Maccas big cheese Ray Kroc was initially opposed to pushing the mighty burger out nationwide, citing the fact that the existing menu items were doing well enough as is. But the local popularity of the three-tiered sanga forced a change of mind, and the Big Mac became a national sensation virtually overnight in 1968.
Then in 1970, realising that a fair chunk of his early-rising customers weren’t exactly keen on smashing down a burger into their faces as the sun rose, Delligatti went back to work in the kitchen. This time around he slipped a fried egg, a slice of cheese, and a slab of ham in between a toasted english muffin, dubbed that bad boy the McMuffin, and set the company on a course to launching a full breakfast menu by 1972. As you all know by now, it’s the implementation of the All-Day Breakfast menu that virtually saved the company from the brink of disaster over the past 12 months.
McDonald’s paid tribute to Delligatti on social media earlier today.
Today, we celebrate the 98 inspirational years of Big Mac inventor, Michael “Jim” Delligatti. Jim, we thank and will forever remember you. pic.twitter.com/wmEFrmazdn
— McDonald’s (@McDonalds) November 30, 2016
RIP James Delligatti, creator of the Big Mac. Thanks for all the delicious memories, Jim. pic.twitter.com/cxIGA0hbo6
— McDonald’s Philly (@McDPhilly) November 30, 2016
A bacon & egg McMuff and a Big Mac from the Drive Thru sounds like a fitting tribute to ole’ Jim.
Here’s to the original burger king.