Hoffman's Houston
it's a thing

Ken Hoffman gets all toasty celebrating National English Muffin Day

Ken Hoffman gets all toasty celebrating National English Muffin Day

Thomas English Muffins
The English muffin is the perfect snack. No debate.  Thomas Breakfast/Facebook

Every day, it’s always something: a dumb, invented, nonsense holiday.

Like “Hug a Newsman Day” (April 4), “Barbershop Quartet Day” (April 11), “Dance Like a Chicken Day” (May 14), “Crush a Can Day” (September 14), and “Bittersweet Chocolate and Almonds Day” (November 7). That last one is very specific, but still stupid.

And I’m not sure that “Hug a Newsman Day” is real – sounds like something Owen Conflenti made up.

This one, though, is right on the money: Tuesday, April 23 is “National English Muffin Day.” I can definitely get behind this holiday. I love, love, love English muffins. In fact, I can’t believe that supermarkets treat English muffins with such little respect. White bread practically gets its own aisle. Hamburger buns are in the bakery and next to the ground beef case. Order a sandwich at the deli counter and you get your choice of five different breads and rolls — but no English muffins.

The perfect snack
Here's the thing. Take an English muffin, split it with a fork, throw it in a toaster, and you can top it with practically anything — cream cheese, jelly, scrambled eggs, ham, Nutella, honey, or last night’s dinner leftovers — and it’ll be delicious. You take a hot English muffin, straight out of the toaster, and melt some butter on it, and you’ve got one of the world’s great snacks.

Now, take a dreary dull, boring hamburger bun. Have you ever eaten a hamburger bun without a hamburger in the middle of it? You know what a plain burger bun, with nothing on it, tastes like? Nobody knows, because nobody has ever tried that. It would be awful.

A better burger mate
English muffins even do burgers a hundred times better than burger buns. An English muffin is more rugged, with jagged nooks and crannies that soak up the grease and condiments. While burger buns become a limp, soppy mess under the strain of grease and ketchup, an English muffin stands firm and proud. You can practically hear it call, “That’s all you got? Bring on the mayo, big boy!”

Nancy’s Hustle, on Polk Street in east downtown, has it right. They serve their terrific burgers on English muffins. You think it's a coincidence that Nancy's Hustle just won "Restaurant of the Year" at CultureMap's prestigious Tastemaker Awards? Next time you make burgers at home, try them with toasted English muffins. There will be no turning back.

The clown can't be wrong
Why do you think Egg McMuffins and Sausage McMuffins are so popular at McDonald’s … while Jack in the Box has to cut the price of their Breakfast Jacks to $1 to move them? Clownie puts their breakfast sandwiches on burger buns. Duh!

You know how somebody in your group, when you’re going to Shanghai River for dinner, will say, “You know, in China, they just call this food.” Hilarious. Maybe the first thousand times. So what do they call English muffins in England? Just “muffins.” But remember, the English call french fries “chips,” and chips are “crisps,” and they drive on the wrong side of the road.

A little muffin trivia
When it comes to English muffins, I play the favorite, Thomas’ English Muffins, the top-selling brand in America. I had a few questions for Moira Flood, brand manager for Thomas’.

Why are they called English muffins? “Surprisingly, English muffins did not originate in England. Samuel Bath Thomas invented the English muffin in 1880 in New York City. He called it a ‘toaster crumpet.’ Thomas, who moved to the U.S. from Plymouth, England, started referring to his toaster crumpets as English muffins in 1894 and the name stuck,” Flood says.

How can we help English muffins put burger buns out of their misery? “Thomas’ is challenging hamburger buns by bringing King Size English Muffins, with the same nooks and crannies as our original,  to fans in select markets across the U.S.”

They haven’t reach Houston yet. You know what to do, H-E-B. Yeah, I’m calling you out, Scott McClelland.

The Thomas’ English Muffin food truck will be in Houston most of April, pushing Big Texas BBQ sandwiches on English muffins. What a brilliant idea! So much better than that silly slice of white bread they give you at barbecue joints. The truck also will have a toppings bar with fruit spreads, guacamole, and truffle salt.

By the way, if you think I’m worked up over burger buns vs. English muffins, don’t get me started on how the heck french fries ever got more popular than onion rings. French fries, on their own, without salt and ketchup or whatever … completely tasteless. Onion rings are delicious all on their own. Put onion rings on top of a burger with spicy ketchup on an English muffin, and you’ve got a holiday worth celebrating.