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Momentarily Feel Something Like Childhood Joy With the Return of McDonald’s Classic Happy Meal Toys

Plus, there’s a massive salmonella outbreak in ground beef, and more news to start your day

A red Happy Meal box surrounded by toys such as a Furby, Power Ranger, and Hello Kitty McDonald’s
Jaya Saxena is a Correspondent at, and the series editor of Best American Food Writing. She explores wide ranging topics like labor, identity, and food culture.

The fast-food chain is hoping nostalgia can drive some sales

With all the changes made to the Happy Meal in recent years, the childhood treat is nearly unrecognizable to Gen Xers and Millennials. Where is the mandatory soda? Where is the toy that is surely a choking hazard? So now, in an attempt to lure back the kind of grown person who casually uses the phrase “adulting” — and to celebrate the 40th anniversary of the Happy Meal — McDonald’s is reintroducing 15 popular toys from the Happy Meal’s past, including the Hamburglar and Grimace, one of the Teenie Beanie Babies, a Furby, and Hello Kitty.

Speeeaking of McDonald’s, the company is likely hoping the Happy Meal fervor overshadows the fact that its CEO, Steve Easterbrook, was just ousted for having a consensual relationship with a subordinate. The company’s board determined Eastbrook “violated company policy and demonstrated poor judgment involving a recent consensual relationship with an employee,” and Eastbrook admitted the relationship was “a mistake.” Market Insider says that, because of the upheaval, the company is set to lose $3.4 billion in value.

Surely plastic models of the Fry Guys will even that out.

And in other news...

  • For some reason, when reporting on the Steve Eastbrook news, The Daily Mail used a photo of Chrissy Teigen. She is not into it. [Twitter]
  • One person has died and eight have been hospitalized due to an outbreak of salmonella in ground beef. So far it’s been found in six states, but officials haven’t found a common source. [Time]
  • Apparently eating alone is bad for both our mental health and for the planet. Bad news to anyone who wants a moment of peace over a dinner and glass of wine. [Quartz]
  • Last year, two Black men were arrested in a Starbucks in Philadelphia under “suspicion of trespassing,” launching a wave of outrage and boycotts against the company. Now, the woman who was regional manager at that location at the time of the arrests is claiming she was fired because she is white. [NBC News]
  • Culinary scholars are cooking food from the oldest recipes known to humanity, as early as 1730 BC. They include lamb stew, broth with leek and coriander, and something close to a chicken pot pie. [BBC]
  • A Minnesota student has been asked by Krispy Kreme to stop driving into Iowa, buying dozens of donuts, and selling them on campus. Minnesota doesn’t have a Krispy Kreme, so what else was he supposed to do? [The Detroit News]
  • Kanye West’s Louisiana Sunday Service’s food options are being compared to Fyre Festival. What was supposed to be a $55 “Brunchella” was really soggy bacon and cold pancakes. [Insider]
  • Papa John’s is adding a new kind of crust. Good for Papa. [CNN]
  • Also, muscle memory is real.

All AM Intel Coverage [E]