Did You Know This Popular Food Item Was Invented in New York?
Children and teenagers are obsessed with them, and adults have mixed reviews: chicken nuggets. We truly can't escape the chicken nugget phenomenon. Almost every fast food chain has chicken nuggets, chicken strips, on their menu for adults or kids. You can find them in the freezer section at every grocery store. Did you know they were invented here in New York State?
History shows that McDonald's was the first to sell chicken nuggets in 1980. But, they aren't responsible for creating them, technically.
The credited inventor of the nugget is a Cornell University professor named Robert C. Baker who died in 2006. He was a professor of poultry science, and a chicken expert.
He and his graduate students dreamed up the first versions of products we now might indulge in daily: chicken hot dogs, chicken cold cuts, chicken meatballs, and more than 50 other edible items made from eggs and chicken but made to look like something else. His famous barbecue chicken is even still served at Baker's Chicken Coop at the New York State Fair - having invented the "Cornell Chicken" sauce.
For Slate, Maryn McKenna dug into the origins of the nugget.
In 1963, Baker and his colleague Joseph Marshall proposed a first-ever “chicken stick,” made of ground, blended and frozen chicken. Keeping the stick together without a sausage-like skin, and keeping the breading on through freezing and frying, were major advances, and they appear to have inspired many subsequent creations made of what is now called “comminuted” (minced, ground, mashed and variously stuck-together) chicken.
Unfortunately, Baker never patented his creation and so did not benefit from the billions of nuggets McDonald’s has now sold.
“By the time he died in 2006, his connection to them had mostly been forgotten, and only a few obituaries noted it,” McKenna writes.
That patent doesn't matter. We truly know who's responsible for creating, arguably, one of the best frozen food items of all time. How neat!
LOOK: 15 Discontinued McDonald's Menu Items