We all love a delicious appetizer, and today, we have a true classic for you - chicken nuggets!
Chicken nuggets are one of the most popular foods in America and for a good reason.
They're easy to make, even easier to consume, crispy and extra tasty, and also very convenient.
You can grab some on the go, enjoy them at a restaurant, or at home when watching a movie.
Chicken nuggets are made of small pieces of chicken meat that are covered with breadcrumbs or batter. From there, they're cooked by either deep-frying or baking.
It's a simple method, sure, but the results undoubtedly taste fantastic.
Still, we have to mention the preparation of the chicken meat as well. The nuggets require a specific size and form, and also the chicken needs to be deboned. This is often done with automated machines or via grinding.
Chicken nuggets are beloved by people of all ages, especially kids. So, if you'd like to learn more about their history and rise to popularity, do keep reading below.
Many dishes don't have a clear origin. But that's not the case with chicken nuggets, their history is well documented.
The person who invented this awesome snack was Robert C. Baker. He worked as a professor in the field of food science at Cornell University. It was during the 1950s that he created the first chicken nugget.
He and his coworkers called it the "Chicken Crispie." The formula was published as academic work and wasn't patented.
See, at the time, people in the meat industry were having some troubles. One, they couldn't quite shape the ground meat (without skin) into the desired form. And two, they needed a batter that would be suitable for both freezing and frying.
Luckily, Robert C. Baker was there to solve both of these problems.
His chicken nugget was made by first covering the meat in salt, grains, vinegar, and milk powder. This allowed it to stick together i.e. be formed into the intended shape.
Next, by using a batter made of eggs and grain, the chicken nugget could endure both freezing and frying.
This phenomenal invention earned him a membership in the American Poultry Hall of Fame. He also had dozens of other inventions, and he even got the nickname - "George Washington Carver of poultry."
Officially, Robert C. Baker published the recipe for his chicken nugget in 1963.
Also, to give some more context, during World War II chicken meat was in huge demand. However, when the war ended, this was no longer the case.
The problem then was that people would need to consume a whole chicken. But this was either too little for a whole family or too much for a single person. Not to mention, roasting a whole chicken isn't an easy task and requires a lot of time.
So, having the option to consume chicken meat in smaller quantities was very much needed.
Thus, Baker's invention allowed for chicken to be more easily mass-produced and consequently mass-consumed.
As mentioned earlier, Baker didn't patent his chicken nugget recipe. In fact, he generously shared it with multitudes of US companies.
In the late 1970s, people were advised to eat less red meat and more chicken meat. Hence, many made the switch, albeit ironically, since processed chicken meat is often even less healthy.
Over the years, the consumption of chicken per person in America on an annual basis increased. To be more specific, the numbers went from 36.6 pounds in 1965 to 97.5 in 2020.
Taking that into account, it's no wonder that the chicken nugget has become such a popular food.
Speaking of the popularity of this snack, here are some interesting facts:
As an alternative to regular chicken nuggets, there are also vegan ones. These are made with plant-based ingredients such as wheat gluten, pea protein, texturized vegetable protein, and soy protein.
Despite their great taste, chicken nuggets are considered an unhealthy food consisting mostly of fat.
That said, a serving of 10 pieces of chicken nuggets (160g) contains around 490 calories. This includes 33g of total fat or 42% of the daily value based on a 2000-calorie diet.
In addition, there are 88mg of cholesterol (29%), 950mg of sodium (41%), 24g of total carbohydrates (9%), and 25g of protein.
There are also 1.3mg of iron (7%) and 401mg of potassium (9%).
As you would expect, this snack can be found all across America. Still, we at Slice are here to offer some specific restaurant recommendations.