Sunday, March 17, 2013

Happy St. Nuggets Day

You might think I would be keen to talk about St. Patrick’s Day, seeing as how—as I write this—it is St. Patrick’s Day, and in my prime, I used to sing “diddley-dee” songs in some of our many local, Irish-Themed pubs, and was a one-time medal-winning Irish step dancer. I could discuss the differences in celebrations I knew in New York compared to those I see here* but, instead, I want to talk about Chicken McNuggets.

Today, you see, marks the 50th anniversary of the invention of the Chicken Nugget. They were not, as many suspect, developed in the R&D labs of McDonald, Inc. (the place that gave us—or tired to—the McDLT, the McLobster, the McGratin Croquette, the Hula Burger and McPizza) but were instead prototyped by a professor at Cornell University named Robert C. Baker. His notion was as heroic as it was altruistic: to take all the wasted bits of the chicken and make something useful out of them. His conception was an economical and nutritious sort of chicken-stick (similar to the fish-stick) but, as we all know, history (and McD’s) hijacked the idea and came up with a Frankenfood concoction containing—among other goodies—sodium phosphates, mono- and di-glycerides, pyrophosphate, monocalcium phosphate, dimethylpolysiloxane (added as an antifoaming agent) and some chicken.

But boy, weren’t they tasty!

Robert C. Baker
Pioneer who paved the way for the Chicken McNugget.
Thanks, Bob!
Of all the things McDonald’s has created, McNuggets—in my book—come in a solid second after the Egg McMuffin. They are bad for you in a dozen ways but, really, unless your diet consists solely of these breaded, fried, chicken-flavored dog biscuits, they aren’t going to do you much harm, and there is little better in this world than a bit-sized serving of fat, grease and unnaturally enhanced spices dipped into a goo of unnaturally colored BBQ sauce.

Stacey Irvine
McNugget Devotee
If you are going on a road trip, they are a necessity: the natural complement to Dunkin Munchkins. I have completed several long-distance drives eating nothing but Munchkins for breakfast and McNuggets for lunch and dinner; they are America’s On-The-Go foods.

I have to admit that, these days, I do not frequent McDonald’s (or any other restaurant where the food is served from behind a counter by teenagers wearing hairnets and name tags) and, in fact, have not eaten a McNugget in over a decade. Life has moved on for me, but they had their day and were—for a time—an integral part of my life. So perhaps, on this doubly special day, I should go downtown and seek out the glow of the Golden Arches. I’m likely too late to order an Egg McMuffin, but I can at least get a Big Mac, super-sized fries and a half-dozen McNuggets with Hot Honey Mustard sauce.

And, seeing as how it is St. Patrick’s Day, maybe they’ll color them green.

* Actually, I can discuss that quite succinctly: in NY we celebrated St. Patrick’s Day; here we do not.


  1. I am proud to say that I have never eaten a chicken McNugget! But then, ever since I worked in a Campbell's Soup factory boning chicken back in the 60's I've never deliberately eaten chicken!

    1. I'm sure that would put me off of poultry, too, so I'm glad I never had a job like that!

  2. Ewww.... How can something so disgusting be so tasty? McDonald's must be magical.

    1. Actually, inspired by this post, I bought a six-pak of McNuggets yesterday and, oh my, were they awful! Not the tasty treats I remember from my day; these were tasteless, insipid lumps of processed poultry by-products. Even the sauce was tasteless. Maybe it's the UK version; I'll have to try some when I visit NY next time to compare. At least the Munchkins are still tasty ;)

      Not long now and you can check this out for yourself ;)