Great Moments in Chicken Culinary History- page 3 | History | Smithsonian
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Great Moments in Chicken Culinary History

Where did these six poultry-based dishes (with one imposter) get their start?

Chicken Nuggets

Chicken Nuggets
(Chloe Johnson / Alamy)
Love ’em or hate ’em, chicken nuggets are the quintessential fast food. Though McDonald’s is usually given credit for popularizing them in 1979, Cornell agricultural scientist Robert Baker, whom the New York Times dubbed “something of a chicken Edison”, published the first chicken nugget recipe in the 1950s as an unpatented academic paper. Baker helped develop a deboning machine that would help process the entire chicken carcass (waste not, want not) and allow the meat to be formed into different shapes—dinosaurs, for instance. It took a couple decades to catch on, but now the little deep-fried clumps of chicken meat are beloved by kids everywhere. Even when British celebrity chef Jamie Oliver tried to shock a group of American kids by demonstrating how chicken nuggets are made (by blending the connective tissue, bones and skin into a “meat slurry” and deep frying the goop), the kids devoured the nuggets without batting an eye.

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