Chicken nuggets have evolved from so many years, but do you know their origin story… where they came from, and why? Well, I’m Mahiya Srivastava and today I am about to tell you. Let me rewind to the beginning: way back to 1977. In 1977, the US government warned Americans that eating too many beef burgers is unhealthy and that we should eat chicken instead because it is healthier. McDonald’s leaders were so frantic to find a yummy chicken burger that was cheap and easy to make like the beef burgers. They made so much money off of the beef burgers that they thought that no chicken alternative could outstand it. That was until a man named Robert Baker came into the picture.
Who is Robert Baker?
Robert Baker was a man who believed that Americans should eat more chicken. In the 1950s and 60s, he worked with farmers and chicken companies to convince more people to eat chicken. At the time, the chicken was only eaten on special occasions and it was very hard to make and get. You would either have to raise one in your backyard or buy one at the market—often still alive and squawking. Then, you would have to kill it and I won’t go into details into that for obvious reasons. In 1950, cooks would avoid the feathery mess, but to their surprise, the grocery stores already had them plucked, cleaned, and ready to cook. Sadly, they still took too long to cook. In that time, easy to cook meals were burgers, hot dogs, and fish sticks. Not many people wanted birds that sit in the oven roasting for two hours. The grocery store owners lowered the chicken prices over and over again but the selves remained the same. Now, the chicken farmers were struggling to make money.
Baker was in a lab with a team experimenting with different recipes:
Chicken, hot dogs, chicken meatloaf, and chicken sandwich slices. Then, Baker discovered a chicken bite with a golden brown coating on it. It had taken such a long time to find the right balance of chicken and batter that would not fall apart when frying. Nobody had ever thought about it before and tried to make a recipe like this. He called it the “Chicken Crispie.” The team and Baker had published the recipe and for anyone to copy for free. Yet, no one ever discovered it until the burger crisis…
After the US government told everyone about the burger warning McDonald's to find a new recipe quickly. Onion nuggets - no, chicken pot pie - no, and KFC already had chicken with the bone. Then, they found the right recipe that Baker made. In 1983, McDonald’s launched the Chicken Mcnuggets. They were a big hit. Tons of restaurants dropped burgers and made more nuggets. Everyone fell in love it was love at first taste. Now hold up a minute do you notice something? Well, if you didn’t notice, chicken nuggets aren’t healthier than burgers, but by then it had become an all-time favorite. It was so sad that Baker never made any money off his fantastic recipe, but he achieved the goal that Americans liked chicken more. Grocery stores, restaurants, fast food places, school cafeterias, etc all of these places and more serve Chicken nuggets today. Now you know the origin of the “Chicken Crispie.”