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  • One of the most common foods we eat as kids today are chicken nuggets.

  • Whether it's out of the oven at home or from the drive-thru at the fast-food place down the street, we just can't seem to get enough of em'.

  • But who actually invented chicken nuggets?

  • Let's find out on today's episode of Colossal Questions.

  • Just like many of our favorite modern foods, the origin of the chicken nugget is a bit murky, and no one can say for absolute certain who invented em'.

  • That being said, a scientist and professor named Robert C. Baker is most often credited with inventing chicken nuggets in his lab at Cornell University in the early '60s.

  • Whether he was the true innovator of the nugget or not, Robert C. Baker was clearly passionate about bird meat.

  • He came up with more than 40 new ways to prepare poultry with inventions like chicken hot dogs, ground chicken, and whatever turkey ham is.

  • Okay, so that's who likely invented the fast-food staple, but why was Baker trying to create a new concoction and how did he do it?

  • The nugget was invented to solve a big problem for the slumping chicken industry.

  • At the time, almost all chickens were sold whole, which kind of made it inconvenient.

  • A whole chicken wasn't thought to be quite enough meat to feed an entire family, but it was definitely too much for just one person.

  • On top of that, roasting a whole chicken takes a lot of time and effort, and families were finding they had less and less time to dedicate to making more complicated meals.

  • Now with these new-fangled chicken nuggets, there was finally a way to package poultry in easy bite-sized servings that could be frozen and fried up quickly.

  • Problem solved.

  • Baker's big innovation that made the chicken nugget possible was because of another one of his poultry creations: ground chicken.

  • He molded chunks of skinless ground-up chicken meat and covered them with breading.

  • The breading is actually the key.

  • It holds the morsels of meat together while sitting in a freezer or frying in a pan.

  • And almost overnight, chicken went from a food not quite fit for a feast to one of the most popular proteins in the country, all by turning chicken into a handheld, well, nugget.

  • So, next time you're plowing through a pile of dino-shaped nuggets, you can thank a poultry pioneer for making it his passion project to bring us the perfect chicken snack and nailing it.

One of the most common foods we eat as kids today are chicken nuggets.

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