I Love Chicken Nuggets
Eating chicken nuggets are like making out with the old, ugly, yet somehow appealing barfly at your local tavern. Everyone says they wouldn’t do it, but behind closed doors we are all partaking.
The ubiquitous, deep fried American food staple is often slagged on by culinarians, doctors, pro-active lunch ladies, and pretty much any parent who’s ever actually read a nutritional label (and understood it). They are besmirched as trash food, golden morsels causing childhood obesity, and the downfall of American society.
Many opponents of these beautiful remnants of my childhood proclaim that they are made from all of the unmentional parts of the chicken. Beak, feet, anus, cockscomb, bones, pretty much anything that gets stuck in the thresher. This may be taking it to extremes, borderlining on urban legend; but in 2003, when a group of obese teenagers sued McDonalds claiming the company was at fault for their obesity (insert LOL), it was revealed that the infamous chicken nugget contains 38 ingredients…. 38! And only one of those 38 was labeled “chicken meat”, the remaining were breading, seasoning, and preservatives. That’s where chicken nuggets SHOULD get their bad rep from. If an ingredient is over 15 letters and ends in -enzidrine or -Number 5, it’s probably not the greatest thing in the world for you.
At heart, chicken nuggets (the good ones, not these modern day all-white meat garbage) are generally made of various parts of the chicken, ground up with seasonings, molded into shapes, and then breaded and deep fried. Taking the undesired parts of the animal and turning it into something magical to feed the masses (usually the poor and working class) is a theme deeply rooted in nearly all culinary traditions. Head cheese, white pudding, salami, haggis, scrapple, hell all of the delicious sausages around the world follow a similar vein. Take the scraps. Make it work, because it has to work.
In the future, will chicken nuggets be looked back upon in the same way as these gastronomical luminaries? I guess we’ll have to wait and see. But for the time being, pass the barbeque sauce.