They were invented because Americans were scared of red meat
In the ’50s and ’60s, more Americans than ever were suffering from heart attacks – and doctors were finally getting a clue that saturated fats and red meat might be a factor. For a burger restaurant like McDonald’s, that meant sales were dropping. To bring back consumers, the fast food chain started working on chicken items to round out its beef-forward menu, according to Time. The result: chicken nuggets.
They were created by a chef who worked for the Queen
Who better to formulate a recipe for the world’s biggest fast food chain than someone with royal experience? To help McDonald’s with a reputation-changing menu, the company called on Rene Arend, a Luxembourg-born chef whose resumé included making dinner for Queen Elizabeth II and the king of Belgium.
They weren’t the first chicken dish
Even a chef with those credentials couldn’t be expected to create the perfect recipe on his first shot. His first idea was a deep-fried chicken pot pie, but it failed in testing. The team also tried fried chicken but couldn’t drum up excitement with restaurants like KFC dominating the market.