About Me
I'm a Melbourne boy, hailing from St Kilda with one ex, one current wife and four kids. Love the outdoors and making new discoveries. I cook a lot at home (cheers from wife) and do some preserving, mostly jams, pickles and fruit liqueurs. This is the diary of a cooking journey.

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Thursday, March 30, 2006
The Nugget Man
Robert C Baker is dead at the age of 84.

He is a man who helped change the way Americans eat.

Born on the 29th December, 1921, his interest in food began as a boy on his father's fruit farm. Later on he attended university earning a bachelor's degree, majoring in pomology (the science of fruit) from Cornell, and later on was awarded a master's degree from Pennsylvania State University and a doctorate from Purdue University.

In 1949, he moved to Cornell as an assistant professor, where he was responsible for teaching, research and extension in the Department of Poultry Science. He became a professor of food science at Cornell in 1957.

This is a man who has many achievments to his name, but we primarily know him as the man who helped develop the chicken nugget by figuring out how to get a breadcrumb coating to stick and not fall off. Nowadays this technology is in use with any number of products. He also had a hand in other things such as turkey ham, chicken hot dogs, as well as the famous Cornell Chicken barbecue recipe, which despite the name, he developed whilst working at Pennsylvania State University.

To many foodies the chicken nugget is an abomination, to parents a God send. Mechanically recovered meat formed into small nuggets and encased in a breadcrumb shell, then either oven baked, grilled or fried. Children love them, until recently it was the only fast food my daughter would eat.

But there is another way. If you prefer to prepare them yourself it is not hard to do.

Take a chicken breast and place it skin side down on a cutting board. You will see a long fillet of meat that is loosely attached to the breast. With your hand pull this free. If the skin is still on, pull it off, then place your hand flat on top of the breast and with a sharp knife cut it in half horizontally. Now you have three pieces of chicken all about the same thickness, two large and one small portion. If you are imitating chicken nuggets, cut these portions into nugget shapes, either way season them, then dip into a beaten egg and coat with breadcrumbs. Allow them to set for 15 minutes, then shallow fry until golden.

I'm sure Robert Baker would approve.
  posted at 7:43 am

At 8:51 am, Blogger Angela said...

Oh how I've missed your food induced blog!!! I wondered why my kids were in such a state this week......they must have heard the chicken nugget guy died....yes, it is truly a sad day for all Americans and our fast food!

At 6:38 pm, Blogger neil said...

Hi Angela, may he rest in peace.


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