How the Army invented Chicken McNuggets 🐥

Henry Belcaster
Henry Belcaster
3 min read

Morning soldier!

So you know how we spent a large portion of our childhood concerned about how McDonald’s chicken nuggets weren’t just made from chicken?

But like ground up chick beaks, talons, and feathers?

Bad news:

It turns out the truth is far worse than we thought…

Buttt GOOD news:

We got a sick story out of it

One that has to do with a top secret US Army project that forced fake meat goo into the fast food we eat today.


It was the 1960s.


For almost absolutely no good reason President Nixon decides we need to enter a Civil War on the other side of the planet to OBLITERATE communism.


So Nixon ships all these 19 year olds over to ‘Nam to fight.

Only one little issue:

These teenage troops are famished.

Nixon didn’t think through the whole shipping-meat-to-the-other-side-of-the-planet issue. It’s stupid expensive.

So a US Army General calls up the Natick Soldier Center for R&D

So Natick gets to work.

They use their emergency authorization funds to come up with this fake meat process called ‘meat restructuring.’

Meat restructuring could save the US troops from starving to death.

And it’s easy peasy: just take all the nastiest parts of a butcher’s scraps –



Pure fat?

Mmmmm. Love fat.



Throw em into a meat blender:

Blend them into a batter:

Add salt and water – you know, so…the..uhh..proteins can bind back together into huge meat slab:

And voila!

“Meat” that can be re-structured into any shape and size.

And all goes well in Vietnam! I think.

So now we’ve got a process for creating fake meat thanks to the US Army.

Which naturally begs the question: What’s actually in my Chicken McNuggets?

Good. Good.

So lucky for us, McDonald’s Executive chef – René Arend – was asking the same thing.

Cause he had his own army of fatties he needed to feed cheaply – Americans:

Even luckier for us he comes across this Vietnam Army thing – restructured meat.

And in a once-in-a-lifetime-black-swan-jimjamboree, Arend realizes he can massively scale McDonald’s menu if he uses this cheap, new, fake, meat goo.

So he grinds up chicken meat, scraps, bones, you-name-it to come up with a chicken paste:

And he adds the meat goo chicken paste to Chicken Nuggets!

So ya, childhood vindicated.

Stay Cute,
Henry & Dylan 🌈

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