a lady accused me, in the comments to my earlier post, of not knowing what is in a mcdonald's chicken nugget. this is true. the internet tells me two things: one, there is a comprehensive discussion of the mcnugget's ingredients in Michael Pollan's The Omnivore's Dilemma, which i really want to read. two, the following list of ingredients:
the mcdonald's chicken nugget, dissectedthis is an astonishingly inoffensive list of ingredients. it is also worth noting that in neither the interior nor the exterior of the chicken nuggets are there added sugars.
- modified corn starch [ed: "modified" in this case meaning god knows what. most commercial corn starches are tweaked in some way. there is no cause for alarm.]
- sodium phosphates [ed: for those of you keeping score at home, this is an emulsifying agent, helping all the above ingredients blend smoothly so that you don't bite into a nugget and get a concentrated pocket of corn starch]
- chicken broth powder (chicken broth, salt, and natural flavoring (chicken source))
- seasoning (vegetable oil, extracts of rosemary, mono, di- and triglycerides [ed: one, two, or three (respectively) fatty acids, attached to a glycerol molecule. they're used as surfactants--lowering the viscosity of the vegetable oil so that it blends more evenly with the other non-seasoning ingredients (fun fact: this makes the vegetable oil behave with properties more similar to those of lard)], lecithin [ed: another emulsifyer, in this case making sure that the vegetable oil consistently blends with the glycerides])
so, neat! it looks like chicken nuggets are flavored with what essentially amounts to rosemary-infused oil. tres gourmet. but what about the batter? i can hear you clamoring for this information. like, literally there is a noise right now of people outside my building shouting "for the love of god, what about the batter?!" it's intense.
enriched bleached wheat flour (niacin, iron, thiamine mononitrate, riboflavin, folic acid)
- yellow corn flour
- bleached wheat flour
- modified corn starch
- leavening (baking soda, sodium acid pyrophosphate, sodium aluminum phosphate, monocalcium phosphate, calcium lactate [fun fact: the preceding four scary-sounding ingredients are like the Planeteers: with their powers combined, they are baking soda!)
- wheat starch
- dried whey
- corn starch
in the interest of not being a complete and total McDonald's apologist, i will read the Pollan book and report back. in the meantime, i offer the following totally true* food fact:
sometimes you will see liquid-transporting trucks branded with the mcdonald's logo. ninety thousand gallons of ketchup? nope. liquid chicken, to be sprayed using a giant fireman-style hose into nugget-molds and turned into those friendly little boot- and circle-shaped pieces of deliciousness that i spend far too much time writing and thinking about. true story. tell your friends.
*meaning, i heard it once and really really really want to believe it.