Media

Archives

Categories

Contributors

Episode 185: Why the Chicken Became a Nugget and Other Tales of Processed Food

Crisco and chicken nuggets

Two of the 20th century's most popular processed foods: Crisco and chicken nuggets. Images courtesy of CHF collections and Evan Amos, Wikimedia Commons.

Have you ever wondered how chicken nuggets are made? Or what propylene glycol monostearate, monocalcium phosphate, or other listed ingredients are doing in your favorite packaged snacks? Distillations hosts Michal Meyer and Robert Kenworthy certainly wondered, and they went to the corner deli to inspect some processed food themselves.

They also spoke with experts Bryant Simon, a historian, and David Schleifer, a sociologist, about how trans fats and chicken nuggets arrived on the food scene as the healthier options, but have since turned into villains.

Both Simon and Schleifer suggest that when it comes to deciding what we eat, we might have less choice than we think. Class, geography, and convenience (for both food makers and food eaters) all play a role.

Show Clock

00:00 Introduction

00:36 Michal Meyer tries her first Tastykake

03:39 Trans fats: from savior to villain

10:55 Chicken nuggets: a not-so-healthy answer to “chicken fatigue”

16:37 BREAK: call to the community

17:07 The predictability of processed food: Why Michal’s olives taste different each time

19:47 Artificial mouths: what it takes to make a Dorito

21:58 The high cost of cheap food

27:00 Closing credits

Show Notes

Links to content:

"Afternoon Snack" - A video starring Michal Meyer and Bob Kenworthy. 

Mazola Corn Oil and Margarine - 1960 Commercial, Internet Archives

"The Detail" The Wire, Season 1, Episode 2

Trans fats in the news:

"FDA moves to phase out trans fats from food, citing health concerns" - NBC 

"FDA to ban artery-clogging trans fats" - CBS

"Trans fat ban, U.S. malaria danger, early puberty trend" - FOX

"FDA trans fat ban may target your favorite food" - ABC

Related media:

Mark Bittman's Dream Food Label

Credits:

Hosts: Michal Meyer and Robert Kenworthy

Guests: David Schleifer and Bryant Simon

Producer: Mariel Waloff Carr

Music Credits:

“Run Up”- Moby, mobygratis

“Stabbings”- Moby, mobygratis

“Christmas All Alone”- Candlegravity, Free Music Archive

“Elsewhere”- Phonotrash, Free Music Archive

“Tragic”- Semyon, Free Music Archive

“Dragon’s Lair”- Thiaz Itch, Free Music Archive

“The Spirit”- Waylon Thornton, Free Music Archive

“Heroines”- Diablo Swing Orchestra, Free Music Archive


 

comments powered by Disqus

By posting your comment, you agree to abide by CHF’s Comment Policies.

The Museum at CHF

The Museum at CHF

Explore the fascinating history of chemistry and the role science plays in the modern world at our museum in Philadelphia.

Join the Conversation

Blog logo
Our blog brings the stories of science and culture directly to you.

Sensing Change

See your environment with fresh eyes through this online exhibit.