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

Have you ever wondered how chicken nuggets are made?

Episode 185 | December 20, 2013

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.


Hosts: Michal Meyer and Robert Kenworthy
Guests: David Schleifer and Bryant Simon
Producer: Mariel Carr


“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
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
Mark Bittman’s Dream Food Label


“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