Nuggets of Gold: Further Processed Chicken and the Making of the American Diet (Politics and Culture in the Twentieth-Century South) (Hardcover)

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Nuggets of Gold: Further Processed Chicken and the Making of the American Diet (Politics and Culture in the Twentieth-Century South) By Patrick Dixon Cover Image

Nuggets of Gold: Further Processed Chicken and the Making of the American Diet (Politics and Culture in the Twentieth-Century South) (Hardcover)

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For McDonald's, the Chicken McNugget, the flagship product of further processed chicken, represented a once-in-a-generation innovation, a snack item that quickly evolved into a meal, spawned a legion of imitators, and gained a large share of the global poultry market. Yet, almost as soon as the McNugget made its North American debut, it quickly became the subject of opprobrium and ridicule, taking on a symbolic status among serious food connoisseurs as an indication of Americans' culinary decline and a growing disconnection between diners and the origins of the food that they ate.

During a time of rising beef prices and growing health concerns regarding red meats, the Chicken McNugget was received as a lighter alternative to traditional burger meals, clean and easy to consume, popular with children, and adaptable to busy "on-the-go" lifestyles of working parents. Consumers understood that they were not purchasing a premium product made from the finest cuts but selected the McNugget as a rational economic purchase that represented a new way of dining.

In reassembling the rise of poultry in the United States, Nuggets of Gold presents a multilayered approach, connecting the entwined stories of workers and industrialists with restauranteurs and consumers, the former geographically moored within the South, the latter diverse and nationwide. Patrick Dixon centers further processed chicken within an analysis of the U.S. food system that demonstrates that consumers did not unwittingly succumb to a "junk food" diet but made deliberate and aspirational decisions based on conceptions of leisure, lifestyle, and bodily needs.
PATRICK DIXON is a research analyst at the Kalmanovitz Initiative for Labor and the Working Poor, the managing editor of LABOR: Studies in Working-Class History, and a founding member of the Labor Radio Podcast Network. He graduated from Georgetown University with a doctoral degree in history in 2015. Dixon is originally from Dorset in the United Kingdom. His interest in the themes represented in this book is in part the product of his own experiences growing up in a rural community and working in a wide variety of hourly jobs, including in the restaurant and leisure sectors.

Product Details ISBN: 9780820366357
ISBN-10: 0820366358
Publisher: University of Georgia Press
Publication Date: October 1st, 2024
Pages: 200
Language: English
Series: Politics and Culture in the Twentieth-Century South