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Robert C. Baker
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    (December 29, 1921-March 13, 2006)
    Born in Lansing, New York
    Food scientist and professor at Cornell University
    Invented the chicken nugget (1963)
    Developed more than forty other food innovations (mostly poultry-related), from turkey hot dogs to a chicken deboning machine
    Inducted into the American Poultry Hall of Fame
    Chicken nuggets are half chicken fat.
    One of his less successful creations: fish lasagna.
    An obituary described his innovations as ‘the sort that make some consumers praise science and others fear for the future of food.’
    He was nicknamed ‘the George Washington Carver of poultry’ and ‘the Edison of the poultry industry.’
    He never patented any of his inventions.
    He had been more interested in expanding the market for New York state’s poultry farmers than making a fortune.
    He developed a BBQ sauce that made Baker’s Chicken Coop a staple of the New York State Fair for over five decades. (Bill Clinton stopped at Baker’s stand to place a take-out order during a 1999 tour of the Fair.)
    Appropriately, his memorial service was preceded by a chicken barbecue at the local Methodist church.

Credit: C. Fishel

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