Graphing the Perfect Chicken Nugget

The Big M and I were walking through Sam’s Club with the kids earlier this evening when everyone’s stomachs started rumbling. There were supper fixings waiting in the fridge at home, but I had done no prep, and it would be at least an hour.

We got into the car and looked at each other. Some beautiful spark crossed our synapses at exactly the same time, and we just knew.


O! purveyor of perfectly fried chicken! You have waffle fries and lemon pie and salads with sunflower seeds on top! You will meet our desires!

And then we went and did something inexcusable: we ordered too few chicken nuggets.

There’s something magical about Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets. They never stop being delicious, and it seems mathematically impossible to ever be full.

I’ve graphed this phenomenon as follows:

You’ll note that hunger actually spikes at the third nugget before steadily decreasing, only to flatline at a not-quite-full level as nuggets approach infinity.

Now it’s all well and good to consume nuggets ad infinitum, but in the presence of others one must consider decorum.

The problem, of course, is that social inappropriateness is achieved long before full satiety. (The scale above represents men; ruh-roh levels arrive much earlier on the women’s scale.)

So how many nuggets could one realistically consume? I decided that a good limitation would be the amount of money in my pockets. I have $21. Given that Chick-Fil-A nuggets run about 34 cents each, the maximum amount I could consume would be 63. I have represented that as follows:

While 63 is the financial maximum I can achieve at this moment, my guess is that I might not be able to consume quite that many. My best guess on consumption would be:

More experimentation is needed.

Categories: Brain Workouts

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3 replies

  1. You absolutely crack me up!

  2. Submitted to the Journal of Economics:

    “Did this really come before the egg? Empirical observations on the real-cost function and utility returns of Chick-Fil-A Chicken Nuggets” by F. Brain, B. M, T. Boy, and T. Girl.

  3. Fried chicken……..

    oh wait, I kind of got lost after that…


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