Chicken tenders aren't all that complicated. Take a chicken breast, bread it, fry it, and there you go. The resulting product is a staple of fast food restaurants and kids' menus everywhere. One wouldn't think of chicken tenders as something that had to be invented, but The Puritan Backroom in Manchester, N.H., claims to have done just that in 1974, writes USA Today.
Like so many other things, it seems necessity was the mother of invention when it comes to the restaurant's tenders. Cooks had to trim down chicken breasts, and instead of wasting what wasn't served, they marinated and fried them. However, The Puritan's claim to fame may be more of a technicality. The restaurant's use of the "chicken tenders" name reportedly was a first, but chicken fingers were already in existence — aren't chicken fingers and chicken tenders the same thing?
For those who doubt The Puritan's claim, there's this question: Would it really take until 1974 for someone to figure out cutting chicken breasts into strips and frying them? Ten years earlier, Anchor Bar in Buffalo, N.Y., came up with Buffalo wings, which surely are more inventive. It's doubtful someone would have taken the step to Buffalo wings before chicken tenders were in existence.
This is a dish that isn't celebrated all that often, so maybe that's why The Puritan is able to claim invention. USA Today's Larry Olmsted sums them up succinctly: "By any standard, they are very good — as chicken tenders go."