Brian Bates, who has worked for the chain for 10 years, casually dropped it into an interview with CBC News over the weekend.
“He is an enormous taste bud, but a taste bud nonetheless,” Bates told the network in an “unofficial” explanation, adding that the character was meant to show that the food tastes good.
McDonald’s has been unusually tight-lipped about the purple creature’s origins over the years. The closest it had come to providing an explanation was a few variations of this tweet, which it has sent out from time to time in response to inquisitive customers:
— McDonald's Corporation (@McDonaldsCorp) October 30, 2014
Grimace, who was actually a villain early on, doesn’t resemble a milkshake. But he does kinda look like he may have been inspired by images of taste buds and papillae:
Twitter users were stunned by the McHistory lesson:
My entire world view has been upended. I mean, I never knew what the hell Grimace was, but I didn't think it was THIS. https://t.co/tsqwKsILRe
— Marcus Mauney (@mrmauney) September 1, 2021
Grimace can taste with his whole body
— 3-hour Bond film anticipator (@MilesKlee) September 1, 2021
Liked it better when I had no idea what Grimace was https://t.co/tox2bLY242
— Blockhead (@t_wrecks_64) September 1, 2021
This explanation is the midi-chlorians of the fast food extended universe. https://t.co/2ABKYCYllu
— Courtney E. Thompson (@Dr_C_Thompson) September 1, 2021
— renonezero (@renonezero) September 2, 2021
Theoretically, this means that if you were shake Grimace's hand, he would be able to taste you.
— Clifton Adcock (@cliftonhowze) September 1, 2021
If Grimace is a taste bud meant to show how good the food is why on earth would you name the damn thing after an expression of disgust https://t.co/L51ve89QCV
— ☭Shannihilator the Pastry Wizard☭🌈🌸🍰☭ (@8bitonionring) September 2, 2021
This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.