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:
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: