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Old 01-12-2012, 07:57 PM   #1
tish
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Default Looking for an Authoritative Answer on the Charcoal/Cancer Link

I had a discussion with Harvard last night about the evils of smoking food and whether or not there is a link to cancer from cooking this way. He has been afraid that I'm going to slowly kill myself by eating smoked food. I told him that I had read somewhere on the site that the carcinogens develop with fat dripping on the lit coals, or something like that. So, my impression was that if you don't have fat dripping on the coals, you're ok. Can someone tell me if this is correct, and is there an authoritative source that would confirm this? When I asked him what authoritative source he would believe, he said I don't know... the AMA, the CDC, you know, one of the big boys. Thanks for any help.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:02 PM   #2
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here's a previous discussion that may have some info

http://www.bbq-brethren.com/forum/sh...harcoal+cancer
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:05 PM   #3
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Every thing I found says that eating meat that has been grilled or broiled over charcoal. And the articles state the forming of HCA's from the fat dripping onto the coals. So, I would say that indirect low and slow shouldn't increase your risk more than it already is based on the type of meat you are eating. As in,red meat vs. chicken...that type of thing.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:16 PM   #4
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There is a link between burning fats and cancer, but it is not a strong link, and the risk varies by person.

As a cancer survivor, I haven't stopped grilling meat.

There are some activities that have a very real and demonstrable effect on you chances of getting cancer, like cigarette smoking. And there environmental factors that seem to increase your chances significantly of getting cancer, such as living in heavily industrial areas -- like where I used to live.

Some things create a bigger risk than others. I don't eat grilled red meats every night. Cancer aside, that would not be a healthy practice.

From what I have read, slow smoked meats are not the same. Smoke flavor eaten is not the same as smoke inhaled. That wonderful char on a steak or burger is where you face a bigger risk.

But, there are way bigger risks, mainly genetic. If I came from a family with a high incidence of cancer, I would probably be more worried about grilled beef. But, if I came from a family with a high incidence of heart disease, I'd change my diet to accommodate that, too.

The type of cancer I had, Seminoma, is not really related to any activity or environment, as far as science knows, at this time. It's very random. It just happens.

Tish, if you have a family history of cancer, then get on Google and do some research. Arm yourself with knowledge. If anything you are doing contributes to the kinds of cancer that run in your family, then make appropriate changes.

Otherwise, maintain a balanced diet, with appropriate amounts of meats, fruits, grains and vegetables.

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Old 01-12-2012, 08:17 PM   #5
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The notion that charred food causes cancer has been around for a long time. We are also told that soaking meat in a marinade before grilling it reduces the risks from eating it.

Personally, I have never put much weight in the study. I think about the saccharin cancer warnings from a few years ago too. However, between the time that saccharin was discovered in 1879 to today not a single case of cancer in a human has been traced to saccharin. That fact alone makes me think that saccharin is probably the safest of all artificial sweeteners. What other artificial sweetener has a 122 year track record?

One other thing to keep in mind is, the saccharin "study" results were published in 1977. That just so happened to be when NutraSweet (aspartame) was trying to get the final FDA approval to begin marketing its artificial sweetener.

Was the study more about selling NutraSweet than real Science? You can decide that for yourself, but I am suspicious. Humans have been eating meat cooked over an open fire for thousands of years and yet I know of no cancer cases directly traced to food because it was grilled or barbecued over a wood fire. That's a pretty good track record too, I think.

Now, who would make up things and/or stretch the truth in an attempt to convince people to stop eating animal flesh? What kind of influence do they have on these kinds of "studies?" I don't know but I am suspicious of that in this case too.

The two primary substances at question produced by charring meat are: Heterocyclic Amines (HCA) and Polycyclic Aromatic Hydrocarbons (PAH).

PAH is on the SUSPECTED carcinogen list, not the known carcenogen list.

There are a lot of people out there who will do any study you want if you pay them enough.

Here is the list of known carcinogens from the International Agency for Research on Cancer. I don't see HCA in it.

Acetaldehyde (from consuming alcoholic beverages)
Acid mists, strong inorganic
Aflatoxins
Alcoholic beverages
Aluminum production
4-Aminobiphenyl
Areca nut
Aristolochic acid (and plants containing it)
Arsenic and inorganic arsenic compounds
Asbestos (all forms) and mineral substances (such as talc or vermiculite) that contain asbestos
Auramine production
Azathioprine
Benzene
Benzidine and dyes metabolized to benzidine
Benzo[a]pyrene
Beryllium and beryllium compounds
Betel quid, with or without tobacco
Bis(chloromethyl)ether and chloromethyl methyl ether (technical-grade)
Busulfan
1,3-Butadiene
Cadmium and cadmium compounds
Chlorambucil
Chlornaphazine
Chromium (VI) compounds
Clonorchis sinensis (infection with)
Coal, indoor emissions from household combustion
Coal gasification
Coal-tar distillation
Coal-tar pitch
Coke production
Cyclophosphamide
Cyclosporine
Diethylstilbestrol
Epstein-Barr virus (infection with)
Erionite
Estrogen postmenopausal therapy
Estrogen-progestogen postmenopausal therapy (combined)
Estrogen-progestogen oral contraceptives (combined) (Note: There is also convincing evidence in humans that these agents confer a protective effect against cancer in the endometrium and ovary)
Ethanol in alcoholic beverages
Ethylene oxide
Etoposide
Etoposide in combination with cisplatin and bleomycin
Fission products, including strontium-90
Formaldehyde
Haematite mining (underground)
Helicobacter pylori (infection with)
Hepatitis B virus (chronic infection with)
Hepatitis C virus (chronic infection with)
Human immunodeficiency virus type 1
Human papilloma virus (HPV) types 16, 18, 31, 33, 35, 39, 45, 51, 52, 56, 58, 59 (infection with) (Note: The HPV types that have been classified as carcinogenic to humans can differ by an order of magnitude in risk for cervical cancer)
Human T-cell lymphotropic virus type I (HTLV-1) (infection with)
Ionizing radiation (all types)
Iron and steel founding (workplace exposure)
Isopropyl alcohol manufacture using strong acids
Kaposi sarcoma herpesvirus (KSHV)/human herpesvirus 8
Leather dust
Magenta production
Melphalan
Methoxsalen (8-methoxypsoralen) plus ultraviolet A radiation
4,4'-Methylenebis(chloroaniline) (MOCA)
Mineral oils, untreated or mildly treated
MOPP and other combined chemotherapy including alkylating agents
2-Naphthylamine
Neutron radiation
Nickel compounds
N'-Nitrosonornicotine (NNN) and 4-(N-Nitrosomethylamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone (NNK)
Opisthorchis viverrini (liver fluke; infection with)
Painter (workplace exposure as a)
3,4,5,3',4'-Pentachlorobiphenyl (PCB-126)
2,3,4,7,8-Pentachlorodibenzofuran
Phenacetin (and mixtures containing it)
Phosphorus-32, as phosphate
Plutonium
Radioiodines, including iodine-131
Radionuclides, alpha-particle-emitting, internally deposited (Note: Specific radionuclides for which there is sufficient evidence for carcinogenicity to humans are also listed individually as Group 1 agents)
Radionuclides, beta-particle-emitting, internally deposited (Note: Specific radionuclides for which there is sufficient evidence for carcinogenicity to humans are also listed individually as Group 1 agents)
Radium-224 and its decay products
Radium-226 and its decay products
Radium-228 and its decay products
Radon-222 and its decay products
Rubber manufacturing industry
Salted fish (Chinese-style)
Schistosoma haematobium (flatworm; infection with)
Semustine (methyl-CCNU)
Shale oils
Silica dust, crystalline, in the form of quartz or cristobalite
Solar radiation
Soot (as found in workplace exposure of chimney sweeps)
Sulfur mustard
Tamoxifen (Note: There is also conclusive evidence that tamoxifen reduces the risk of contralateral breast cancer in breast cancer patients)
2,3,7,8-Tetrachlorodibenzo-para-dioxin
Thiotepa
Thorium-232 and its decay products
Tobacco, smokeless
Tobacco smoke, secondhand
Tobacco smoking
ortho-Toluidine
Treosulfan
Ultraviolet (UV) radiation, including UVA, UVB, and UVC rays
Ultraviolet-emitting tanning devices
Vinyl chloride
Wood dust
X- and Gamma-radiation


Here is the list of Reasonably anticipated but not known to be human carcinogens.

Acetaldehyde
2-Acetylaminofluorene
Acrylamide
Acrylonitrile
Adriamycin® (doxorubicin hydrochloride)
2-Aminoanthraquinone
o-Aminoazotoluene
1-Amino-2,4-dibromoanthraquinone
1-Amino-2-methylanthraquinone
2-Amino-3,4-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline (MeIQ)
2-Amino-3,8-dimethylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoxaline (MeIQx)
2-Amino-3-methylimidazo[4,5-f]quinoline (IQ)
2-Amino-1-methyl-6-phenylimidazo[4,5-b]pyridine (PhIP)
Amitrole
o-Anisidine hydrochloride
Azacitidine (5-Azacytidine®, 5-AzaC)
Benz[a]anthracene
Benzofluoranthene
Benzo fluoranthene
Benzo fluoranthene
Benzopyrene
Benzotrichloride
Bromodichloromethane
2, 2-bis-(bromoethyl)-1,3-propanediol (technical grade)
Butylated hydroxyanisole (BHA)
Captafol
Carbon tetrachloride
Ceramic fibers (respirable size)
Chloramphenicol
Chlorendic acid
Chlorinated paraffins (C12, 60% chlorine)
1-(2-chloroethyl)-3-cyclohexyl-1-nitrosourea
Bis(chloroethyl) nitrosourea
Chloroform
3-Chloro-2-methylpropene
4-Chloro-o-phenylenediamine
Chloroprene
p-Chloro-o-toluidine and p-chloro-o-toluidine hydrochloride
Chlorozotocin
C.I. basic red 9 monohydrochloride
Cisplatin
Cobalt sulfate
Cobalt-tungsten carbide: powders and hard metals
p-Cresidine
Cupferron
Dacarbazine
Danthron (1,8-dihydroxyanthraquinone)
2,4-Diaminoanisole sulfate
2,4-Diaminotoluene
Diazoaminobenzene
Dibenz[a,h]acridine
Dibenz[a,j]acridine
Dibenz[a,h]anthracene
7H-Dibenzo[c,g]carbazole
Dibenzo[a,e]pyrene
Dibenzo[a,h]pyrene
Dibenzo[a,i]pyrene
Dibenzo[a,l]pyrene
1,2-Dibromo-3-chloropropane
1,2-Dibromoethane (ethylene dibromide)
2,3-Dibromo-1-propanol
Tris (2,3-dibromopropyl) phosphate
1,4-Dichlorobenzene
3,3'-Dichlorobenzidine and 3,3'-dichlorobenzidine dihydrochloride
Dichlorodiphenyltrichloroethane (DDT)
1,2-Dichloroethane (ethylene dichloride)
Dichloromethane (methylene chloride)
1,3-Dichloropropene (technical grade)
Diepoxybutane
Diesel exhaust particulates
Diethyl sulfate
Diglycidyl resorcinol ether
3,3'-Dimethoxybenzidine
4-Dimethylaminoazobenzene
3,3'-Dimethylbenzidine
Dimethylcarbamoyl chloride
1,1-Dimethylhydrazine
Dimethyl sulfate
Dimethylvinyl chloride
1,6-Dinitropyrene
1,8-Dinitropyrene
1,4-Dioxane
Disperse blue 1
Dyes metabolized to 3,3'-dimethoxybenzidine
Dyes metabolized to 3,3'-dimethylbenzidine
Epichlorohydrin
Ethylene thiourea
Di(2-ethylhexyl) phthalate
Ethyl methanesulfonate
Furan
Glass wool fibers (inhalable)
Glycidol
Hexachlorobenzene
Hexachlorocyclohexane isomers
Hexachloroethane
Hexamethylphosphoramide
Hydrazine and hydrazine sulfate
Hydrazobenzene
Indeno[1,2,3-cd]pyrene
Iron dextran complex
Isoprene
Kepone® (chlordecone)
Lead and lead compounds
Lindane and other hexachlorocyclohexane isomers
2-Methylaziridine (propylenimine)
5-Methylchrysene
4,4'-Methylenebis(2-chloroaniline)
4-4'-Methylenebis(N,N-dimethyl)benzenamine
4,4'-Methylenedianiline and its dihydrochloride salt
Methyleugenol
Methyl methanesulfonate
N-methyl-N'-nitro-N-nitrosoguanidine
Metronidazole
Michler's ketone [4,4'-(dimethylamino) benzophenone]
Mirex
Naphthalene
Nickel (metallic)
Nitrilotriacetic acid
o-Nitroanisole
Nitrobenzene
6-Nitrochrysene
Nitrofen (2,4-dichlorophenyl-p-nitrophenyl ether)
Nitrogen mustard hydrochloride
Nitromethane
2-Nitropropane
1-Nitropyrene
4-Nitropyrene
N-nitrosodi-n-butylamine
N-nitrosodiethanolamine
N-nitrosodiethylamine
N-nitrosodimethylamine
N-nitrosodi-n-propylamine
N-nitroso-N-ethylurea
4-(N-nitrosomethylamino)-1-(3-pyridyl)-1-butanone
N-nitroso-N-methylurea
N-nitrosomethylvinylamine
N-nitrosomorpholine
N-nitrosonornicotine
N-nitrosopiperidine
N-nitrosopyrrolidine
N-nitrososarcosine
o-Nitrotoluene
Norethisterone
Ochratoxin A
4,4'-Oxydianiline
Oxymetholone
Phenacetin
Phenazopyridine hydrochloride
Phenolphthalein
Phenoxybenzamine hydrochloride
Phenytoin
Polybrominated biphenyls (PBBs)
Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs)
Polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs)
Procarbazine hydrochloride
Progesterone
1,3-Propane sultone
beta-Propiolactone
Propylene oxide
Propylthiouracil
Reserpine
Riddelliine
Safrole
Selenium sulfide
Streptozotocin
Styrene
Styrene-7,8-oxide
Sulfallate
Tetrachloroethylene (perchloroethylene)
Tetrafluoroethylene
Tetranitromethane
Thioacetamide
4,4'-Thiodianaline
Thiourea
Toluene diisocyanate
o-Toluidine and o-toluidine hydrochloride
Toxaphene
Trichloroethylene
2,4,6-Trichlorophenol
1,2,3-Trichloropropane
Ultraviolet A radiation
Ultraviolet B radiation
Ultraviolet C radiation
Urethane
Vinyl bromide
4-Vinyl-1-cyclohexene diepoxide
Vinyl fluoride

There are some substances higher on the priority list than grilled meats. In fact, PAH's are not known to cause cancer according to the International Agency for Research on Cancer.
http://www.cancer.org/Cancer/CancerC...an-carcinogens

And, you have this - An important proviso to be kept in mind is that cancers in laboratory rats and mice are induced by doses (per unit of body weight) several orders of magnitude higher than what are usually ingested in normal meals by humans. (Typically, the amounts of HCAs are over a million times higher, based on calculations from data furnished in Augustsson [1999].) In fact, by itself, the ingested daily amount of heterocyclic amines is very probably too small to explain the development of human cancers, and the same is true for numerous other carcinogens. Thus, the simultaneous presence of heterocyclic amines with other genotoxic [i.e., inducing DNA damage] carcinogens and with tumor-promoting agents or tumor-promoting conditions makes it very difficult to make a numerical calculation for risk estimation.

http://www.beyondveg.com/tu-j-l/raw-...ooked-1e.shtml

Anyway, I'm not a doctor, so do your own research and work through it with your doctor.
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Last edited by Boshizzle; 01-12-2012 at 10:29 PM..
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:39 PM   #6
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I tend to follow CD's advice, I am a cancer survivor and could easily go totally turtle, eating only a very retricted diet. BTW, does Harvard eat range fed chickens only? Does he ever wonder what all the antibiotics and hormones fed commodity market based chickens ingest do to his health?

I eat a wide variety of foods, some charred, some not, not everything is cooked outside. I eat a lot of vegetables, I eat a lot of dark leafy greens, cruciferous veggies, etc...I avoid soy and have reduced dairy a lot. I eat organic or certified with traceable origins for probably 80% of my diet.

I don't smoke, I drink moderately, I workout at least 5 times a week when I am physically able, often times even when I shouldn't. I drive speed limit, wear my seat belt, and don't text or post when driving. I do a lot to mitigate known issues, but, I am not gonna chase cancer causing phantoms, enless I see science telling me it does. I don't choose to fight negatives.
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:45 PM   #7
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I'm sure the cholesterol will kill you first!!!
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Old 01-12-2012, 08:52 PM   #8
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If you want to read a fascinating book about the history of cancer and modern treatments, I highly recommend "The Emperor of all Maladies". It is written by Siddhartha Mukherjee, who is a cancer physician, researcher, assistant professor of medicine at Columbia University and a staff cancer physician at the CU/NYU Presbytarian Hospital.

I've never had cancer, but both sides of my family and my wife's family have been decimated by it. A lot of it is genetics and just "losing the gene mutation lottery". There are obvious environmental effects, but you can't live your life afraid of every study that indicates a relation to cancer.

Amazon.com: The Emperor of All Maladies: A Biography of Cancer (9781439107959): Siddhartha Mukherjee: Books@@AMEPARAM@@http://ecx.images-amazon.com/images/I/51qVm-8ZJgL.@@AMEPARAM@@51qVm-8ZJgL
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:24 PM   #9
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Well, I just read the whole thread from April, 2011. I read some passages to Harvard, and asked him about the free range chickens and the antibiotics. He said the chickens he eats are not free range. He had a health crisis several years ago, during which, he had enough antibiotic pumped into his system so that he can now disintegrate the paint on a fire hydrant by peeing on it. lol (I swear to God, that's exactly what he said. )

He said to tell you all that he raises the white flag. He will eat smoked veggies, chicken, fish, and the occasional piece of beef. He wouldn't say ok to pork, although I have seen him eat pork once at a Christmas party (2010), and BTW... it was pulled pork. So he said never say never, and he would see when the time comes, but I'm sure if I make a pork butt, he'll eat at least one pp sammie. Gentlemen, I do believe we've accomplished a conversion here. Thanks so much!!
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:33 PM   #10
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Blasphemy!
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:39 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tish View Post
Well, I just read the whole thread from April, 2011. I read some passages to Harvard, and asked him about the free range chickens and the antibiotics. He said the chickens he eats are not free range. He had a health crisis several years ago, during which, he had enough antibiotic pumped into his system so that he can now disintegrate the paint on a fire hydrant by peeing on it. lol (I swear to God, that's exactly what he said. )

He said to tell you all that he raises the white flag. He will eat smoked veggies, chicken, fish, and the occasional piece of beef. He wouldn't say ok to pork, although I have seen him eat pork once at a Christmas party (2010), and BTW... it was pulled pork. So he said never say never, and he would see when the time comes, but I'm sure if I make a pork butt, he'll eat at least one pp sammie. Gentlemen, I do believe we've accomplished a conversion here. Thanks so much!!
And your son witnessed him tasting brisket, too.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:48 PM   #12
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Tish, I have had a supressed immune system due to radiation poisoning since I was 26 years old, I have spent from one week to three months in the hospital at a time, I have recieved everything from penicillin to experimental synthetic antibiotics that I had to sign a waiver that stated that I understood that my kidneys and liver WOULD be damaged. Believe me when I tell you, I know Staph A and a slew of antibiotics well. I have spend weeks on vacuum, with two hoses in my abdomen to clear liquid, I been there and back. Something is gonna kill you, if it is sex or BBQ, well, then sign me up, there are worse ways to go.
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Old 01-12-2012, 10:54 PM   #13
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Tish, here something else you need to consider.

The ingredients in Kingsford charcoal and their purpose-

wood char - heat
mineral char - also for heat
mineral carbon - also for heat
limestone - for the light-ash color
starch - to bind the other ingredients
borax - for easy release from molds
sodium nitrate - for quicker ignition
sawdust - for quicker ignition

Now, I have no problem with any of those ingredients except the mineral char and carbon which is coal. The problem with coal is the nasty gases it produces.

There was a lawsuit brought against Clorox Co. (Kingsford is a subsidiary of the Clorox Co.) back in 2008 by the wife of a chef named James Beets who was the master chef for 10 years at a Weber Grill Restaurant where they cooked inside using Kingsford charcoal. He was diagnosed with blood cancer and his doctors traced it back to the benzene gas produced by the Kingsford charcoal used in the restaurant's grills. The lawsuit basically said the company failed to warn consumers that using the benzene-containing briquettes indoors could lead to the development of multiple myeloma.

What I find most interesting is that Kingsford introduced their reformulated charcoal in 2009. Did the lawsuit actually prompt the reformulation? That's a question I would like to have an answer to.

Now, will occasionally using Kingsford outdoors result in inhaling enough benzene to kill a person? I don't know of any cases where that has been proven or even suspected. So, I don't have a problem with using it. Now, if I were using it indoors in a kitchen filled with grills even with ventilation, I might be concerned.
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:04 PM   #14
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I think cooking meat over Charcoal gives you about as much chance of developing Cancer as using a Cell phone does...
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Old 01-12-2012, 11:09 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BBQ Bandit View Post
And your son witnessed him tasting brisket, too.
That's right, Bob!! I have a witness!!! lol I did see him eat beef on that day, and one other time when I made a pot roast with potatoes, carrots, onions, homestyle egg noodles and gravy. I made it for Michael. But Harvard came and asked me if he could have some. You could have knocked me over with a feather. I fixed him a plate, and he ate every bit of it, and then got himself a piece of bread to soak up all the gravy, and he ate that, too. So he will eat beef every once in a while.
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