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"God made the vittles but the devil made the cook," was a popular saying used by seafaring men in the 19th century when salted beef was the staple diet aboard ship.  This tough cured beef, suitable for long voyages when nothing else was cheap or would keep as well (remember, there was no refrigeration), required prolonged chewing to make it edible.  Men often chewed one chunk for hours, just as if it were chewing gum and referred to this practice as "chewing the fat." Posted on Tuesday, April 26, 2005 11:02 PM Day Job , & Etc. | Back to top


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