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Freedom fries

Freedom fries, more commonly known as french fries, are potatoes that have been cut and deep-fried. On March 11, 2003, United States House of Representatives Robert W. Ney[?] and Walter Jones[?] declared that all references to "french fries" and "French toast" on the menus of the restaurants and snack bars run by the House of Representatives would be removed. House cafeterias were ordered to re-name french fries as "freedom fries". This action was carried out without a congressional vote, under the authority of Congressman Ney's position as Chairman of the Committee on House Administration, which oversees restaurant operations in the house.

Throughout the international debates prior to the 2003 invasion of Iraq, France has expressed opposition to the US insistence on military action.

According to a statement released by Ney, this move was a symbolic effort to express displeasure with France's "continued refusal to stand with their U.S. allies" (see Iraq disarmament crisis). The statement further read: "This action today is a small, but symbolic, effort to show the strong displeasure many on Capitol Hill have with our so-called ally, France."

Congressmen Ney and Jones, however, were not the first to re-name french fries as freedom fries. A number of private restaurants across the country started the renaming movement. Neal Rowland, owner of a privately owned fast-food restaurant Cubbie's in Beaufort, North Carolina, decided to sell his fried potato strips under the name "freedom fries." Rowland claimed that his intent was not to slight the French people, but to be patriotic and support President George W. Bush. Many of Rowland's customers were among the local military troops.

The word play is reminiscent of anti-German sentiment[?] during the First World War in which sauerkraut was renamed liberty cabbage, hamburgers were transformed into liberty steaks, and the German Ocean became the North Sea. (Even the German measles got a new name: liberty measles.) This similarity is intentional: Rowland described a conversation about these renamed foods during World War I as the inspiration for "freedom fries."

Prior to World War I, Americans widely referred to french toast as German toast. This food, too, is affected by the renaming, and is now being called "freedom toast."

Despite the symbolic change, it is unlikely to take hold in any meaningful way. Many Americans refer to french fries simply as fries, so the leading adjective is largely ignored anyway. Previous attempts to rename food during wartime have been largely unsuccessful, with one notable exception being the change of frankfurter to hot dog during World War II, although frankfurter is still recognized, but not commonly used.

See also: Anti-French sentiment in the United States, Newspeak

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