French fries on a white background
Food - Drink
Why A House Representative Tried To Rename French Fries
The late Walter B Jones Jr., a North Carolina Republican who served in the U.S. House of Representatives from 1995 to 2019, has gone down in history as one of the men who sought to rename one of America's favorite side dishes. Jones Jr.'s move to turn French fries into "Freedom Fries" all started with the Iraq War.
Jones Jr. proposed the idea in 2003, when France said it would not support the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq. He took inspiration from Neal Rowland, owner of a North Carolina diner who removed the word "French" from his fries and toast, saying "Since the French are backing down, French fries and French everything needs to be banned."
Jones Jr. soon got approval from fellow congressman Robert W. Ney of Ohio, in charge of the committee that managed the restaurants in Congress, and the duo got quite a few headlines, but not everyone's support. The move triggered unfavorable reactions from the likes of Democrat lawmaker Jose Serrano and the late chef Anthony Bourdain.
In all House of Representatives office buildings, "freedom fries" were indeed served until 2006, when they became French fries once again. Also, in the face of evidence that the Iraq War may have been fought under false pretenses, Jones Jr. went from being one of the war's greatest advocates to one of its most vocal critics.