Keep Russian dressing out of your beef with Putin

Dostoyevsky, Swan Lake, and vodka are innocent!

Russian dressing.
(Image credit: Illustrated | iStock)

In February 2003, as protests against the looming war in Iraq were reaching a peak, a North Carolina businessman decided to put politics on the menu. Provoked by France's opposition to a U.N. ultimatum, Neal Rowland, owner of Cubbie's restaurant in Beaufort, placed stickers that read "Freedom" over the word "French" wherever it appeared. The next month, Congress got into the act: At the behest of Rep. Bob Ney (R-Ohio), the House of Representatives cafeteria began to offer Freedom fries and Freedom toast in place of the more usual descriptions.

The Freedom fries craze entered public memory as an embarrassing symptom of the war fever that gripped America after 9/11. That conflict has become retrospectively unpopular — but we remain susceptible to the same madness.

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