Comments

LarryDecember 18, 2006 1:42 PM

Arby's French Fries became Freedom Fries a few years back after France opposed the US on something pertaining to one of the wars. I don't know if they ever changed the name back.

jayhDecember 18, 2006 2:08 PM

"Arby's French Fries became Freedom Fries a few years back after France opposed the US on something pertaining to one of the wars. I don't know if they ever changed the name back"

It's especially funny because the French do not consider fries to be French (they simply call them pomme frites--as I remember from high school) and in general would be more than happy to not be associated with that product.

BLPDecember 18, 2006 2:11 PM

Of course, not the most authoritative reference, but the Arby's and Freedom Fries articles on Wikipedia make no mention of this.

Arby's calls them "Fries" on their website (actually... "Homestyle Fries" or "Curly Fries")

Would you like to try again? =)

CliffDecember 18, 2006 3:01 PM

They're called "French fries" because the original style of making them is what we now call "steak fries". The potatoes are "frenched". That's the name of the cut.

Current french fries that we all think of nowadays are julienned.

-- A nerd and a cook. :-)

aeschylusDecember 18, 2006 3:07 PM

"French" fries are really frenched fries; the -ed was elided. Frenching is the style of cutting employed to make them. Indeed, "to french" is derived from the same root as the nationalist adjective, but doesn't mean the same thing. Renaming the fries because of the word "French" was pure ignorance. If they really wanted to pursue that concept they should have renamed:

to french (potatoes)
to frank (a check)
the (all-American) frankfurter
frankincense "freedom incense, anyone?"
anyone named Frank
Benjamin Franklin

--all derived from the same Old French word, "franc", which--it is blindingly ironic--happens to mean "free". How funny that the weak-minded stooges, via reactionary nationalism, arrive at a term, "freedom fries" with nearly the same etymological meaning...

Anonymous CowardDecember 18, 2006 4:28 PM

That was very good. If it didn't have a laugh track, people would think it's for real.

I think the reference to Arby's is just random. The place where they had that stupid "Freedom Fries" joke was a cafeteria at one of the houses of the USA Congress.

WillDecember 18, 2006 4:42 PM

I think the joke about Arby's fries is that they're terrible, and could be considered a deadly biological weapon.

This is not the first time I've heard this anti-Arby's humor, personally I don't get it. It seems to be of the same "quality" as every other fast food place.

Davi OttenheimerDecember 18, 2006 5:23 PM

Incidentally, as long as this is going into a thread about the freedom fries, I thought that I should mention that the original backers seem to have finally realized they were duped:

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/world/americas/...

"A pro-Iraq war US congressman who campaigned for French fries to be renamed 'freedom fries' is now calling for US troops to return home from Iraq. […] 'I just feel that the reason of going in for weapons of mass destruction, the ability of the Iraqis to make a nuclear weapon, that’s all been proven that it was never there.'"

kvenlanderDecember 18, 2006 10:28 PM

aeschylus, add to your linguistic tour de force the fact that 'franj' in Arabic is a loan from the same root and means Crusaders/Europeans... whee!

aeschylusDecember 19, 2006 1:17 AM

kvenlander, thanks for the tip.

Also, Star Trek fans and Europeans may be interested and offended, respectively, to know that Feringi is the Persian form of this root, also meaning a European. European Star Trek fans will have to work out how they feel about that on their own.

BTW, some say the "frenched fries" etymology is false. It may be; I don't have any authority to cite on that particular point--it's merely what I've learned somewhere in the past. Regardless, the remaining points stand and can be found under FRANK in Eric Partridges "Origins".

Richard VeryardDecember 19, 2006 2:35 AM

How funny that the weak-minded stooges, via reactionary nationalism, arrive at a term, "freedom fries" with nearly the same etymological meaning...

Reactionary nationalists have often sought to replace foreign-sounding words with their local equivalents - so don't assume they didn't know that franc=freedom, maybe they just preferred a more English (anglo-saxon?) word. The perimeter is dead, long live the perimeter.

aeschylusDecember 19, 2006 3:14 AM

IMHO, we're quite safe assuming that the people who proposed "freedom fries" were entirely unaware of the etymological meaning of "frank". The literacy of past reactionary nationalists isn't reflected in our current crop of blank-staring, traitorous, zealots. I might extend these idiots the slight benefit of the doubt in allowing that perhaps they were satirizing the French language academy's practice of replacing non-Latin words with Latin derivatives any time an imported word crosses a francophone's lips.

Of course, we're well on the way to our own glossotyrannical establishment here in the U.S., despite our Constitution's notable omission of any designated national language. One thing the Europeans clearly have over us is that they understand the value of learning multiple languages. Here, the lazy ignoramuses would rather impose their language on everyone else than get off their butts and take one step off their tiny linguistic islands. And they don't even teach English any more; I had to study classical Greek to learn English properly.

Sorry if this is too rantish and OT. Cheers and happy solstice (2006/12/22 0023 UTC) to all...

Particular Random GuyDecember 19, 2006 3:50 AM

I wonder what event in history made the French call American toast "American Toast". ;-)

habDecember 19, 2006 7:30 AM

Wow, some people can never let a thing go. Someone in Congress had a stupid idea that didn't go anywhere. Let's continue lambasting the whole nation over it more than three years later.

bobDecember 19, 2006 7:40 AM

Frankfurter, Hamburger and Wiener are all food items named for the corresponding german-speaking cities. In german "-er" appended means "from there". Like "New Yorker" would mean someone from New York. I guess "Philadelphier" would be a cheese steak sandwich?

"Americaner" is a type of pastry - seems like it was flat but vaguely conical and was iced on one side. I havent seen one in a long time (~20years), I wonder if thats political.

And of course "a Berliner" is a jelly doughnut which president Kennedy (famously) proclaimed himself to be.

Dave AronsonDecember 19, 2006 7:48 AM

@Will: Something being 'the same "quality" as every other fast food place' MEANS 'terrible, and could be considered a deadly biological weapon'!

@Particular Random Guy: You got me curious. What is it that the French call "American toast"? I've googled a bit but haven't been able to find the answer. Presumably just toasted bread?

RG3December 19, 2006 8:53 AM

I believe (although I may be wrong on this) that french fries actually originated in Belguim, anyway.

Dave AronsonDecember 19, 2006 9:10 AM

@RG3: Correct. In the Netherlands, they are often called "Belgian fries" or "Belgian potatoes". In France, they are usually called just "frites" or "pommes frites". Then there are the British who call them "chips", which are something else to Americans (crispy fried thin slices of potato).

Odd linguistic note: "pommes" is short for "pommes de terre", which is French for "potatoes", and literally mean "apples of (the) ground". (What that sounds like it means is a whole 'nother story!) So, "pommes frites" is literally "fried *apples*", but....

Particular Random GuyDecember 19, 2006 9:59 AM

@Dave: It's the name of extremely large and fluffy (and tasteless) white bread normally used for toasting.

In the US it was introduced to me as "Balloon Bread" ;-)

aeschylusDecember 19, 2006 10:33 AM

bob> Frankfurter, Hamburger and Wiener are all food items named for the corresponding german-speaking cities.

That's true, though wiener is short for wienerwurst, but the wiener part is for Vienna. In the case of frankfurter, the city's name, originally Frankfort, means the ford of the Franks. Same root.

aeschylusDecember 19, 2006 10:56 AM

hab> Let's continue lambasting the whole nation over it more than three years later.

No one is lambasting the whole nation over "freedom fries". Some of us are lambasting the stooges responsible. And while it might seem off-topic, "freedom fries" is emblematic of the sort of blind ignorance that got us embroiled in the current conflict. I.e., the French were right, but some in Congress thought they could simply define them out of existence instead of listening. And look at all the other useful things the Humpty-Dumpties have defined in order to make us safer: TSA, DHS, etc.

kvenlanderDecember 19, 2006 12:12 PM

BTW, check wikipedia for "liberty cabbage".

Wonder what's next: Freedom Numerals? Rumsfeldica coffee? Algebra will be renamed texasholdem and alcohol will be bushdrops.

aeschylusDecember 19, 2006 1:47 PM

kvenlander: the "liberty cabbage" thing is fascinating. And your neologisms cracked me up. :^)

RealistDecember 19, 2006 1:48 PM

@hab
"Wow, some people can never let a thing go. Someone in Congress had a stupid idea that didn't go anywhere. Let's continue lambasting the whole nation over it more than three years later."

...and blind support of another one of those stupid ideas has cost the US the lives of over 2,900 of its young men and women...

aeschylusDecember 19, 2006 7:21 PM

bob> And of course "a Berliner" is a jelly doughnut which president Kennedy (famously) proclaimed himself to be.

Berliner itself does mean "of Berlin". But because Kennedy used the substantive "ein Berliner" rather than the simple adjective, he implied he was a pastry of that name. He should have said simply, "Ich bin berliner."

A somewhat analogous gaffe would have occurred had he visited Copenhagen and announced (in English) that "I am a Danish" instead of "I am Danish".

Leave a comment

Allowed HTML: <a href="URL"> • <em> <cite> <i> • <strong> <b> • <sub> <sup> • <ul> <ol> <li> • <blockquote> <pre>

Photo of Bruce Schneier by Per Ervland.

Schneier on Security is a personal website. Opinions expressed are not necessarily those of Co3 Systems, Inc..