France's refusal to back a proposed U.S.-led military campaign against Iraq started an international food fight of sorts Tuesday on Capitol Hill, as french fries and french toast were replaced in the House of Representatives eateries by "freedom fries" and "freedom toast."
The name changes follow similar actions by restaurants around the country protesting French opposition to the Bush administration's Iraq war plans.
"Update. Now Serving in All House Office Buildings, 'Freedom Fries,' " read a sign that Republican Reps. Robert W. Ney of Ohio and Walter B. Jones of North Carolina placed at the cash register in the Longworth House Office Building's food court.
Jones said he was inspired by Cubbie's restaurant in Beaufort, N.C., in his district, one of the first to put "freedom fries" on the menu instead of french fries.
"This action today is a small but symbolic effort to show the strong displeasure of many on Capitol Hill with the actions of our so-called ally, France," said Ney, chairman of the House Administration Committee. Ney, whose panel oversees House operations, ordered the name changes.
The French Embassy in Washington had no immediate comment, except to say that french fries actually come from Belgium.
Ney said that he was of French descent and that "once the French government comes around, we can get back to talking about french fries."
On a more serious note, Rep. Jim Saxton (R-N.J.) has proposed a ban on Pentagon participation in this year's Paris Air Show and restrictions on French participation in any postwar construction projects in Iraq.