Freedom Fries, Liberty Cabbage, and Other Product Renamings

iStock
iStock

Political battles can dictate what we call our food and friends, and even what games we play. During WWI, sauerkraut was popularly rebranded Liberty Cabbage. When anti-French sentiments began to build a few years ago, "French Fries" were rechristened "Freedom Fries." (Nevermind that Thomas Jefferson may have been the one to first rave about the delicious side item in the U.S.). And while most patriotic terms fade, places like Berlin, Iowa, and Germantown, Nebraska, have ended up permanently renamed. Here are a few other examples of reactionary vocab rebranding efforts from all over the globe.

1. THE KIWI

The iconic fruit of New Zealand was originally known as a Chinese Gooseberry. When the country exported the fruits to the US starting in the 1950s, marketers referred to them as a melonettes to avoid evoking the Cold War conflict between China and the US. The name was later changed again to Kiwifruit came to avoid tariffs on melons and berries and to honor the country's national bird, the Kiwi.

2. KIWI LOAVES

In 1998, New Zealand bakers were irritated by threats of French nuclear testing in the Pacific Ocean. So they took matters into their own hands by renaming French bread as Kiwi bread. The action received little attention compared to the Freedom fry movement here in the states.

3. FRENCH VANILLA

Of course, now that the Star Spangled Ice Cream company has renamed its ice cream from "I Hate the French Vanilla" to "Air Force "˜Plane' Vanilla," the recent anti-French sentiments may have left US kitchens, for now.

4. ROSES OF MUHAMMAD

After the 2006 controversy over Danish cartoons depicting Muslims, the Iranian Confectioner's Union changed the names of Danish pastries to "Roses of the Prophet Muhammad."

5. BOURBON

To wash down the sweet taste of independence, Americans began drinking Bourbon—a Whisky first brewed in the US in 1789. Rev. Elijah Craig rebuked the UK origins of the drink, naming it after Bourbon County, Kentucky.

6. MECCA COLA

In 2002, Muslims asserted their beverage independence too. A Muslim-run company introduced Mecca Cola as an alternative to Coca Cola. The manufacturers imitated the Coca Cola flavor and packaged it with a red label and white script. Arab boycotts of American brands boosted the cola's sales.

Keep Your Cat Busy With a Board Game That Doubles as a Scratch Pad

Cheerble
Cheerble

No matter how much you love playing with your cat, waving a feather toy in front of its face can get monotonous after a while (for the both of you). To shake up playtime, the Cheerble three-in-one board game looks to provide your feline housemate with hours of hands-free entertainment.

Cheerble's board game, which is currently raising money on Kickstarter, is designed to keep even the most restless cats stimulated. The first component of the game is the electronic Cheerble ball, which rolls on its own when your cat touches it with their paw or nose—no remote control required. And on days when your cat is especially energetic, you can adjust the ball's settings to roll and bounce in a way that matches their stamina.

Cheerable cat toy on Kickstarter.
Cheerble

The Cheerble balls are meant to pair with the Cheerble game board, which consists of a box that has plenty of room for balls to roll around. The board is also covered on one side with a platform that has holes big enough for your cat to fit their paws through, so they can hunt the balls like a game of Whack-a-Mole. And if your cat ever loses interest in chasing the ball, the board also includes a built-in scratch pad and fluffy wand toy to slap around. A simplified version of the board game includes the scratch pad without the wand or hole maze, so you can tailor your purchase for your cat's interests.

Cheerble cat board game.
Cheerble

Since launching its campaign on Kickstarter on April 23, Cheerble has raised over $128,000, already blowing past its initial goal of $6416. You can back the Kickstarter today to claim a Cheerble product, with $32 getting you a ball and $58 getting you the board game. You can make your pledge here, with shipping estimated for July 2020.

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The Long, Fascinating History of Chocolate

Wikimedia Commons//Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons//Public Domain

Walk into just about any grocery or convenience store today and you're sure to find row upon row of chocolate in every imaginable form. While we have come to associate this sweet treat with companies like Hershey, chocolate has been a delicacy for centuries.

All chocolate comes from the cacao tree, which is native to the Americas, but is now grown around the world. Inside the tree’s fruits, or pods, you’ll find the cacao beans, which—once roasted and fermented—give chocolate its signature rich and complex flavor. While we don't know who first decided to turn cacao beans into chocolate, we certainly owe them an enormous debt of gratitude.

In this episode of Food History, we're digging into the history of chocolate—from its origins to the chocolate-fueled feud between J.S. Fry & Sons and Cadbury and much, much more. You can watch the full episode below.

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