Do you remember what a colossally dumb idea freedom fries were? For those who only remember them as a colossally dumb idea, but who forget why we were shitting on the good people of France (aka me), allow Wikipedia to give you a refresher,
Freedom fries was a politically motivated renaming for French fries in the United States. The term was created in February 2003 in a North Carolina restaurant, and was widely publicized a month later when the then Republican Chairman of the Committee on House Administration, Bob Ney, renamed the menu item in three Congressional cafeterias. The political renaming occurred in context of France’s opposition to the proposed invasion of Iraq. Although some restaurants around the nation followed the renaming, the term became unpopular, in part due to declining support for the Iraq War. Following Ney’s resignation as Chairman in 2006, the change in congressional cafeterias was reverted.
I didn’t realize that freedom fries were “invented” in North Carolina—I love a thematic coincidence. I bring up freedom fries because North Carolina is at it again! On March 3, the Citizen Times published an article entitled, “Moscow Mule no more: Asheville restaurants respond to Russia-Ukraine war.” The article centers around Avenue M’s decision to rename the Moscow Mule the Peace Mule, in their words, “for the next little bit until people can figure out how to come together and start making the world a little better.”
Now, I like Avenue M as a restaurant—they’re the dining establishment that got me to try and like the southern staple of fried green tomatoes—but like freedom fries before them, I think this is a dumb idea—it’s the kind of performative activism/wokeness/social justice warrioring that so infuriates me, and that Asheville is unfortunately so adept at cultivating.
Now, can I fault Avenue M for showing support for Ukraine and getting a little positive press in the process—the “Peace Mule” has subsequently been featured on Yahoo News, USA Today, and Fox Business? No, not necessarily. But it’s still pretty pointless.
- While we’re certainly condemning the actions of Putin, we shouldn’t be so fast to condemn the people of Russia, the people of Moscow, who are fed heavy propaganda and live under a dictator. Villainizing Moscow, or Russia, can also impact the way people view Russian immigrants or Americans of Russian descent, which isn’t great—if we’re going to look back towards the Iraq War, look at the adverse effects popular culture villanizing the Middle East had on Middle Eastern immigrants, those of Middle Eastern descent, and sadly, on individuals people simply perceived to be Middle Eastern.
- As I saw one genius point out on Twitter, this is not the same as renaming monuments of the Confederacy, which I hope the performative woke Asheville crowd doesn’t see because boy can I see them running with that in very eye-roll-worthy ways. Confederate monuments were named after specific men who decided to secede from the United States and champion slavery to correct that gentleman. Moscow mules were named after the city of Moscow, which, according to Wikipedia, was founded in 1147, 805 years before Putin was born. Putin currently lives and rules from Moscow, but Moscow has an entire identity and history that have very little to do with Vladimir Putin.
- The Moscow Mule originated in New York. It has nothing to do with Russia. It’s the invention of savvy marketers.
In any case, I’m going to continue ordering Moscow mules. That doesn’t make me not support Ukraine. It doesn’t mean I’m pro-Russia. It just means I’m not jumping on an asinine trend for the sake of it, and speaking of asinine trends, I’d like to address one before moving onto the “justice for Bone and Broth” portion of this post.
The aforementioned Citizen Times article goes onto address how other restaurants are supporting Ukraine.
“‘We did have a few people reach out over social media to say, ‘Hey, what’s the Asheville restaurant community doing about this?’ said Mary Palles Byers, director of brand marketing,” the article reports of Katie Button Restaurants (the company behind Curate and La Bodega by Curate).
Consider this an open letter to the people that reached out over social media to see what restaurants were doing about a war halfway across the world: FIND SOMETHING BETTER TO DO. The hospitality industry is still struggling from the fallouts of Covid-19 closures, on top of having to deal with entitled assholes daily—don’t be another asshole they have to deal with. They have no responsibility to do anything to support Ukraine. If they want to, great, but don’t reach out and be the social justice police unless you’re also reaching out to Chik Filet and Disney and asking them about their social justice policies and interrogating how much child labor is responsible for your iPhone. Ya know?
Anyhow, rant over.
My parents were visiting last weekend, and we had dinner for my upcoming birthday at Bone and Broth Sunday night. My mother got a Moscow Mule, although it was technically called a Ginger’s Revenge Mule, which isn’t performative activism: Bone and Broth has had a Ginger’s Revenge Mule on their menu since the fall.
I wrote a post in November where I was maybe a bit of the entitled asshat, attacking Bone and Broth for only including one and a half eggs in their deviled eggs appetizer. I stand by my assertion that that’s absurd and that appetizers should come in even numbers. Still, Bone and Broth probably didn’t deserve my ranting, lest you quickly skim the article (which is very complimentary towards them otherwise, by the way) and think they’re anything other than a great dining establishment. I had one of the best meals I’ve had in a while there this past Sunday night.
The bone part of Bone and Broth comes from them being attached to the Chop Shop Butchery and essentially being a steakhouse. The broth? They have bone broth available as an appetizer. I’ve never had bone broth before Sunday, and now I’m going to be searching for it everywhere (searching and not making, as my mother and I were Googling recipes during our meal, and it’s very labor-intensive), or just going to Bone and Broth on a much more regular basis to get a cup of this deliciousness. They serve the bone broth with grilled sourdough if you need more enticement.
I also got a steak with delicious chimichurri, which I think should be one more menus—Bone and Broth seems to agree because they have a chimichurri grilled chicken I will be trying sometime soon. I didn’t sample any of Bone and Broth desserts because we’d stopped for ice cream before dinner (I got churro, which was excellent…my mom got peanut butter, which was ten times better than excellent), but I ate there recently where I had their grilled porkchop, which was one of the best pork chops I’ve ever had.
This was a very longwinded way for me to say that if you’re in Asheville and haven’t checked Bone and Broth out yet, you should.