CHARLOTTE, N.C. (QUEEN CITY NEWS) – Support for Ukraine can come in many forms, maybe some you never even imagined.
At The Sidewalk Deli in downtown Salisbury, owner Rick Anderson took his support of Ukraine all the way to his menu. From now on, his popular Reuben sandwiches will be served with Ukrainian dressing, rather than Russian dressing.
“It tastes just like our old dressing, without the notable hints of genocide,” said Anderson.
It started after he saw a Facebook post calling for the famous cocktail to be called a ‘white Ukrainian’ rather than a “white Russian.”
“I came in this morning after having a few white Ukrainians last night, and I looked up there and saw Russian dressing on my board and thought, I can’t have that anymore,” he said.
It’s not the first time Americans have supported causes through their food choices. The most comparable example came during World War II when Americans started calling sauerkraut ‘liberty cabbage.’
“Like World War II, this conflict is very clear. There is an aggressor. Ukrainians are being bombed in their homes,” said UNC Chapel Hill Political Science Professor Milada Vachudova.
In 2003, a North Carolina restaurant renamed French Fries to ‘Freedom Fries’ after France decided not to support the US invasion of Iraq. Vachudova says that example is a bit different since France was not the aggressor.
“I think changing Russian dressing to Ukrainian dressing in this moment is an act of solidarity, and I think it kind of shows that people care, that they’re aware,” she said.
In a time when supporting Ukraine has transcended party lines and crossed from small towns to big cities, it’s sometimes the little changes that can garner the most attention.
“I know it doesn’t do anything to help the people of Europe or the people of Ukraine, but I think my symbolic effort is in no way ‘virtue signaling,’ it is just letting people know that I stand with the people of Ukraine,” said Anderson.
Vachudova also adds that’s while renaming dressing is a harmless show of support, it’s important to avoid ostracizing Russian Americans, many of whom fled Russia to escape the Putin regime themselves.