liberty cabbage

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See also: Liberty cabbage



Coined during the First World War as a substitute for the word sauerkraut,[1][2][3] which had been borrowed from German around 1600.[4]


liberty cabbage (uncountable)

  1. (US, historical, nationalist) sauerkraut
    • 1918, The Institution Quarterly (Illinois), volume 9, issue 1, 31 March 1918, page 286:
      The largest quantity of vegetables prepared was Liberty cabbage, 661 barrels. If these barrels were placed lengthwise in a row, they would reach a distance of almost one-half a mile.
    • 1918, Liberty Cabbage, article in The New York Times, 30 November 1918:
      "Liberty cabbage," made in Germany and there still known as sauerkraut, has been served at many American army messes during the week, five carloads of the edible having been left behind by the withdrawing German army.
    • 1919, The National Association of Corporation Schools Bulletin, volume 6, issue 1, January 1919, page 124:
      A glance at the following menus gives an idea of the quality and variety of food served the employe[e]s: [...] Supper—Cream of Barley Soup, Wieners and Liberty Cabbage, Pork Chops, Fried Potatoes, Stewed Corn, [...]
    • 1919, Joseph Hermann, Milton Dentzler, Greenhouse, in The Industrial Enterprise, volume 26, issue 10, October 1919, page 11:
      We noticed the monstrous cabbage weighing eighteen pounds, but this was nothing new to us as in the past few days we have made thirty barrels of liberty cabbage.
    • 1919, Marion Harris Neil, The Thrift Cook Book, page 109:
      Guinea Fowls with Liberty Cabbage [...] Clean and disjoint guinea fowls. Season pieces by rolling them in a little flour [...] Cover Liberty cabbage with hot water, add smoked bacon and sausages.
    • 1919, New York Legislative Documents: One Hundred and Forty-Second Session, 1919, volume 39, issues 105–110, page 60:
      September.—Made 8 hhds. of Liberty Cabbage; housed onions, tomatoes, canteloupe, watermelons; began the apple picking; supplied the house with vegetables and fruits. N. B.—The frost hit and killed our tender crops on September 11, 1917.
    • 1919, State of New York Handbook of the State Hospital Commission, page 186:
      Utica State Hospital Regular Dietary for Patients week ending June 1, 1919 [...] Breakfast: Cereal, milk, syrup, bread, butter, coffee, (toast, fried Hamburg steak). Dinner: Corned beef, gravy, potatoes, coffee, liberty cabbage, bread, [...]
    • 2007, John M. Murrin, Paul E. Johnson, James M. McPherson, Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Since 1863, page 858:
      Sauerkraut was rechristened “liberty cabbage,” and hamburgers became “liberty sandwiches.” Libraries removed works of German literature from their shelves, and Theodore Roosevelt and others urged school districts to prohibit the teaching of the German language. Patriotic school boards burned the German books in their districts.
    • 2008, Daniel A. Farber, Security versus liberty, page 32:
      Sauerkraut became liberty cabbage; frankfurters became liberty sausage. (Could the creative members of Congress who coined the term freedom fries in a spasm of anti-French sentiment in 2002 have known of this earlier linguistic inventiveness?) German faculty members were fired from universities. German musicians were fired from orchestras.

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  1. ^ Sauerkraut may be ‘Liberty Cabbage’, article in The New York Times, 25 April 1918: The Federal Food Board was [...] petitioned that something be done at once to remove the pro-German stigma from sauerkraut. Owing to the prejudice that had developed against the use of a food of such unmitigated German origin the dealers maintained that great stores of sauerkraut were about to go to waste and [...] suggested that the name "sauerkraut" be done away with, and that the antipathy be avoided by calling it something like "Liberty Cabbage."
  2. ^ John M. Murrin, Paul E. Johnson, James M. McPherson, Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Since 1863 (2007), page 858
  3. ^ Daniel A. Farber, Security versus liberty (2008), page 32
  4. ^ Douglas Harper (2001–2023), “sauerkraut”, in Online Etymology Dictionary.