The nation’s spicy and sweet staple, mumbo sauce, became the center of an unexpected debate when  Washington, D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) claimed that the sauce is not quintessential D.C. in a Facebook post Nov. 20.

“Is anybody else annoyed by Mumbo sauce?” Bowser wrote in her Facebook post. “I wish people would stop suggesting that it is quintessential DC. I’m just saying I was a full grown woman before I had heard of mumbo sauce! So there, I’ve said it.”

Bowser’s post sparked controversy around the District, with some users commenting that her post reflects the effects of gentrification in D.C. Bowser’s post received over 1,500 comments as of Wednesday evening.

SPENCER COOK/THE HOYA Mayor Bowser criticized mumbo sauce, a sweet and spicy barbecue-like condiment, in order to give DC residents something to debate about over Thanksgiving, press secretary and deputy communications director for media relations LaToya Foster said

Although it was originally created in Chicago during the late 1900s, mumbo sauce gained its popularity in D.C. and is now more popular in the District than in Chicago, according to The Washington Post. The popular condiment, a barbecue-sauce-like combination of spicy and sweet flavors, can now be found all over the District, particularly in local takeout restaurants.

Bowser’s comment is a shift from her previously expressed view of mumbo sauce. In a 2017 letter written to Arsha and Charles Jones, who founded Capital City, a company that sells the sauce, Bowser praised the couple and their sauce’s impact on the city, according to The Washington Post.

“Nothing makes me prouder than when a DC native builds on a dream and sells a product that reminds customers young and old about our great city,” Bowser wrote in the letter.

Del. David Moon (D) from the Maryland House of Delegates issued his own comment through Twitter, mocking Bowser’s post but replacing mumbo sauce with Old Bay, Maryland’s own popular seasoning, according to The Washington Post.

“Is anybody else annoyed by Old Bay seasoning? I wish people would stop suggesting that it is quintessential MD. I’m just saying I was a full grown man before I had heard of Old Bay seasoning! So there, I’ve said it,” Moon tweeted.

Despite the widespread negative response to the post, Bowser intended to spur a friendly citywide debate and conversation for Thanksgiving, said LaToya Foster, press secretary and deputy communications director for media relations.

“The Mayor wanted to provide DC residents something to discuss on Thanksgiving beyond the midterm elections, backup quarterbacks and holiday shopping deals,” Foster wrote in an email to The Hoya. “All may participate in the debate; however, DC residents must lead the mumbo sauce portion.”

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