Spice, culinary tourism, and expressions of whiteness in London, England and Nashville, Tennessee

Shultz, Sarah T. (2023) Spice, culinary tourism, and expressions of whiteness in London, England and Nashville, Tennessee. Doctoral (PhD) thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Using curry in East London in the United Kingdom and hot chicken in Nashville, Tennessee as case studies, this dissertation explores how ideas of spice and heat in “ethnic” foodways become linked to conceptions of authenticity and exoticness within the context of culinary tourism. Drawing on scholarship of folk narrative, culinary tourism, critical whiteness studies, and vernacular rhetoric, among others, I investigate the ways in which the concept of spice is used rhetorically in ongoing conversations about links between “ethnic” foods and cultural appropriation, identity invention, and representation from both local and touristic perspectives. I have concentrated mainly on how specifically white racial identities are expressed through the consumption of spicy food within the context of culinary tourism, in which “ethnic” foods are a primary attraction and are often understood to be non-white. This investigation includes historical context on both curry in east London and hot chicken in Nashville, interviews with locals, culinary tourists, and tourism professionals, participant observation on culinary tours in east London, and analyses of online restaurant reviews in each location. An analysis of these collected materials reveals that consumers in both locations share a frontier orientation towards the act of consuming spicy foods that utilizes aspects of the white racial frame (Feagin 2013), and consumers use the concept of spice to signify that they have had an experience that is sufficiently or insufficiently exotic. In both locations, the concept of spice also opens up opportunities for individuals (both locals and tourists) to push back against master narratives created by tourism agencies and local governments that oversimplify their lived experiences and understandings of history.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctoral (PhD))
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/16001
Item ID: 16001
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 289-318)
Keywords: foodways, culinary tourism, spice, folklore, race
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Folklore
Date: May 2023
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI): https://doi.org/10.48336/GCM9-BB63
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Food tourism--Tennessee--Nashville; Food habits--Tennessee--Nashville; Spices--Tennessee--Nashville; Food tourism--England--London; Food habits--England--London; Spices--England--London

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