Cancelling "exotic"

I think context and tone should be taken into consideration.

There’s a Politically Correct poster policing other posters on the TO Chowhound Board lately, and I don’t think she considers she, as a white baby boomer woman, maybe shouldn’t be deciding how everyone else should be posting. She keeps casting stones. Some of her language will be outdated or inappropriate some day, too.


To define someting as exotic reflects on the speaker’s experience, sophistication, imagination!


Aren’t you supposed to call them Woke nowadays? :grinning:


I can live without ‘exotic’, it’s subjective and lazy.


Exotic is relative, meaning “from another country”. Elephant Yam, Amorphophallus paeoniifolius, is exotic in the USA, but not in SE Asia. So, if I grow said yam in VA, it’s technically not exotic anymore… or is it? I’d like to “unexoticize” Aleppo pepper if I can locate real seeds!

This is like pl;aying “Twister” with our brains!


What else would you expect from the home of retsina?

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Indeed. One only has to browse the local markets in Greece. Every part of the animal, inside and out, is destined to be turned into something delicious.

Live snails. And of course I ate them.

Market butcher stall. Sheep come with or without head. Heads are also sold separately.

Meanwhile, Greece’s neighbours Albanians also eat the entire animal, but they don’t care about food safety and hygiene. Stalls and displays are
unnecessarily unsightly. Didn’t stop me from eating a sheep’s head, though.

We in the West eat all the offal, too. Just because we don’t see the nasty bits doesn’t mean they are not there. Sausages and processed meats are 2 things that come to mind.

I have seen mastic at Turkish supermarkets.


Exotic could be a very subjective adjective and surely quite personalised.

In our opinions, we found Indo-chine, Cambodian, Phuket Island Thai, Japanese and Hong Kong to be the most exotic cuisines we have eaten.

Though we are grand fans of Escargot, we do not consider them to be “exotic” …

One can also consider “the preparation” of shellfish to be “exotic” … Squid could be a fine example or Lobster … Polynesian could be considered exotic as well …

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Me too.

The use of the term “exotic dancer” to mean “stripper” might be a clue that “exotic” might be considered inappropriate to apply to someone’s ethnic cuisine.


At first glance, being an avid knitter/crocheter, I read that as Elephant YARN, envisioning a super-bulky worsted-spun that would have zero appeal for me. :sweat_smile: But an exotic YAM? Yeah, I’m interested.

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First, I’d love to cancel the use of the word cancel as coopted by white people having a moan about something.

Second, in reading these comments, I have to wonder if anyone read the original piece in The Washington Post, which is really thoughtful and holds with a lot of the work done by sociologists and social anthropologists.

Galarza is entirely right in pointing out the ways ‘exotic’ as a word enforces difference-- a category of ‘not me’ or ‘not us’ (the latter particularly when used in public writing) and what that does. It does not matter if this is ‘positive’ or linked with desire. This desire for consumption of the exotic has its roots in colonialism and is enacted today in tourist cultures and industries, which include food consumption. The trope of cannibalism or ‘eating the other’ has been addressed and refigured in anti-colonial works from early on-- ultimately in an encounter whereby white European settlers accuse natives of being the cannibals whilst eating every resource they have to offer from land to life. (I’m being sweeping and poetic, but thinking about a lot of the work in Cinema Novo.)

In the TLDR of it, desiring to consume the exotic is not as flattering or as benign as one thinks.

I’m also not entirely clear why you’re perseverating on the ‘is Greek exotic?’ theme-- I would think exoticism changes based on time and context, which is another reason not to use it. It carries far more troubling connotative weight than denotative weight.

Finally, whether you see it in use or not, Galarza, a professional food writer does. She receives it in letters from the public and in advertising and in other situations. She thinks that should stop. If you want to keep on doing it, fine, but there are things you smuggle in with that usage.


Seems to me “exotic” is in the eye of the beholder. If a Laotian wanted to call a chili dog the equivalent of “exotic” in Lao, I wouldn’t have a problem with that.


I’d put “exotic dancer” in the same category as “sanitation engineer” for a trash collector.

Everyone I know who uses Woke uses Woke as an insult, usually used to describe a left leaning tree hugger, up here in Canada.

I never hear progresssive ppl and or champagne socialists calling themselves woke. It’s always an insult from the right towards the left in my experience( I am probably a champagne socialist-)

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Why not just change exotic to erotic?

That’ll spice things up.

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Re: white people moaning.

I find it obnoxious when any group makes a comment about an entire other group.

I have been cautious about stereotyping for 30 years.

It’s like hearing nails on a chalkboard to see or read articles about what white ppl think, or Asian people think, or Black people think , or First Nations people think, or Polynesian people think, or any hybrid group thinks.

In my limited experience, the people I know who enjoy reading and posting these kinds of articles share the viewpoint of the author, often the same cultural group as the author, which feeds into the Friend Foe dynamic.

Are you with us or against us?

Making people more polarized by stereotyping causes a lot of hurt and harm.

I’m not going to be critical of, or offended by, a 75 year old Russian immigrant or a 65 yo Midwestern farm wife describing shawarma as exotic. I don’t use Oriental to describe food because it offends some people I know, but if someone speaking a 2nd language uses Oriental to describe food, I’m not going to correct them. I’m not going to police people on an online cooking and food forum.

There are bigger fish to fry.


Without wishing to cross the “no politics” line too much, that was exactly my point. It’s replaced PC as the unthinking insult by the right of the left. Ask them to explain what they mean and you’ll usually just get a blank look or maybe mumblings of some sort.

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Cue references to courgettes/zucchini and ripe figs.


And :peach: , which are in season in Ontario, right now​:joy: