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When White People Say Plantation

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Jun 01, 2020
When White People Say Plantation

It started with a glass of pineapple rum. Osayi Endolyn, a black food writer, asked a white bartender at a cocktail bar in Nashville the brand name of the pineapple rum on the menu. The waitress hesitated. “It’s Plantation. Plantation Rum,” she said quietly. She scurried away. That awkward interaction sent Osayi on a journey to investigate the reoccurrence of the word plantation in the food world.

A few years later, Osayi has a slightly different question: what are white people trying to evoke by using this word? Because plantation isn't a culinary term. It doesn't indicate certain spices or cooking methods. So what purpose does it serve in the names of so many foods and drinks?

Osayi sends Dan out on a mission to talk to other white people in the food world – restaurant owners, recipes writers, bloggers, cookbook authors – who use the word plantation in their food branding. In the process, we try to learn something about whiteness in America.

This episode features conversations with the following individuals:

Chef Vinnie Carbone - owner of Carbone’s Ristorante (formerly Southern Plantation Restaurant)

Blair Lonergan - Creator of the Seasoned Mom blog.

Tom Gumhold - retired owner of the Plantation Supper Club in Wisconsin (recently closed)

Anne Butler - owner of the Butler Greenwood Plantation Bed & Breakfast

MaryAnn Dwyer - owner of The Beach House Kitchen blog

Britton Thrice and Ruthie Frierson - current publisher + creator of the Junior League of New Orleans Plantation Cookbook 

Osayi Endolyn is a writer and editor. This fall she wrap up a 6-month period guest editing Eater's Young Gun section dedicated to newer industry talent (that's at Eater.com). Osayi has an essay called "Trapped In, Dining Out" featured in Charlotte Druckman's forthcoming anthology, Women On Food (releases 10/29). Osayi's limited column on restaurant culture “Counter Service” is part of the Oxford American’s web series, the By and By. That’s at OxfordAmerican.org.

Interstitial music in this show by Black Label Music:

- "Dreamin' Long" by Erick Anderson

- "Legend" by Erick Anderson

- "Rooftop Instrumental" by Erick Anderson

- "Hang Tight" by Hayley Briasco

- "Lawless" by Lance Conrad

- "Steady" by Cullen Fitzpatrick

- "Private Detective" by Cullen Fitzpatrick

- "Iced Coffee" by Josh Leninger

Photo courtesy of David Lee, flickr.

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