Exotic Homogeneity: Culinary Othering in Dracula

In Bram Stoker’s Dracula (1897), a strong theme of xenophobia is at stake. This xenophobia not only applies generally as a fear of the foreign Other in relation to the vampire, but also specifically to a fear of the vampire as a culinary Other. Dracula survives solely upon the consumption of human blood, so his diet renders him a culinary Other by its contrast to an actual life-sustaining human diet, and also by its contrast to the variance and diversity of nutrients required for human survival. Exemplifying that contrast, Van Helsing and his somewhat multicultural/multigendered crew consume a variety of foods from a variety of international locations during their pursuit of Dracula, while also using innovative technologies. The crew is stronger in their diversity, the vampire weaker in homogeneity. This contrast parallels many of the realities of late-nineteenth century food consumption after the advent of food technologies like processed foods.

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