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“FEEDING HANNIBAL” (Book Review)

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Titan Books have just released FEEDING HANNIBAL by Janice Poon, who also served as the food stylist for the luscious NBC HANNIBAL series. It’s 238 glossy pages of recipes, tips, and meticulously shot photographs that would make any serious gourmand mad with envy.

Poon happened to be the first person Mads Mikkelsen met when he stepped off a plane in Toronto, en route to film HANNIBAL. He was “told to go straight to the food stylist… For a split second, standing in her kitchen while she was in the attic to pick up some more items, I convinced myself it was a setup. There was no show called HANNIBAL, no studios, crew or cast, only me standing her ready to get slaughtered and indeed learn about cannibalism the hardy way, by ending up Janice’s dining table.”

I happened to have met Mads Mikkelsen at a convention two years ago; I asked him about the then-fresh rumor that there would be a HANNIBAL cook book coming out. He paused before admitting that he was fearful that “someone would do the right thing” and make a cannibal feast out of the proposed recipe compendium.

Clearly, the time is now, and I did indeed find a disclaimer on the back cover, which reads: “This book is intended for Fannibals and foodies, not cannibals. Please don’t eat your friends!” Since Mikkelsen penned an introduction, he’s come to an understanding with the show (NBC and Gaumont Television) and the publisher (Titan Books), who also put out a beautifully photographed book I reviewed awhile ago, THE ART & MAKING OF HANNIBAL: THE TELEVISION SERIES.

FEEDING HANNIBAL is a beautiful, full-color book, filled with excellent food photography, stills from the show, detailed food sketches, and cooking and food prep techniques. Some of Poon’s writing is very funny, which adds a richer experience to the book. Sprinkled within the recipes are her memories of being on the set and how she created special food effects. Additionally, you can look forward to learning how to create candy glass shards, arterial spray, marzipan flesh, and edible art — such as when Francis Dolarhyde (played by Richard Armitage) eats William Blake’s “The Great Red Dragon and the Woman Clothed with the Sun” painting.

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José Andrés, a HANNIBAL culinary consultant and the chef/owner of ThinkFoodGroup, says of being initially approached by Bryan Fuller, the show’s frontrunner): “When Bryan Fuller walked into my Bazaar restaurant and asked me to be the Culinary Consultant for Hannibal, I never thought in turn of what a cannibal might eat. OK, maybe I got excited and started imitating Anthony Hopkins’ sucking noise from the movie.”

And on his involvement: “My role was to give Bryan and the scriptwriters some ideas about who Hannibal was when he was younger. But the one who would really be putting ideas on paper for Bryan and for the directors was Janice Poon. You see, Bryan will get an idea. He will email me in the middle of the night —‘José, Hannibal will be serving lamb. Any ideas?’ Maybe I am in bed, maybe I am in Tokyo, but I am ready.

‘It should be a baby lamb, the lamb of the Lord,’ I reply. There are so many religious overtones. Then Janice jumps in. It’s crazy, but good crazy. We go back and forth, freewheeling.”

Readers can look forward to recipes for so many things, including:  

  • Broken Teacup Parfait

  • Reba’s Cherry Berry Pie

  • Angel Wings

  • Eye of God Cookie Bowl (edible)

  • Crab Pilaf

  • Shallow Veggie Grave

  • Roast Trypophobia Garlic

  • Snail Pesto Buns

  • Sea Urchin

  • Clay-Baked Chicken

  • Osso Buco

  • Lung and Loin in Wine Sauce

  • Silver Tongue Devils

  • Pigtails Gangham Style

  • Heart with Sausage Stuffing

  • Prosciutto Roses on Watermelon

  • Cajun Frog Legs with Pistachio Dust

  • Wagu Beef Roulades

  • Tomato Brain Barquettes

Hungry for more elegant and eerie HANNIBAL dishes? You can order FEEDING HANNIBAL via Amazon here.

About the author
Michele "Izzy" Galgana
Michele “Izzy” Galgana is a freelance writer (Rue Morgue Magazine, Diabolique) and film festival programmer living in Boston, MA. She was seduced by the velvety voice of Vincent Price during her toddler years and has been addicted to horror films ever since. She was also the Marketing Director for the Viscera Organization and has curated films for the Boston Underground Film Festival, Boston Science Fiction Film Festival, and All Things Horror Online screening nights.
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