Warning: include(/home78a/sub002/sc44157-LVZR/fuchsmichael.net/plugins/captcha/recaptcha/page.php): failed to open stream: No such file or directory in /mounted-storage/home78a/sub002/sc44157-LVZR/fuchsmichael.net/includes/framework.php on line 5

Warning: include(): Failed opening '/home78a/sub002/sc44157-LVZR/fuchsmichael.net/plugins/captcha/recaptcha/page.php' for inclusion (include_path='.:/usr/share/php5/') in /mounted-storage/home78a/sub002/sc44157-LVZR/fuchsmichael.net/includes/framework.php on line 5
tag --> New Chapter Draft on Food in Hannibal (TV Show) - Website of Michael Fuchs | University of Graz | American Studies | Film Studies | Game Studies | Television Studies | Media Studies

American Studies
Film Studies
Television Studies
Media Studies
Game Studies

14 Sep

New Chapter Draft on Food in Hannibal (TV Show)

Written by Michael Fuchs
Hits: 3088

Eat, Kill… Love? Courtship, Cannibalism, and Consumption in Hannibal

In the preface to their seminal volume Foodways and Eating Habits (1983), Michael Owen Jones, Bruce B. Giuliano, ‎and Roberta Krell stress that food and the rituals of eating reflect the "perceptions of the natural and social environment" of a given society.1 In view of foods centrality to human existence, they thus conclude that "there is perhaps no more fundamental act than that of sharing food."2 From the Ingalls gathering around the wooden farmhouse table for a fresh-cooked meal of farm-raised fare, to Sheldon and friends gathering around the TV to chow down on take-out food, television has not been shy about deploying this potent semiotic device. Indeed, for many television shows, meal scenes offer powerful insights into the world of the show.

Hannibal (NBC, 2013–2015), a television show that reinvents the cannibalistic serial killer known from cinema and books, takes this idea even further by consistently deploying food as a "remarkably concentrated signifier" to communicate a wide variety of messages.3 Thus, we will argue that Hannibal's eating scenes and cannibalism tap into the operating principle of serialized television narratives, which requires interpretive interaction and speculation on the audience's end. As Richard Dyer has suggested, "the pleasure principle of seriality" has a long history in storytelling: "Bards, jongleurs, griots and yarn spinners . . . have all long known the value of leaving their listeners wanting more, of playing on that mix of repetition and anticipation, and indeed of the anticipation of repetition," as audiences are left wondering, "What will happen next?"4 In view of this "pleasure principle of seriality," we will suggest that cannibalism and food imagery undermine comfortable assumptions and associations about the characters' desires and motivations. In so doing, we will first show how the TV show creates a Hannibal Lecter different from the incarnations found in earlier literary and cinematic texts. Similarly, we will explore how food imagery helps establish this new Hannibal by contrasting him with other killers in the show. We will then discuss the ways in which Hannibal's gourmet cannibalism functions as a social commentary. Finally, we will examine how food imagery negotiates relationships between Hannibal and other characters in ways that blur the distinction between violence and compassion to maintain the intrigue of Dr. Hannibal Lecter and keep viewers invested in the character and the show.

Re-Booting Dr. Hannibal Lecter

Although the character of Dr. Hannibal Lecter first appeared in a minor role in Thomas Harris' novel Red Dragon (1981), it was not until the 1991 film version of the sequel, The Silence of the Lambs (1988), that the character stepped into the spotlight. Lecter almost instantly "bec[a]me a popular icon,"5 and strong audience demand prompted two more novels focused on Lecter, which were immediately adapted to the big screen.

Writing about the original incarnation of Hannibal, Maggie Kilgour noted, "Lecter is . . . a man of both cultivated aesthetic as well as crude savage taste, who exposes the affinity between barbarism and civilization."6 While these original works alluded to Lecter's high-culture predilections, viewer fascination with the character was firmly rooted in the fear of the primitive monster lurking within. This anxiety is reflected in the iconic image from The Silence of the Lambs, which depicts Dr. Lecter "[standing] upright on his hand truck, wrapped in canvas webbing and wearing his hockey mask."7 The removal of the mask releases the instinct-driven animal and leads to the only food scene in the movie, which is also the only graphic, on-screen murder committed by Lecter: To the soothing strains of the Goldberg Variations, two police officers bring a caged Lecter a meal of "lamb chops, extra rare."8 Eventually, Lecter savagely bites off one guard's face before bludgeoning the other guard to death with a police baton. From the choice of meal to the manner of murder, this scene portrays the primitive lust for human flesh that makes this incarnation of Hannibal Lecter so terrifyingly fascinating.

Subsequent texts in different media constructed a back story about Hannibal's forced cannibalism of his sister to endow the character with "a tragic personal history . . ., humanizing [him] . . . and making [him] capable of earning our sympathy."9 However, since the dark allure of the original character was based on the animal lurking within, the suggestion of an underlying moral code that justified Lecter's savage acts diluted the character by introducing a fundamental dissonance. Hannibal Rising (2006), in particular, demonstrated that Harris and the filmmakers involved in the adaptation proved unequal to the challenge of creating a prequel that would remain faithful to and consistent with the original character.

In contrast, when Bryan Fuller embarked on the project of transforming Hannibal's story into a television show, he embraced the current fad of reboots, in which the creator of the new version claims the right to take liberties with the story. Before the series even launched, Fuller announced that the creative team would "subvert [Lecter's] legacy and give the audience twists and turns."10 And, indeed, Fuller went on to alter, omit, or blend episodes from earlier texts (both literary and cinematic), re-sequence and add events, and make significant changes to the dramatis personae by introducing new characters and radically altering inherited characters (e.g., changing gender, modifying race, and merging characters).

A Different Breed of Killer

One of the characters who underwent an important alteration was Hannibal Lecter himself, as Fuller made good on his announced intention to "reinvent Dr. Lecter."11 An essential element in this reinvention was the rejection of barely controlled savagery as the defining characteristic of Lecter. In fact, Hannibal's version of Dr. Lecter is in complete control over his own emotions and actions, as Anthony Hopkins' wild-eyed, physically menacing presence is replaced by the ominous calm of Mads Mikkelsen. In this way, the tension shifts from a sense of physical danger to psychological horror, for Hannibal's main source of satisfaction is not the killing and consuming of human beings, but rather his ability to use his superior intellect to manipulate people in twisted ways. As Bedelia, Hannibal's psychiatrist, colleague, and occasional love interest, states in the penultimate episode of the entire show, "Hannibal does have agency in the world."12 To emphasize this cold psychological dimension of the horror of Hannibal, the show uses images of food and consumption to contrast Hannibal with the other killers in the show, who are most often driven by barely controlled desires.

For example, Randall Tier's telling second name ("animal" in German) bespeaks his desire to become an animal. Tier, a monster of the week in season two, constructs an exoskeleton with hydraulic jaws that affords his weak human body super-human power to stalk and kill humans. Randall's transformation into an animal manifests the primitive drives generally assumed to guide killers' actions. In contrast, Hannibal uses his intellectual and psychological acumen to manipulate Tier into attacking FBI advisor Will Graham, thereby transforming Tier into Hannibal's pet. In the end, the food imagery takes an unexpected twist when Will ends up killing Tier and dumping his body on Lecter's dining table as a kind of food offering, evoking the feline practice of leaving dead animals on their masters' doorsteps as a token of affection.

Hannibal's powers of psychological manipulation are also evident in his ability to further Francis Dolarhyde's transformation into the inhuman Red Dragon in the second half of season three. Here again, food imagery dramatizes this descent into bestiality. On a ritualistic level, Dolarhyde consumes the ominous Blake painting bite by bite in an effort to assimilate the work's imagined spiritual potency. In a more explicitly cannibalistic scene, Dolarhyde bites off Dr. Frederick Chilton's lips to punish him for his disparaging remarks in the press and to send a message to Hannibal and Will Graham. Although this event is shown in excessively gory detail, Dolarhyde does not actually eat the lips, but rather mails them as a kind of oblation to the imprisoned Dr. Lecter, who quickly swallows one of them. Significantly, the playful way that Hannibal gulps down the lip like an oyster does not suggest submission to a craving for human meat, but rather a considered act by which he both accepts the offering from his disciple and delivers a powerful psychological shock to Dr. Alana Bloom, Lecter's former lover and current keeper.

Despite sending Chilton's lips to Lecter, Dolarhyde fails to connect with the Doctor; rather, the show places killers like Tier and Dolarhyde in stark contrast to Hannibal, whose apparent self-control is so overdone that it even sparks self-reflexive, tongue-in-cheek comments in the diegetic world. In "Secondo," for example, Hannibal serves one of his victims punch romaine, the "cocktail served to first-class guests on the Titanic during their last dinner,"13 as Hannibal informs his guest and viewers, before ramming an ice pick into his victim's head. He then calmly opines, "That may have been impulsive," to which Bedelia retorts, "You've been mulling that impulse ever since you decided to serve punch romaine."14 Indeed, Bedelia's remark highlights that this particular murder had occupied Lecter's mind for a few days, and the cocktail had been carefully selected for maximum symbolic effect; a far cry from the impulsiveness Lecter ascribes to the act.

Of Cannibals, Class, and Consumption

Hannibal's cold rationality breeds his rejection of the fundamental cultural belief in the superiority of human beings over all other animals, which is at the root of the taboo against cannibalism. As Hannibal provocatively points out, "The tendency to see others as less human than ourselves is universal."15 Yet in order to preserve, and even heighten, the audience's attraction to Hannibal, the show normalizes this subversive attitude through the symbolic vehicle of food. To this end, Hannibal situates cannibalism within different value systems found in American society to highlight the culturally constructed nature of this taboo and to question its validity.

In "Sorbet," Hannibal's culinary exploits undermine the concept of human exceptionalism. Early in the episode, Hannibal attends an operatic concert, where a banner in the background reveals the performance to be a "concert for hunger relief."16 The performance scene transitions to a conversation in which a female caricature of the wealthy cultural elite sycophantically takes Hannibal to task for his recent failure to throw one of his dinner parties. The spectacle of a wealthy socialite at a hunger relief concert reminiscing about elaborate dinner parties invites the audience to question the real function of this social event, as well as the sincerity of the participants' concern for the plight of the world's starving masses.

Ultimately, Hannibal does throw one of his dinner parties. In the lengthy food preparation scenes that precede the party, the highly stylized staging, with classical music accompaniment and close-ups of the artful carving maneuvers involved, highlights the artistry of the process and transforms human flesh into a delectable-looking dish. Food's "primacy in our lives," which "precedes literacy,"17 thus triggers a visceral response in the viewer, and these Pavlovian hunger pains that TV viewers often experience when watching dining scenes take on a particularly disorienting resonance. Thus, situating the act of cannibalism within the elevated signification system of gourmet food destabilizes the presumed symbolic distinction between human and animal meat.

At a mere thirty-eight seconds, the actual dinner party scene consists of little more than a tilting shot of the elaborate dishes Hannibal has prepared, followed by Hannibal's toast to his guests: "Before we begin, you must all be warned—nothing here is vegetarian."18 The guests' laughter at this condescending quip reveals that the true purpose of this lavish dinner is a ritual of conspicuous consumption in which the participants celebrate the assumed cultural superiority that makes them too aloof to bother with the mundane concerns behind the vegetarian lifestyle (e.g., animal rights, bodily health, environmental awareness). In fact, their reaction begs the question of whether the diners would even object if they knew the secret ingredient in the dishes before them, thereby tapping into the modern brewing discontent with the growing economic disparities of the world. Indeed, while Jennifer Brown recently concluded that "[t]he cannibal has become the reviled image of overindulgence, overspending, and overexploitation of resources,"19 Hannibal turns the tables, for the show highlights these traits in the non-cannibals at the party, thus calling into question the presumed bonds of affection that unite humanity.

In addition, the veiled reference to cannibalism in Hannibal's remark about vegetarianism functions as a "joke which the viewer is invited to figure out."20 This device recurs frequently in Hannibal and draws viewers into the world of the show. In this way, the viewers' laughter implicates them in another ritual of consumption that carries value connotations, for it serves as a tangible sign of their consumption of an entertainment product about cannibalism and serial murder. And as Ashley M. Donnelly has pointed out in reference to a similar show, Dexter (Showtime, 2006–2013), watching the show "puts us in an uncomfortable position, as if any enjoyment that we get from the show at all amounts to complicity on our part. If we watch, doesn't our watching amount to endorsement?"21 This effect is perhaps even more marked in Hannibal, which is riddled with cannibalism-based inside jokes between the serial-killing main character and the audience.

Eat, Kill ... Love?

Beyond the elements of social criticism, "Sorbet" offers a useful entry point into the role of food imagery in mediating personal relationships. In this case, Hannibal's aforementioned cannibalism-based humor both draws the viewer into the show and provides an insight into Lecter's mind. Not only is he sharp-witted, but he also takes pleasure in amusing himself at the expense of others, a practice which in this case emphasizes his power over the alleged elite of society. However, this episode also makes it clear that Hannibal has tired of toying with the socialites and now wants to move on to more interesting games involving interpersonal relationships. In "Sorbet," the focus is on the preparation scenes, during which he is first assisted by Alana and eventually visited by Will as he puts the final touches on the meal. In these scenes, which reproduce a social practice whereby the host's closest friends or family members arrive early to help prepare for a social gathering, food functions "as the basis of, as well as the justification for, interacting with others."22 Thus, the monstrous act of carving and seasoning human flesh is transformed into an intimate ritual by which interpersonal bonds are reinforced and perpetuated, leaving the viewer suspended uncomfortably between feelings of tenderness and disgust.

This underlying tension between horror and romance defines the show's entire narrative arc, as the viewers are never certain if Hannibal truly feels anything for any of the other characters, or if he is just simulating emotions as part of his game of manipulation. Although the relationships in Hannibal play out largely in both psychological consultations and meal scenes, in keeping with the theme of the present volume, we will exclude the former and focus on some key scenes that employ food imagery to negotiate the relationships in the serial narrative and preserve the fundamental mystery of Hannibal's mind.

Before covering the central interpersonal story between Hannibal and Will, a brief digression into some of the peripheral characters will help demonstrate how food imagery mediates interpersonal relationships. Although the show's main agents are male, there are a few key female characters who serve as accessories. The first to emerge is Abigail Hobbs, the orphaned daughter of the pilot episode's killer of the week whom Hannibal uses to create a family. The essential event for this storyline takes place in the season one episode "Œuf." After an appetizer of hallucinogenic mushrooms designed to prime Abigail's emotional attachment instinct, Hannibal serves her a dinner of sausage and eggs, a classic comfort food that implies a familial intimacy, particularly when contrasted with Hannibal's typical gourmet fare.23 During the dinner, Alana shows up at the house and Hannibal takes her into the kitchen, where they have a heated argument that almost parodies the conflicts concerned parents have about their children. After seemingly winning the argument (as evidenced by Hannibal's apologetic manner), Alana enters the dining room to find a table set for three. She then takes her place as the mother in this family photo, prompting the drugged Abigail to utter, "I see family."24

Hannibal eventually engages in a relationship with Alana that features the hallmarks of a healthy relationship. However, the show uses food imagery to demonstrate that Hannibal does not view her as an equal in their relationship or in the game of psychological chess Hannibal is playing with Will and Jack Crawford, the head of the FBI's Behavioral Sciences Unit. First, Alana is the only person in the show who drinks beer, a beverage with clear class connotations. Second, there are no scenes of one-on-one meals with Alana, which stresses her function as a tool for Hannibal to reach out to others. In the long run, Hannibal even slips a sedative in her wine to ensure that she will sleep long enough for him to carry out his criminal activities while still using her as an alibi. Here, the ease with which Hannibal can manipulate Alana using ingested substances symbolizes her lack of power. Alana is ultimately nothing more than a minor prop in Hannibal's staged psycho-drama.

In contrast, Hannibal's other female "love interest" in the show, Bedelia Du Maurier, is more deeply ensnared in Hannibal's world by her past killing of a patient in "self-defense," orchestrated by Hannibal. Through this event, Hannibal reveals himself to Bedelia, while simultaneously cementing his control over her, as his role as her alibi in that crime precludes her from revealing his criminal acts. Due to this shared knowledge, Bedelia fulfils the requirement of true friendship that Hannibal explains in a later episode: "The most beautiful quality of a true friendship is to understand [and] be understood with absolute clarity."25

Although their relationship is staged mostly in therapy sessions, there are a few key meal scenes, as well. First, in the season one finale, after Hannibal has successfully "ended" his "affair" with Will by framing him for murder, he brings dinner to Bedelia. Here, Hannibal fulfils his need to have another person, his one trusted(?) friend, acknowledge and appreciate his complete control over the events in his life. However, the scene also emphasizes Hannibal's power over Bedelia, who consumes the "controversial dish" served to her,26 despite her implied awareness of its possible origin. Similarly, the season two finale ends with Hannibal sipping champagne on a plane as Bedelia sits (uncomfortably) in the next seat without a drink, thereby reinforcing both her implied complicity and Hannibal's dominance.

In season three, meal scenes completely replace therapy sessions as a tool for dramatizing the relationship between Bedelia and Hannibal. In a move typical of the series, these scenes all play out as common, everyday events, but with an underlying tension caused by the fundamental uncertainty about the possible affection between the two characters. In fact, the violent acts perpetrated during these dinners have less to do with the victims’ becoming-food than they do with the effects they have on the relationship between Hannibal and Bedelia. Thus, Hannibal kills one person in front of Bedelia, manipulates her into "technically" killing another, and makes her an unwilling participant in two human-based meals. While her decision to "try[] not to eat anything with a central nervous system" represents a challenge,27 Hannibal's acts have clearly bound Bedelia to him as a partner in crime, making her the character that comes closest to a female companion in the series.

However, across the three seasons, the importance of Hannibal's relationship with Bedelia pales in comparison to the one relationship that drives the serial narrative—the convoluted, enigmatic partnership between Hannibal and Will Graham. Indeed, before filming even began, showrunner Bryan Fuller described his intention to create "a love story, for lack of a better description, between these two characters [Dr. Hannibal Lecter and Will Graham]."28 Leslie Fiedler has traced this trope of homosociality back to American Romanticism in his analysis of various male "couples" in American literature. He argues that these relationships act out the male desire to escape the confines of heterosexual relationships and civilized society by bonding "with [a] comrade of one's own sex" to form "a union which commits its participants neither to society nor to sin."29 In the present media landscape, this is often labeled "bromance," "in which males symbolically play out romantic attachments to one another while artfully maintaining assiduous control of social and interactional distance."30

While the need to maintain distance typically stems from a taboo against homosexuality, in Hannibal, this taboo is almost completely subsumed by a host of other taboos that complicate the romance between Will and Hannibal, including prohibitions against relationships between co-workers, patients and doctors, criminals and enforcers of the law, and, ultimately, cannibals and non-cannibals. Although the show certainly contains homosexual overtones, the dramatic tension in the relationship largely stems from the audience's uncertainty about the sincerity of the characters' affections for each other, a typical feature of any love story. Here, questions of food and consumption once again play a central role in blurring the boundaries between Hannibal's affection and manipulation.

Already in the pilot episode, Hannibal's entrance is loaded with food imagery, as he pleasurably consumes human(?) meat alone in his dining room.31 The scene highlights Hannibal’s solitude, but also contrasts the worlds the two characters inhabit at the outset of the show: Hannibal, clad in fine attire, enjoys gourmet fare in his tastefully decorated, dimly lit dining room, while Will stands under garish fluorescent lights in the pathology lab watching the forensic pathologists dissect a corpse. With this juxtaposition of the two settings, the show already begins to undermine comfortable assumptions about the dichotomy between culture and savagery. Furthermore, already in this first episode, food is used to lead the viewers to a false conclusion, as the implied connection between Hannibal and that particular corpse turns out to be false, for Hannibal did not kill that person. Later in the episode, Hannibal pursues his FBI-appointed task of evaluating Graham's psychological fitness by visiting a grumpy Will at his hotel room. In this "first date," Hannibal uses food to penetrate Will’s stand-offish defenses, as well as to introduce him (unknowingly) to the world of cannibalism, as the visual evidence strongly implies that Hannibal's "little protein scramble" contains human meat.32

However, for Hannibal, "unknowingly" is insufficient, and he embarks on an elaborate scheme to convert Will using psychological manipulation. As this "love affair" between the two characters plays out, food becomes a vehicle in the struggle for power between Hannibal and Will (and Jack Crawford). Thus, Hannibal force-feeds a human ear down Will's throat, Will and Jack bring trout to a Hannibal dinner to provoke Hannibal, and Will eventually brings Hannibal meat that he suggests is human flesh as a false friendship offering when he is trying to entrap Lecter. This storyline culminates in the scene in which Hannibal plans to feed Will's brains to Will and, presumably, the immobilized Jack, which would represent the ultimate triumph of Hannibal over Will and Jack. However, Hannibal's victory is interrupted by the entrance of the police. Here again, food plays a key role, as the police are guided to the scene of the crime by a food trail left by Bedelia and followed by Alana, Hannibal's two "jilted" lovers.

This brings the action to the Verger mansion, home to Hannibal's nemesis Mason Verger (whom Lecter had previously forced to feed his own face to Will's dogs). Verger is another character whose status is symbolically represented by his relation to food. Where Hannibal's gustatory flair represents his cultured, Old-World aristocratic roots and predilections, Verger's position as the second generation of a family enterprise based on factory farming and producing food for mass consumption highlights his status as a spoiled, nouveau-riche capitalist heir with false aristocratic pretensions. At Verger's dining table, Verger and his chef/surgeon/henchman Cordell chain Will and Hannibal to the chairs in order to feed them samples of the dishes they intend to make out of Hannibal's flesh, only to be interrupted by Will taking a savage bite from Cordell's cheek. However, Will's first conscious taste of human flesh does not seem to convert him, as later in the episode he effectively breaks up with Hannibal using the line, "I don't have your appetite."33

Of course, this breakup just temporarily postpones the Hannibal/Will love affair until the penultimate scene of the whole show, which is charged with images of consumption. In this scene, Hannibal confesses his "inconvenient" compassion for Will as he opens a bottle of fine wine,34 the first testament of emotion from Hannibal that seems sincere. However, Will rejects this advance by saying, "If you're partial to beef products, it is inconvenient to be compassionate toward the cow."35 This moment of romantic tension is interrupted by the Dragon, who shoots both Hannibal and the bottle. This action sets off the transformation from the civilized, quasi-romantic, honeymoon scene into an orgy of artistically styled, yet primitive violence in which Hannibal rips the Dragon's throat with his teeth while Will carves him up almost systematically with a knife. Thus, after three seasons, the veneer of gourmet consumption is finally stripped away to reveal the carnal urge that bonds the two characters. The most violent, gory scene depicted in the entire series ends up serving as a shared ritual by which Will and Hannibal finally consummate their relationship and leads to their romantic embrace and dramatic plunge into the Atlantic Ocean.

Doctor, Eat Thyself

In an essay about food in Hannibal, we would be remiss not to mention the specific scenario of auto-cannibalism. In the course of this chapter, we have demonstrated that Hannibal's culinary expertise neutralizes the horror of cannibalism by masking the source of the food consumed. The fact that the diners are unaware of their own cannibalistic act casts Hannibal as a trickster, who may laugh at his guests, but causes them neither physical nor psychological distress. This pushes the viewer toward a realization of the socially constructed nature of the taboo against cannibalism. However, cannibalism takes on a markedly different symbolic value in scenes in which Hannibal feeds Dr. Abel Gideon (the killer who dared to lay claim to some of Hannibal's murders) his own limbs. Gideon's awareness of what he eats, combined with the fact that he is eating himself, transforms Hannibal from trickster to torturer and reveals his complete lack of human empathy. The lack of the violence or gore that typically signal evil in audio-visual horror texts places the focus squarely on Hannibal's extreme cruelty, thereby stripping away any comforting illusions viewers might harbor about Hannibal's redeeming affections for other characters and making these perhaps the most disturbing scenes in the whole series.

Yet the show saves one more disturbing moment for its final scene, which shows Bedelia clad in alluring eveningwear seated at a table set for three with her own leg prepared as a succulent dish, seemingly waiting in breathless anticipation of something. The scene sparked an orgy of speculation among fans and media commentators. Without delving into the many possible interpretations offered, we would suggest that it is the very act of fan speculation that is significant. Since the scene implies Bedelia is sitting at the table of her own free will, viewers are compelled to contemplate how she could still be attached to Hannibal and long for his return. Of course, it is difficult for viewers to ponder these questions for long without realizing that they themselves are experiencing a disturbingly similar feeling—a sadness that the character to whom they have become attached over three seasons is no more. Thus, the post-credit scene highlights one last time the unsettling allure of a character who gains almost god-like powers by exploiting his intellectual superiority and rejecting the constraints imposed by civilized society.


01 Michael Owen Jones, Bruce B. Giuliano, and Roberta Krell, "Prologue," in Foodways and Eating Habits: Directions for Research, ed. Michael Owen Jones, Bruce B. Giuliano, and Roberta Krell (Los Angeles: California Folklore Society, 1983), xii. | return to main text |
02 Michael Owen Jones, Bruce B. Giuliano, and Roberta Krell, "Resources and Methods," in Foodways and Eating Habits: Directions for Research, ed. Michael Owen Jones, Bruce B. Giuliano, and Roberta Krell (Los Angeles: California Folklore Society, 1983), 91. | return to main text |
03 Gaye Poole, Reel Meals, Set Meals: Food in Film and Theatre (Sydney: Currency Press, 1999), 3. | return to main text |
04 Richard Dyer, Only Entertainment, 2nd edn (London: Routledge, 2002), 70– 1. | return to main text |
05 Daniel O'Brien, "Foreword," in Dissecting Hannibal Lecter: Essays on the Novels of Thomas Harris, edited by Benjamin Szumskyj (Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008), 3. Consider the fact that Hannibal had an appearance in the pop culture barometer The Simpsons seven months after Silence's theatrical release ("Stark Raving Dad"). | return to main text |
06 Maggie Kilgour, "The Function of Cannibalism at the Present Time," in Cannibalism and the Colonial World, ed. Francis Barker, Peter Hulme, and Margaret Iversen (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998), 248– 9. | return to main text |
07 Thomas Harris, Silence of the Lambs (New York: St. Martin's, 1988), 186. | return to main text |
08 Silence of the Lambs [film]. | return to main text |
09 Philip L. Simpson, Psycho Paths: Tracking the Serial Killer through Contemporary American Film and Fiction (Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2000), 11. | return to main text |
10 James Hibberd, "'Hannibal' on NBC: How Bryan Fuller will reinvent Dr. Lecter— EXCLUSIVE." Entertainment Weekly (April 19, 2012). http://www.ew.com/ article/ 2012/04/19/bryan-fuller-hannibal (accessed October 2, 2015). | return to main text |
11 Ibid. | return to main text |
12 "The Number of the Beast is 666," written by Jeff Vlaming, Angela Lamanna, Bryan Fuller, and Steve Lightfood, directed by Guillermo Navarro, Hannibal: Season 3. | return to main text |
13 "Secondo," written by Angelina Burnett, Bryan Fuller, and Steve Lightfoot, directed by Vincenzo Natali, Hannibal: Season 3. | return to main text |
14 Ibid. | return to main text |
15 "Shiizakana," written by Jeff Vlaming, directed by Michael Rymer, Hannibal: Season 2. | return to main text |
16 "Sorbet," written by Jesse Alexander and Bryan Fuller, directed by Michael Rymer, Hannibal: Season 1. |
17 Anne L. Bower, "Watching Food: The Production of Food, Film, and Values," in Reel Food: Essays on Food and Film, ed. Anne L. Bower (New York: Routledge, 2004), 10. |
18 "Sorbet." | return to main text |
19 Jennifer Brown, (Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013), 214. |
20 Jonathan Bignell, An Introduction to Television Studies, 2nd edn (London: Routledge, 2008), 105. | return to main text |
21 Ashley M. Donnelly, "The New American Hero: Dexter, Serial Killer for the Masses," Journal of Popular Culture 45, no. 1 (2012): 22. | return to main text |
22 Jones, Giuliano, and Krell, "Resources," 91. | return to main text |
23 For a detailed discussion of this episode, which makes extensive use of meal scenes to comment on family issues, see Michael Fuchs, "Cooking with Hannibal: Food, Liminality and Monstrosity in Hannibal," European Journal of American Culture 34, no. 2 (2015): 102–6. | return to main text |
24 "OEuf," written by Jennifer Schuur, directed by Peter Medak, Hannibal: Season 1. | return to main text |
25 "Mizumono," written by Bryan Fuller and Steve Lightfoot, directed by David Slade, Hannibal: Season 2. | return to main text |
26 "Savoureux," written by Steve Lightfoot, Bryan Fuller, and Scott Nimerfro, directed by David Slade, Hannibal: Season 1. | return to main text |
27 "Antipasto," written by Bryan Fuller and Steve Lightfoot, directed by Vincenzo Natali, Hannibal: Season 3. | return to main text |
28 Quoted in Hibberd, "'Hannibal' on NBC." | return to main text |
29 Leslie A. Fiedler, Love and Death in the American Novel (Champaign, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1997), 348, 339. | return to main text |
30 Murray Pomerance, "The Bromance Stunt in House," in Reading the Bromance: Homosocial Relationships in Film and Television, ed. Michael DeAngelis (Detroit: Wayne State University Press, 2014), 255. | return to main text |
31 This scene is discussed in more detail in Fuchs, "Cooking with Hannibal," 98– 9. | return to main text |
32 "Apéritif," written by Bryan Fuller, directed by David Slade, Hannibal: Season 1. | return to main text |
33 "Digestivo," written by Steve Lightfoot and Bryan Fuller, directed by Adam Kane, Hannibal: Season 3. | return to main text |
34 "The Wrath of the Lamb," written by Bryan Fuller, Steve Lightfoot, and Nick Antosca, directed by Michael Rymer, Hannibal: Season 3. | return to main text |
35 Ibid. | return to main text |


Bignell, Jonathan. An Introduction to Television Studies. 2nd Ed. London: Routledge, 2008.
Bower, Anne L. "Watching Food: The Production of Food, Film, and Values." In Reel Food: Essays on Food and Film, edited by Anne L. Bower, 1–13. New York: Routledge, 2004.
Brown, Jennifer. Cannibalism in Literature and Film. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013.
Donnelly, Ashley M. "The New American Hero: Dexter, Serial Killer for the Masses." Journal of Popular Culture 45, no. 1 (2012): 15–26.
Dyer, Richard. Only Entertainment. 2nd Ed. London: Routledge, 2002.
Fiedler, Leslie A. Love and Death in the American Novel. Champaign, IL: Dalkey Archive Press, 1997.
Fuchs, Michael. "Cooking with Hannibal: Food, Liminality and Monstrosity in Hannibal." European Journal of American Culture 34, no. 2 (2015): 97–112.
Hannibal: Season 1. Blu-Ray. Santa Monica, CA: Lions Gate, 2013.
Hannibal: Season 2. Blu-Ray. Santa Monica, CA: Lions Gate, 2014.
Hannibal: Season 3. Blu-Ray. Santa Monica, CA: Lions Gate, 2015.
Harris, Thomas. The Silence of the Lambs. New York: St. Martin's Press, 1988.
Hibberd, James. "'Hannibal' on NBC: How Bryan Fuller will reinvent Dr. Lecter – EXCLUSIVE." Entertainment Weekly. April 19, 2012. Accessed October 2, 2015. http://www.ew.com/article/2012/04/19/bryan-fuller-hannibal.
Jones, Michael Owen, Bruce B. Giuliano, ‎and Roberta Krell. "Prologue." In Foodways and Eating Habits: Directions for Research, edited by Michael Owen Jones, Bruce B. Giuliano, ‎and Roberta Krell, vii–xii. Los Angeles: California Folklore Society, 1983.
Jones, Michael Owen, Bruce B. Giuliano, ‎and Roberta Krell. "Resources and Methods." In Foodways and Eating Habits: Directions for Research, edited by Michael Owen Jones, Bruce B. Giuliano, ‎and Roberta Krell, 91–93. Los Angeles: California Folklore Society, 1983.
Kilgour, Maggie. "The Function of Cannibalism at the Present Time." In Cannibalism and the Colonial World, edited by Francis Barker, Peter Hulme, and Margaret Iversen, 238–259 (Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 1998).
O'Brien, Daniel. "Foreword." In Dissecting Hannibal Lecter: Essays on the Novels of Thomas Harris, edited by Benjamin Szumskyj, 1–5. Jefferson, NC: McFarland, 2008.
Pomerance, Murray. "The Bromance Stunt in House." In Reading the Bromance: Homosocial Relationships in Film and Television, edited by Michael DeAngelis, 255–273. Detroit, MI: Wayne State University Press, 2014.
Poole, Gaye. Reel Meals, Set Meals: Food in Film and Theatre. Sydney: Currency Press, 1999.
Silence of the Lambs, The. Directed by Jonathan Demme. 1991. Los Angeles, CA: Twentieth Century Fox, 2009. Blu-Ray.
Simpson, Philip L. Psycho Paths: Tracking the Serial Killer Through Contemporary American Film and Fiction. Carbondale: Southern Illinois University Press, 2000.