Saturday, 24 May 2014

Episode13 Mizumono

A blood drenched friend 
Above a shrinking husk
As his monstrous butterfly
Takes wing. 

Love too late.

A sanguine fiend
Takes flight. 

This episode is named Mizumono – the dessert of a Kaiseki dinner. Every course has been laid upon the table – now it’s time for all to be served their just desserts.

Continuity photo of Sacrificial Baby Lamb plate with blood oranges, mustard seed farfalle with sage, peppers in minted pea pods and pea shoots.

     And wow, what crazy treats Bryan Fuller has served up for this final episode. You kind of think you can guess what might happen, but the script amazes with its twists and surprises – and just when you settle in for the finale’s denouement – it smashes you with an even bigger surprise! Hello Air France! Will he stay in Paris or is Berlin calling?

     My feet were up. Sofa time. From my quick perusal of the production draft, I saw there was no dinner scene. Disappointed but philosophical, I reasoned, with all this killing, Hannibal will be far too busy to have dinner guests, especially a fussy moody guest like Will. It should be no surprise to me if Hannibal doesn’t need a food stylist for the final action-packed episode. So what if they finish out the season without me...everybody bleeding out while I nap and eat bonbons on my sofa.

My concept sketch of how I plan to make the baby lamb, what accompaniments I'll make and how the plates will look.

But No, it's Yes...I'm back in!   

  It’s into Day 2 of the episode’s 8-day shoot when I am snapped out of "snooze".  Emails from Bryan and Jose have started buzzing. Bryan is writing in a dinner scene and wants to use lamb shoulder to represent Jack. Robyn (Jose’s research assistant) jumps in with “sacrificial lamb”. Jose adds “lamb of the Lord” and sends pages of biblical quotes full of fire and brimstone. 
Hannidaddy, why can't I have plastic action figures like the other kids...
     I suggest using “rack of lamb” to show the ribs arching up like the steeple of a church or the fingers of praying hands. “Baby lamb,” says Jose. “Great!” says Bryan.

I tied the small ribs of the lamb together to resemble praying hands
     And I’m off to the butcher because it’s Easter right now and the baby lambs are all being bought up. I reserve two over the phone, sight unseen. I’m lucky to get them.
Discussing the shot on set with Bryan Fuller,  I realize it's ON THE LAM, not about Jack or Will, but Hannibal himself! I wonder if Bryan sits around chuckling to himself about how he tricked everyone. Again.
     The plates of lamb will be garnished with farfalle (butterfly-shaped pasta) and there will be bread (not Passover, I guess) in the basket because the script calls for bread being pulled apart and steam rising in the shape of wings. So I make half a dozen small Fougasse to represent butterfly wings and some adorably small Epi de ble that will look like butterfly bodies. Sadly, this scene gets dropped so you don’t see Hannibal tearing bread wings off bread butterfly bodies.
Lobster hatching from canteloupe and beetles emerging from cala lilies. Tiny melon balls spill out like fish eggs.
     The other accompaniments will be lobster emerging from a broken cantaloupe. This platter seems to perplex everyone when I bring it to set. I explain: some of you are just not letting your cantaloupe ripen enough. Leave it for a month in the back of a warm car and it will hatch a lobster – or something. Anyway this episode is all about the crisis of birth – you have to break a few eggshells to get the chick.
Brilliant Director David Slade discusses how he will shoot the dinner scene. We're going for a crane shot! Yay!
     The other accompaniment is creepy garden vegetables – okra, heritage tomatoes stuck with rattlesnake tails.
Rattlesnake tails and peacock feathers with baby yellow and purple cauliflower, purple baby artichokes, kale, savoy cabbage, patty pan squashes, a giant heritage tomato and okra.

Second Unit back with a different vibe.

The baby lamb dinner was the last food scene of the last episode – but I’m back in the sound stage the next day to do 2nd Unit stuff. The editing team is asking for all sorts of pick-up shots and inserts to flesh out the final cuts of several of the episodes. Today I have about 6 scenes to shoot.

Where is Cooking Lady????!!!

     Back in Season 1 when wonderful director Peter Medak was in the midst of shooting a kitchen scene, he wanted knife advice. Where is Cooking Lady??!! he lamented. But I had not been called to set that day. Later, when shooting Will preparing food for his pups in Episode 6, it was again decided I should not be called in. It’s just dog food.

    But it’s not just dog food! This is an important scene that shows Will is transforming into Hannibal. I need to be there to help infuse the scene with essence of Hannibal. I protested to all who will listen. But not too loudly: the scene was being shot in Will’s cabin – on location, way far from the city lights. At night. Up north. In the cold dark snowy sticks.
Here's the shooting schedule as a beat sheet. My dog food scenes in red at the bottom.
(copyrighted property of C. Burne and Gaumont International - reproduction prohibited)

     As luck would have it, they didn’t have time to shoot the scene that night so it was dropped. But it is back in now, for Episode 12 and being shot by 2nd Unit, in Stage 2 of the studio. I knew the writers would put it back in. It’s an important scene in tracking Will’s transformation. In this scene he’s alone, cooking. Not for show – not part of the “lure” that he is setting with Jack. He’s truly becoming Hannibal.

     For Will’s dog food close-ups I’ve brought a lovely assortment of rice; Wehani, wild and basmati, some garden vegetables, fresh turkey meat and stock– to show Will is taking care with ingredients. My best touch: pots of spunky little rosemary plants. If Hannibal has a wall of herbs in his dining room then Will should have a window sill of baby rosemary.

 Cooking Lady in da house

     On a good day, the 2nd Unit pace is fast, the humour is high and the energy is creative. Today is a good day – in spite of the crushing list of shots to do. Chris Burne is directing so he will be spinning LPs on the old turntable while we shoot in the cozy “round room” set (Verger’s bedroom). To set the mood for Mads, he sets out a big mason jar (formerly used for snuffing birds) stuffed with flickering dinner candles. The effect is charming, the atmosphere feels intimate and the extreme close-ups come out great.
Chris directing Mads in ortolan eating close-ups Candles and Mozart for mood. Loretta Ramos (Living Dead Guy) took this great photo while I was strangling fake birds in the back.

     The mood carries over smoothly to the next scene: kholodets close-up inserts. Everything is calm and cool. Well, except for the maiming and blood-letting I hear in Studio 1 when I’m over there getting stuff off the prop trolley. 

     They’re shooting Willdigo’s birth scene – Hugh is in throes of becoming Willdigo. He lets out a long blood-curdling howl in the agony of birth. I wince as I hear Hugh wail again for 2 more takes.  Each one sounds pretty convincing to me -- I wonder what the director is looking for. The crew is pretty impressed with Hugh’s vocal efforts and breaks into applause when the director finally yells “Cut”.
Pulling a skein of saran wrap out of a marzipan bird to make it hollow and easier to eat.
    Studio 2 is a rabbits’ warren of sets right now – so many inserts from various episodes have been requested to round out the final edits before they go to broadcast. Every time I round the corner to go to Studio 1, I almost trip over a fake dead horse that is lying on the floor – whether he’s finished with his scene or waiting for it is hard to tell. I resist the urge to take a selfie with it.
Bird (fake) drowned in Armagnac

Is there life after Kholodets?

     After the kholodets, we have ortolan scenes to shoot and suckling pig and inserts to do as well, so I have a lot of work ahead of me before my final wrap. Martha de Laurentiis and Loretta Ramos (Living Dead Guy) have noted that it’s my last day on set and graciously drop by my worktables to say a warm goodbye. Other crew wander by for goodbye hugs.
Getting the Jelly Beast ready for close up insert shots of the Kholodets that almost killed me

     When my food scenes are all done, the stage shifts. The crew slips into the darkness to get ready for the next thing on the call sheet: a closed set – where Alana is swallowed by inky shadows in her bedroom. Stage 2 is literally abandoned as everyone either hustles to get ready for the next scene or dashes out to have a quick smoke, get something from the craft truck or go for a 10-1 (to pee, in walkie-talkie code). I’m alone in the vast cluttered bunker to pack up for the last time in this long season and head home. Alone with my thoughts.
Me waiting to shoot my interview with Dr Insanity's "Post Mortem"

Producer/Director Sharon Seto doing a Hannibal promo shoot in my kitchen studio

     We had begun shooting in September and now it’s early April. It’s been an exhausting whirlwind. The excitement, the boredom, the sleepless grueling days and nights of running at top speed on empty. The camaraderie, the conflicts and the wonderful creative challenges.  I’m so happy that it’s over but I feel a little sad as I pull out of the lot. Will I miss this madness – I can’t tell. All I want to do is sleep. Oh yeah, and eat.

     Definitely hungry now.

    Could eat a whole roasted sacrificial lamb….and I’ll bet you could too! 
There's so much more leg room on this Air France jet..

    Get your aprons on. It’s dinnertime!

Baby lamb

Rack of Sacrificial Lamb

Roasting baby lamb is a lot like roasting suckling pig. It is indescribably delicious and delicate but needs a huge oven and a large group of people to eat it plus it can be tricky getting a baby lamb from Mr Grocer so I’m going to give you an alternative recipe for rack of regular lamb – still delicious yummy but easy to get. If you do a pair of racks, you can platter them propped on each other like praying hands as I did for Hannibal’s dinner with Will.

I’ve given two different types of seasoning – one a herb rub to oven roast and the other an Asian marinade to barbecue. Both are great but the marinade takes a bit of pre-planning.

Serves four

2 racks of lamb (each 5 to 8 bone)

Style One: Herb marinade:
¼ cup olive oil
3 to 4 cloves of garlic, crushed
3 sprigs rosemary, stems removed
to taste crushed pepper, sea salt

1. In a small bowl, combine all ingredients and rub into lamb.

2. Roast in preheated oven at 425° for 20 to 25 minutes or until medium rare. Rest for 10 minutes and slice and serve.

OR if you want to try something different and can start a day or two ahead:

Style Two: Satay marinade
1  4-oz bar coconut cream
2 Tbsp water
6 Tbsp peanut butter
2 Tbsp soy sauce
3 Tbsp Satay sauce or Hoi Sin sauce
2 cloves garlic crushed

1.  In a small saucepan, melt coconut cream in water over medium heat, cool and stir in remaining ingredients. Spoon over lamb and marinate, refrigerated, overnight or up to 2 days. Reserve excess marinade for basting during cooking.

2. Fire up the BBQ (or preheat the broiler) and barbecue 12 to 15 minutes or until medium rare or broil 4 to 5 minutes per side. Brush with reserved marinade. Allow to rest for 10 minutes and slice and serve.

So many Hannidinners - so little time...

Here are some that came in last week...Plus the very first one I ever got - from season one..

From Episode 1, Season 1
This gave me the idea of posting photos of your cooking inspired by Feeding Hannibal. It was sent to me by Zsolt Hummel a few days after the very first episode of Hannibal aired. He made Lamb Bourguignon from my recipe and garnished it with purple potatoes and beets on spinach veloute. 
Chris M did Duck Baked in Clay decorated in flowers and vines
 1) just out of the oven
Chris' duck- 2) cracking off clay and unwrapping lotus leaf
Chris' duck - 3) slicing into the fruit stuffing
Tee working wonders, stuffed quails with blood sausage and plated them with pomegranates and beet and potato galette
David made this beautiful plate of Huevos in Brioche
Tasty looking Sacromonte Omelette also by David

Alex S celebrated the return of everyone's favorite ginger - and Season 3 - with a really beautifully photographed plate of very lovely Lomo Saltado

Justin and his wife have weekly Hannibal-themed hors d'oeuvres to snack on during the show. They made the Sweetbread-stuffed Quail - plump and luscious looking.
Justin's quails on their way into the oven

Vic F often make Hannidinners - here's his osso buco
This is Vic's juicy looking version of Hannibal's stuffed chicken thigh
Another of Vic F's Hannidinners - Stuffed Veal from Season One
He made Lomo Saltado for this season's finale.
Felipe from Barcelona sent this picture of the Congress of Curious People's last dinner party that he says was inspired by my art and the Baroque Cabinets of Curiosities. A soprano from Licceu Opera sang Handel.

Justin threw a dinner party too and sent these gorgeous images 
X rated stuffed quail cooked and styled by Justin I
Bone marrow by Justin
Melon rolls - see more of Justin's dinner in his album
Solya made my Sacromonte Omelette and blogged about it
Alicia G added her personalized touches to my osso buco recipe and also to Jose Andre's Saffron Risotto recipe and was inspired to blog about the delicious results!

Thanks for all the fun this season sharing your Hannidinners. I hope you loved the finale, continue cooking and will be back for more servings of same in season 3!

Except where noted, all content copyright of Janice Poon and Feeding Hannibal and reproduction is strictly prohibited


  1. Hi Janice. Thank you so much for another fantastic seasons, with a show that keeps getting better and better.

    Could you please implore my friends and I on the brand of knives that Hannibal uses? I can't identify the make, and if it's possible to purchase these knives?


    1. Yes, please, I too would love to find these beautiful instruments! Wherever can they be purchased?

    2. The gorgeous knives Hannibal used in the fight scene are by Porsche. He does use several different brands depending on what he is cutting but the director chose these for this scene because they look so fine.

    3. But can it still cut a ripe tomato, after stabbing through a cutting board?

    4. Hannibal doesn't care. He's going to Europe and getting everything new.

  2. In he 4th photo, of the completed lamb dish... fox skulls?

    1. That's what the consensus is - no one could remember what the taxidermist said but we figured they were the right size and tooth shape to be foxes. My butcher did offer to give me the lamb's heads but I didn't have time to clean them - really couldn't face it either - especially in the context of Verger stripping his own face...

    2. I have a small collection of animal skulls... not sure how our dinner guests would react to them being part of the presentation, though!

      I big-upped you and your work on the show at a convention I panelled on this past weekend. Thank you again for the inspiration and another great season... can't wait for next year!

    3. Thanks for mentioning me during your panel discussion! I hope it wasn't on web design -- my blog is sadly wanting in that area and my photos (taken in the worst conditions) are meant for continuity only. I'm really grateful to everyone for putting up with bare-bones quality of my blog. Think of it as rough notes.

  3. I'll miss reading your blog every week Janice! >.< Can't wait seeing you in postmortem. *Hugs!

    1. Thanks! Post Mortem is not available in Canada or the UK for some reason but you can see it on AXN Portugal here:

  4. Janice, I have loved reading your blog. Your writing style is fantastic and your styling enough to make Bernini jealous. I can't wait to read your blog for next season!

    On that note, do you have any good books/blogs/people to look up to learn about food styling & plating?

    1. Thanks! I think "Food Style" by Delores Custer might be the most comprehensive books in terms of techniques for food styling for stills and for commercials. It's a bit pricey though so I would check it out at your local library first before buying. You might prefer "Food Styling for Dummies" - not as thorough but much less expensive. Designing plates is another thing altogether and perhaps is best learned by studying the photos in periodicals like "Art Culinaire" (high end) and "Lucky Peach"(street level).

  5. H Janice, I love your work! I'm an Illustrator trying to get involved in Hannibal, is there a way for me to directly contact you or the art department head? You can see my work at, thank you!!
    Sylvia Jun

    1. Hi Sylvia- the production office is closed for HeAteUs. We won't be regrouping until late September probably. The art department in a film company does not do a lot of illustration - it's more of an interior design job. So doing floor plans for the set decorating department and drafting plans for the carpentry department when they have to build sets - things like that. It's best to go to film school first to get an idea of what's involved then work on a few indie films and join a union like IATSE or Nabet so you can start working up the ladder on big projects. Good luck!

  6. Hi Guys I would like to invite you to join to be a legitimate member of UEP (Unemployed Pinoys)
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  7. Hello Janice! I have just discovered your blog after watching the show from the very beginning, and I want to applaud you on the amazing work you have done on the show. It is so fascinating to me that you are able to take the subject of cannibalism, and turn it into the most beautiful dishes I have ever seen. I am looking forward to the next season, and more blog posts from you!


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  14. Hello, Janice! I am from Russia and want to clarify something about kholodets :)
    We don't put fish in it, only meat. Kholodets-like dish is called 'zalivnoye' (from word 'zalivat', which means 'to fill up'). The classic kholodets our families prepare for New Year also does not contain any vegetables, only meat. If you are interested, I can translate you the recipe.
    Also, if you are interested, I can share a great borsch recipe.
    The problem is there are lots of borsch recipes, but only few of them are really good. Also, many people confuse borsch with schi (schi containg more cabbage and their color is not so dark red, as borsch's one. The taste differs also).

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