Sunday 30 August 2015

Hannibal S3 13: Wrath of the Lamb

Twisted torment of our lives

Swallowed by the lashing sea

Red moon burns the dark of night

Bedelia...have you won
your second chance 
to lose this deadly game of love.


Or perhaps...
In Blake's epic painting of Dante's Inferno, Antaeus lowers Virgil and Dante to the final Ring of Hell. Are Will and Hannibal likewise lowered to safety by the gods for their future amusement?

Blake's painting of Philosopher-Guide and Poet-Seeker being lowered by Antaeus to the 9th Ring of Hell

Or are they poets in love...
Like the inconsolable Percy Bysshe Shelley drowning in a storm in the wild voracious sea by Lerici. Unlike rascally George Gordon Lord Byron who lived a long life or their mutual poetpal the luckless Keats who was too ill to join the fun at Shelley's seaside retreat.

painting of Shelley's funeral pyre where Byron snatched Shelley's burning heart from the flames
Or (cue the hip-swivelling sound track)...
Could they be crack athletes -- like two magnificent Elvises in Blue Hawaii high-diving off cliffs then popping up above the crashing waves much to the shock and awe of all who witness their dare-devilry? Well, maybe only one Elvis - Hannibal probably spent some time diving for pearls or swallows or something off the cliffs of Japan. Can Will even dog-paddle?
Ahh, good old Elvis preparing to cliff dive
 Regardless, as Shakespeare wrote in The Tempest
                          "Nothing of him that doth fade 
                           But doth suffer a sea-change
                           Into something rich and strange."

Behind the cloak of network cancellation, both Will and Hannibal are definitely probably Becoming something Rich(er) and Strange(r) our imaginations.
Shelley's gravestone
And what of Bedelia? 
She’s clearly back on those painkillers or some Hannibal-administered psycho-med. Who is she protecting herself against as she conceals a sharp-tined fork in her palm? Girl does love The Game.

Ms Anderson getting final touches from Katie Brennan for the very last scene as special effects crabby pyro-guy prepares to smoke up my pit-roast leg of Bedelia
Who's cooking legs now?
In my opinion, only Hannibal could make a roast such as that grand fruit and flower garnished kalua-roast leg smouldering on Bedelia’s table. So we know he survived. (After all, my cookbook isn’t out yet and the cooking method and presentation so obviously is something only our Hannibal would know how to execute. Right?)
tying up ti leaves
Size matters.
When we were shooting the final scene, the lovely Richard Armitage came by my prep station with compliments but asked me why I made Gillian's leg so big. He thought her legs were much slimmer. Gillian and I had already discussed it. I apologized that I had to made the roast bigger than her leg so it would have presence on the long table. She modestly said she thought it was pretty close to the actual size of her leg. Not really. She has no idea how tiny she is! 

A bit about roasting the leg:
Like Gideon's "Pinhead" roast leg, Bedelia's leg was made of pork loins stitched together over beef and lamb leg bones. I couldn't think of a special way to prepare it - Bryan had emphasized that he wanted it to be "the most beautiful thing I ever made" which is a pretty tall order. But happily, my brother came up with the idea of pit-roasting it, Kalua style. So I wrapped it in ti leaves, decorated it with tropical fruits and flowers and lay it on a bed of coals -- with ice to represent the Lake of Ice in Dante's Inferno. In the original script, Hannibal was going to slice it so I had to make it open at one end. But in the final script, Bedelia alone was seated for dinner so I had no need to worry about resets and it was a fairly stress-free shoot.

I hope more guests show up - that's 12 lb of pork in there...

There are two guest chairs at Bedelia's dining table. 
So who else is coming for dinner? 

Wow, wouldn't you just love it if Bedelia was meeting the in-laws? Uncle Bowie and Lady Murisaki?

Maybe Will is dead.  
Or has been saved by Jack who was hovering in a nearby helicopter because he was in on it the whole time. So Will is in the hospital. Or is back with Molly giving it one more try.

Or maybe not.
I'm pretty sure Will is alive. As a matter of fact, I think he’s in the kitchen helping Hannibal drain the vegetables. And why? Hasn’t Hannibal always cooked alone? Well he can’t if he’s in a wheelchair! Which still fits with the number of dining room chairs. Will is cooking under Hannibal’s instruction and any minute now, they will emerge. Will pushing Hannibal’s wheelchair and Hannibal cradling the vegetable platter in his lap. Which still leaves a chair for David Bowie or ... Jody Foster!

Oh that's just silly. I guess I should stop my wild speculation. Maybe there are three chairs because the fourth one was moved to make room for the camera dolly. 

We will never know. That is until somebody somewhere somehow saves Hannibal and Bryan gets to tell us another bedtime story.


Fannibals at San Diego ComicCon waving hello!

It's not over til it's over.
In the meantime, Fannibals, keep the flame alive. Email ( me photos or descriptions of your Hannimeals, your thoughts and your funny/sad stories and I’ll post them all here for us to all enjoy. Or tweet a message to me and I'll screen-grab your photos: Janice Poon @FeedingHannibal (Twitter link is at the top of this page).

 FunkoPop custom made (with tiny clay-baked thigh!) by talented sculptor Helen 

We will always have Hannibal if we keep him alive in our Memory Kitchens. So keep on cooking!

Annabel Lecter's brilliant chocolates You can order them from

Just as soon as I figure out who made this Sanguinaccio, I'll caption your name here!

Daniel and his Hannidinner

A close-up of Daniel's lovely Hannibal inspired meal

Add caption

Gabriel just tweeted this Saturday before Hannibal's Finale. A sweet bye-bye!

Look! It's Hanni & Will's mask! Just like Beverly's kidney pie.
Way to go, Jodi!

Sunday 9 August 2015

Hannibal S3 Ep10: Woman Clothed in the Sun

Tyger Tyger, burning bright,

In the forest of the night;

What immortal hand or eye,

Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

Blake's "Woman Clothed in the Sun" 

Dolareba...or Dragonhyde?

In his most famous poem, Blake could be describing the Red Dragon as much as The Tyger. So it's not surprising that Dolarhyde - so enraptured with Blake’s paintings, would choose that animal for Reba.

In what distant deeps or skies.
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand, dare seized the fire?

Reba reveals her fascination and faith in Mr D when she embraces the tiger in one of the most romantic moments in Hannibal. (In light of the recent Dentist vs Cecil the Lion incident, don’t you think it’s uncanny that Dolarhyde's tiger is out cold at the dentist?) And how magnificent Reba is as the woman clothed with the sun! You almost believe she could redeem Dolarhyde's soul.

Blake's "Woman Clothed With the Sun"

Get the selfie stick...there's a tiger passed out in the studio!

And what shoulder, & what art,
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand, & what dread feet?

For about a week, our “puppet” tiger lay about the studio on a slab in the zoo lab set which gave dozens of crew opportunity to sneak selfies with him. Not me, though. This food stylist would never inflict such jokey indignities on an animal, taxidermied or otherwise. Well actually, we did try to feed him a muffin from the craft service table. But he wouldn’t take it...he must have heard us mutterings about crew food.

This is Dolarhyde's episode so there is no food for me to serve up this week - the only thing he eats is the Blake painting. Stephen Levitt, our intrepid props master, sourced edible rice paper from a company in Buffalo, New York. He had to drive to Niagara Falls to get the blank paper then have it printed in Toronto with edible ink on an inkjet printer. When we shot the scene, Richard Armitage wanted to get it perfect so he ate a real paper print as well. And that's why we love him.

When the stars threw down their spears
And water'd heaven with their tears:
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Well, did he, Hannibal?
Blake's "Ancient of Days (God as Architect)"

OK Hannibal's not cooking enough

A girl's gotta eat, so I've been sneaking around doing little food styling jobs for with the other devils, time-shifters and super heroes who are shooting around town:

For DAMIEN I made some gnarly roots out of bread dough and
ugly shoots from marzipan to "grow" out of victim's mouth
I had fun making posh dinners for SUlClDE SQUAD
Here,  have a little shrimp cocktail.
Billionaire devil-worshippers have to eat too, so I did this dinner for DAMIEN
We set our work station up in this smart tented area just off the pool. Very GBBO!

Roast "Venison" that I made out of seitan for HEROES REBORN
(It had to be non-meat for the vegan director)
And I was asked to make candy iPhones for Stephen King's 11/22/64
Below: Pouring black sugar candy for glass screens. The backs are marzipan. 

Plus bizarre alien fungus food I made from marzipan for EXPANSE

And all the while, YOU are busy making beautiful Hannidinners! YAY!

Blood-streaked and delicious - made by budding chef, Nicolas E
Another gorgeous plate by Nic E - check the ffffava beans up ffffront

For his wife's birthday Justin F made Sanguinaccio Dolce for the whole family.
And served it in true Hannibal style wearing a 3-pc suit and paisley tie!

Smashed glass impaled heart cake created by Bridget M as a
tribute to the Season 2 finale
She does lots of Hannidinners - documented on her blog

Next week: Just hide under the bed and scream yourself to sleep... 

all content except contributors' Hannidinners copyright of Janice Poon/Feeding Hannibal 

Sunday 2 August 2015

Hannibal S3 Ep9: Woman Clothed With the Sun


Will's new dog

Ate my opening poem.

Nothing to put here.


Peeking at the sets and poking around the studio 

As the food consultant on Hannibal my job is to create the food you see on screen. But as part of the Hannibal team, we are all immersed in the each other's creative stew - there is so much to admire. It starts with the scripts which are so beautifully written. Then every time I come to set, I am awestruck by the beauty of the components that the various departments create. They often go unseen. Mrs Jacobi's murder scene has nothing to do with the food but it is so striking that I want to show it to you here:

First the script where it all starts:
This episode was written by Helen Shang and Jeff Vlaming

 Then the source material is considered:

Blake's painting : Woman Clothed with the Sun

Then the Art Department makes a concept sketch:
The set decorator will follow this drawing to create the set, the costumer to make Mrs Jacobi's robes and hair and make-up to add their part on the actor to create the dramatic tableau

Then the set is built, decorated and actors prepared
The lighting department gets to work

And then they shoot it 
But the lighting is so dark that you can't see anything anyway. But never mind...take my word for it - it's spectacular. Now, on to the food!

Keep your fork...there's going to be pie!

Wow, previously luckless Francis Dolarhyde sees a glimmer of good. He has met Reba and a flicker of love lights his darkness. If anyone can pull his soul back from the edge of evil, it would be she. Her metaphorical offering: a fresh whole cherry pie that welcomes love’s plunging knife. I’ve always said that you can get anything you want with a well-made home-baked pie. There is magic in that confection and it speaks directly to the heart.
Plenty of pies for Reba to cut

By the way, if you wondered why Reba sticks a toothpick in the centre of the pie, it’s so she can use it as a knife guide to tell where the centre is: all radial cuts from there will create a complete wedges.

Prepping platters for the dinner.
BTW, the numbers written on the table are for when we have a big party scene with tons of extras as party guests. Each extra has a glass that has to be refilled for each take, so each extra has a number and their glass goes on the corresponding spot on the props drinks table so everyone gets the right glass back.

Get Granny Dolarhyde's dinner on the table -- or else!

Now that Hannibal is in jail, the food scenes are limited so there isn’t much cooking for me to do. Thank goodness this episode’s script calls for a flashback of Dolarhyde as a boy having dinner with Gramma Snaggletooth and her crusty tenants. I am tasked with making a dinner of bad boardinghouse food. What??!! Ugly food? You want me to make unappetizing dinner for 10? Impossible.
Lining up the reset plates for Granny's dreadful dinner
Nevertheless, of course I swallow my art heart and do what is right for the scene. I compose a menu of greyish mush: tuna salad, mushroom macaroni casserole, boiled cauliflower with fava beans, pyrogies in sour cream and onions. This is way harder than anything Hannibal might have cooked up. Making up the platters, my hand reaches out to embellish, fluff and decorate. NO, hand, no! No garnishing today!

Hey, did someone drop their dental plate in the vegetable dish?

One bit of fun I had: throwing giant pozole corn into the cauliflower fava bean dish. I thought they looked just like snaggley teeth.

Giant white corn "teeth" sprinkled in the vegetable dish.

Dreary storm...a long night at the Dolarhyde's 

This was one of those shoots: a cold dark Toronto night. Gobs of food to schlepp – tons of dishware to fill. The set looked musty and dusty. The food looked worse. The extras holding area was set up facing my cooking station. So the actors who were playing the seniors at the dinner slumped in these chairs between takes and watched our every move as if they were front row at a tedious avante-garde play.  Victoria, my assistant and I worked the whole night under the unamused glare of 16 glazed, bored, crabby eyes. The only break we got was an unexpected power failure when the entire building was plunged into darkness and everyone had to file out to the winter night. The crew moved on and shot the bus stop scene outside while we lounged in the craft truck waiting for the lights to come back on indoors.

On the plus side, it was my first time on set with Richard Armitage who is thoroughly charming and courteous. As well as the sweet actor who played Granny Dolaryde who was warm and bubbling with youthful exuberance until she was on camera and transformed instantly to a hollow-eyed evil harpy.

Those Dolarhydes…I guess every family is weird in its own little way.

On a lighter note: wasn't it fun to have Freddie back? Even if I didn't do a food scene with her!

LaraJean Chorostecki in the snow

Next week: Becoming a Dragon doesn't require fine dining. 

More of Bedelia and her history with her mysterious dead client to look forward to!
Reba and Francis get to know each other really well. I mean really really well.
Hannibal is helpful, then NOT HELPFUL.

With all this going on, who's got time to eat? Or cook?

I'll take this time off to do some work for other shows around town: Suicide Squad, Damien, Heroes, 11/23/64 and see what the other special agents, devils and superheros are up to. I'll show you the results - and some more Hannidinners cause although Hannibal is in jail, that hasn't stopped you from cooking!

All material copyright of Janice Poon/Feeding Hannibal, except Blake painting of course and photo of LJ Chorostecki which is from Far, Far Away site. All other photos are by Victoria Walsh/Feeding Hannibal