Thursday, 11 June 2015

Episode 2 Primavera

Primavera pulse drumming in my head

Thrumming in my ear

Calling in the dark.


Louder than words. 

Hell hath no fury
Like a cannibal scorned.

Scoping, scanning…desperately searching for a food scene.

My life as a food stylist. Alas. As I read the latest script, my mind's eye rolls over stage directions for bodies tossed from towers, dead people revived, corpses revealed, and the blood of centuries coursing through catacombs. None of this captures my attention nor gives me pause. 

I re-read the script. There are several kitchen scenes but sorry, Ma’me, move along; nothing to see here: No cooking – just murder. *sigh*
Yes, that is the Botticelli sitting in the studio waiting for its closeup. Hoping there will not be blood spatter.

That Memory Palace thing of Hannibal's 

But blog I must, so in the interest of Hannibal Science, and in the absence of food, I’m giving you a “recipe” for how to make your own Memory Place. Like Hannibal’s but (I trust) less bloody and perhaps a bit less ostentatious.

For this, I go to my old beat-up copy of “The Memory Palace of Matteo Ricci”, Jonathan Spence’s account of the life of Matteo Ricci in 16c. China. It was Ricci who wrote, in Chinese, “The Art of Memory” in an attempt to teach Christianity to the upper class of Chinese society.

Just what you always wanted -- directions for your own Memory Palace

Here’s the How-To in a nutshell:

1. Imagine a building such as a temple or a reception hall. Visualize it and, in your mind's eye, walk through it, taking note of the details of the building and its contents. Spence recommends starting with a modest palace – you can add rooms and buildings to your Palace compound as necessary. It can be a real place, such as Hannibal’s chapel or totally fictitious.

2. Visualize the thing or event you want to remember.

3. Place that visual memory a location in your imagined “Palace” with a visual "key" or detail that relates to the memory.

4. Picture that memory in that location as vividly as you can. This is where that memory will reside. When you want to recall it, you mentally picture that particular place in your “Palace” and you will find the memory there, fully formed.

The “Memory Palace” system of recall can be traced back to the ancient Greeks and Romans when, not having Google, they began to develop mnemonic systems to memorize plays, poems, grocery lists…

Here’s a simplified example: If you wanted to remember the Latin names of the bones of the upper body, imagine at the gate of your “Palace” a red-jacketed policeman on his horse with a handcuffed shirtless prisoner to the side. This will prompt the memory: Some Criminals Have Underestimated Royal Canadian Mounted Police, the first letters of the words yielding the correct list:  Scapula Clavicle, Humerus, Ulna, Radius, Carpals, Metacarpals, Phalanges.

This of course does not work for me because all I can ever picture is a garage full of umbrellas, right-hand gloves and keys.

And another foodless “recipe”: How to fold an origami heart

Alex Yue, origami artist, created the complex fold for Hannibal's heart in Episode 1. I love that he made it from the pages of a Thomas Harris book. He's working on a step-by-step for you which I will post right here in a few days so you can all make a heart for your valentine. (OK having technical difficulties but I promise I will find a compact way to post Alex's instructions. He says it's essentially a elongated "balloon" with two folded tubes inserted for veins/arteries.

Here’s a simpler one you can fold for now:

Called "Secret Heart" because it also doubles as a box that you can put messages (or tiny objects) in. I folded this one from a photocopy of a slab of meat that I trimmed into a square (what do you mean, you would rather use flowered giftwrap?)

Secret Heart origami I folded from a photocopy of meat. Touching and tasty.

And from the writers' room:

A snippet of Episode 2's script to show you how our writers can make us sigh, laugh and cry in just four sentences.

Now I cannot watch this scene without hearing the theme song from Bonanza. LMAO.

A few BTS shots from this episode:

There are people in this industry who are professional bubble-makers. Yes, that’s a job. We had two of them on set the day Victoria (my assistant) and I were doing liver close-ups. Pictured below is one of the bubble-makers practicing for a shot that will be reworked digitally to create the illusion of blood bubbling. Professional. Bubble. People. But they were probably looking at us and thinking : Jeez, they need TWO people to fry up one little piece of liver?
Boy and Bubble Wand hard at work

Here's a shot of me trying to get  quiet moment with my script. Your hapless reporter-from-the-set, photobombed by those hi-jinxing catacomb corpses.
It's dead quiet back here in Studio 2. 

Some of director Vincent Natali’s storyboards from Episode 1:

Stole these storyboards right off Twitter
(for the Sketch portion of this episode's blog post)

And NOW a few of your Hannidinners! YAY!! You're cooking again!!!

 Some of you cooked a special meal for the Premiere of Season 3 and shared them with me: 
Steve Yun, creative molecular gastronomist, cooked Foie and Figs; Sous-vide short ribs; Lomo Saltado; Chocolate & Blood Pudding and Watermelon Plasma Martinis

Jonatreed made these lovely dishes: skull-bone salad from Trou Normand (S2 episode 8) and tropical fruit bread pudding from Fromage (S2 episode 7)
This is only one of the spectacular cakes Annabelle de Vetten from Conjurer's Kitchen made for her film and food event for Hannibal's Season 3 Premiere in Birmingham. She also made the Wedding Cake for the London premiere. 

Here are some Hannidinners you sent me between seasons.

LexBo made this Hannibal-inspired plate but alas, no description. It looks fantastic! 

Pop and Soda created this lovely presentation of foie gras from Season 2 Episode 4

Justin 1 made this wonderful antler cake

Maisa cooked these very good looking High Life Eggs - a favorite from S1 Ep 4"Oeuf"

This imaginative interpretation of Beverly's shocking death tableau in S2 Ep5 Mukozuki was sent by a cupcake-loving cook and sugar artist Samantha Guinn in Australia

Teresa's blood-spattered menu of her Hannifeast and two of her gorgeous presentations below

Teresa's appetizers

Teresa's dessert

For those of you who miss my sketches (have to save some surprises for my Hannibal cookbook) Kelsy N made this collage from my sketches that she printed out from Season 1 and 2

I've got more images of devilish deliciousness that you sent between seasons but I'll post them on another day since there are a lot to sort.

I'd love to share your Hannidinner photos. Send images to me at

Next week: Pheasant is pleasant unless you're a peasant.

 All contents copyright of Janice Poon/Feeding Hannibal unless otherwise stated.


  1. So sad, no food scenes for Janice to blog about!! And yup--reason why mind palaces don't work for me, either is much like yours. But thank you thank you thank you for the promise of Alex Hue's origami diagrams for the heart!! I was looking so hard to try and see if it was modified from a balloon base I got distracted from watching the episode.

    1. Hi Kathy-
      Yes, that's exactly what it is - a modified balloon with 2 paper tubes added to represent the large veins and aorta. Also, did you see Anna (Conjurer's Kitchen ) tweet about the paper sculpted heart - a paper polyhedron that you can make along with other exact-scale organs! Here's the article: … …

    2. Papercraft organs! Cool! I've only seen the more innocuous stuff like motorcycles and animals. But I'm much more into the foldy stuff.

    3. OH MY GOD!!! I want that book -- origami Red Dragon? Where did I stash those Yen? Might have to see if anyone stocks it in Canada. Thanks for the wonderful links to great stuff.

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    6. Ok, let's see if I can get the linkage right this time [eyeroll].

      You can buy the Satoshi Kamiya books (both of them--the second book has a phoenix model in it) directly from origamihouse. I've bought a number of books from them--they're expensive though, in the range of US$60-80 apiece. You can also get them from the Origami USA website's shop, or I think Nicolas Terry's main site ( is actually based in Europe (and he publishes Roman Diaz's books), but the .us site gives prices in Canadian dollars.

    7. Thanks for persisting with the links! They are great! I can see I might be disappearing down the origami rabbit hole - that origami-shop has so many trouble is i love my Japanese papers so much I don't want to ruin them by folding anything.

    8. My troubles are two-fold: 1) I'm not that good a folder. I've done Kamiya's Ancient Dragon. Once. It took me two weeks, didn't look a lot like the photos :) and I'm not sure I could do it again. And 2) finding good thin strong paper that's at least 30" on a side is haaaard. 10" kami isn't gonna cut it for the super-complex models. It's definitely a very deep rabbit hole.

  2. That mushroom farm cake is incredible! And the Beverly muffin!

    1. Yes, I agree they are outstanding and original but your big heart cake is no slouch! It would be unfair to say it *beats* all others but it certainly keeps pace with the best!

  3. Fan of Hannibal and the food in the show. To me, Hannibal has always been about the bodies and the food.

    For this once in a blue moon cook, when is your cookbook coming out? Look forward to having friends for dinner! Erps.

    1. A year late in replying but my excuse is that I was busy writing the cookbook -- which is at the printer now! So launching in October 2016 - just a few more months. But it's available for pre-sale on Amazon. So warn your friends and warm the oven!

  4. Fan of Hannibal and the food in the show. To me, Hannibal has always been about the bodies and the food.

    For this once in a blue moon cook, when is your cookbook coming out? Look forward to having friends for dinner! Erps.

    1. Hi Lincoln,

      If all goes well, the Hannibal Cookbook might be on shelves by Fall of 2016. By then Hannibal will have had so many more acquaintances for dinner the recipes will be plentiful and varied!

  5. Hi Janice,

    A bit late to the party... I've just starting watching season 3. Huge fan of the show, and your blog, which I head straight to after each episode. I'm so glad I found you and your blog posts early on. Thank you so much for sharing your work; it's fantastic to see behind the scenes and hear your thoughts.

    Unfortunately I don't have any food photos for you but I think Hannibal has inspired me creatively in a different way -

    1. Late? I'm late too -- just getting back to the blog now that my Hannibal cookbook is off to the printer and Bryan Fuller's American Gods has settled into a mere frenzy, I've got a bit of time to answer your comments! AND I LOVE YOUR HANNIBAL LUCKENBOOTH! Hannibal does inspire art!

    2. Thank you!
      The Hannibal cookbook is definitely on my Christmas list.