Editorial Note: This is a replacement video since the original video curated, and discussed below, was recently made private by NBC, as were all Hannibal vids produced by the network.
As a programme with a cannibalistic gourmand as its titular character Hannibal has, unsurprisingly, presented an assortment of beautiful dishes across its three seasons on NBC. The lavish presentation of meals contributed to the programme’s unique aesthetics as well as provoking simultaneous feelings of attraction and disgust in viewers; this food and drink may look inviting but it’s probably made from people. Even the beer.
Food stylist Janice Poon was responsible for designing and realising the menus, a process detailed in her blog Feeding Hannibal which featured sketches of the dishes, details of how they were created (quite often the food couldn’t actually be what it was meant to be, forcing Poon to create edible songbirds from marzipan or lung from Italian sausage), and recipes. The blog also included fan photos of recreations of Poon’s recipes or fan-designed homages to Hannibal, referred to as Hannimeals. Although many activities of Hannibal’s fans (or, “Fannibals”) have been acknowledged, more seldom explored is how the creation and consumption of food and drink related to a fan object offer avenues for connection, participation and pleasure. For example, Harry Potter fans have the opportunity to drink Butterbeer at the Harry Potter Studio Tour in London. However, for Fannibals recreating the dishes themselves provides an affective and imaginative connection; the act of finding and purchasing the right ingredients and following a recipe to completion offers a physical connection to the show by allowing fans to follow in Hannibal’s culinary footsteps. Equally, inventing their own dishes offers imaginative opportunities for fans inspired by the show’s emphasis upon the gourmet, allowing the invention of thematic dishes decorated with edible blood spatter or shards of glass.
The opportunities for themed cooking are clearly not applicable to all fandoms. However, the importance of edible content to fans is worthy of further study, whether this includes officially licensed products such as Butterbeer or fan-created meals inspired by shows like Hannibal. In responding to the importance of the culinary in the series and seeking to recreate it, these fans are quite literally ingesting it. Hannibal would approve.
Unfortunately, in addition to cancelling Hannibal in the first place, NBC are in the process of making all of their official Youtube videos private so fans can no longer access them. If you'd like a glimpse of some of Hannibal's cooking you can find a supercut here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4QCLtgcJAog
Material fandom practices
Thank you for drawing attention to some of the material fandom practices that surround Hannibal! I think people still perceive fandom activities to consist mostly of fic/art (and maybe attending conventions), and less so as consisting of activities such as cooking. For Fannibals, cooking as fandom practice makes a lot of sense--I remember seeing quite a few people posting pics of what they were eating while watching the finale. I think food plays a large role in many fandoms even when the original text doesn't draw attention to food as much as Hannibal does. When such canonical references are absent, fans often designate certain foods/dishes as character favorites, and referring to or creating this dish can then evoke a whole host of associations (think, for example, of the large choice of fandom teas available on Adagio).
I'M VERY HUNGRY
Thanks for the link to the supercut, Rebecca. I agree with Melanie - the loss of these videos from NBC is disappointing but predictable. As with Melanie, I was unaware of this particular fannish practice, though I was aware that there had been some fannibal arranged events which included fine dining. It's interesting to connect this practice of recreating (legally, obviously) the food on the show with the idea of alignment with Hannibal himself. Is there a similarity here between vampire fiction fans and the drinking of fake blood? To what extent is a subversive but sophisticated pleasure in both cooking and consuming these meals a driving factor in such an activity? Does any of this lead to fans, albeit temporarily, feeling closer to Hannibal himself? My former goth girl heart is loudly telling me that certainly I would gain such pleasures from such an activity, particularly with the theatrical and macabre addition of edible blood and glass. I'm not a big meat-eater, and certainly never eat organs of any description, but after watching the vid, reading your note and writing this reply, I'm now VERY HUNGRY.
Your post raises some interesting questions about embodying fandom, or fandom as an embodied practice, especially given the discussions within the show of what it means ingest something, to choose to put a particular thing into one's body. As Kirsty suggests above, might this help fans feel "closer" to Hannibal--or might it help them *become* him (even if only for a little while)? This is an interesting turn, say, on conversations about fannish tattoos and other more permanent forms of body modification, ways of feeling physically closer to a text that performed on/through the body.
As KT says, the possibilities
As KT says, the possibilities for thinking about embodied, experiential fandom are myriad here. This actually puts me in mind of - tangentially - the temporary Pub Sherlock Holmes that publisher Haga Shoten puts together once or twice a year in Japan, with Sherlock Holmes (they're a big publisher of the original works and derivative pastiche) AND Sherlock-themed dishes. But as you say, there's something a bit unique about Hannibal. One place I see it is in the episode names themselves; as in, I'm currently live-blogging my rewatch of the series over on Tumblr, and I'm up to season two - the one with all the courses of Japanese kaiseki meals. That, in turn, brings up my own memories of eating kaiseki while living in Japan, so I've been talking about the titles in terms of the dishes themselves... so that there's, again as we've discussed, a kind of conversation happening between the show and me over food... It's not a very coherent thought, but I think that's because there's just so much to parse and play with here.
Food received from the service
Food received from the service delivery of food will remain fresh for a good amount of time. If you hold a dinner in the refrigerator it will stay fresh for about a week. If you decide to freeze the dinner, except for things like salads, your food can be fresh for a month. home food delivery
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