"Feeding Hannibal: A Connoisseur's Cookbook" Book Review

Written by ZigZag

Published by Titan Books

Written by Janice Poon
2016, 240 pages, Cookbook
Book released on October 18th, 2016

Review:

How many times have you watched somebody online or on television perform an amazing feat and thought to yourself – I can do that? Certain tasks may simply require luck and the confidence of success, while most everything else worth doing in life requires training and practice. Case in point – are you or is someone you know a professional chef? In my circumstance the answer is a resounding – No. I can find my way around the kitchen if you leave the light on. I have managed to come up with a reliable collection of recipes to which neither my wife nor friends will turn up their noses upon being served. Not every dish is a success, but I am willing to avoid complacency by occasionally attempting new recipes. There is no shortage of cookbooks in my house and they are pretty wide-ranging in content and difficulty level. On one end of the spectrum is The Ghetto Gourmet by Coolio, laced with colorful metaphors and salty language, but a little lax when it comes to structure and organization. Jessica Harper’s The Crabby Cook Cookbook is a bit closer to my skill level, but that being said – her kitchen is a lot nicer than mine. Now, a new title is part of my collection, Janice Poon’s Feeding Hannibal – A Connoisseur’s Cookbook and I must admit it is intimidating.

Poon served as food stylist for all three seasons of the television program Hannibal. Each episode featured a lavishly prepared meal presented as a work of artistic beauty. The allure of these dishes complemented the elegance of the titular character, a refined man of many talents. This book is every bit the counterpart one of means and taste would expect, but the recipes found within are quite complicated for novices. To be fair, there are a variety of “introductory level” selections and honestly, Poon takes the time to walk you through some of the more challenging selections. She carries herself with a professionalism that encourages readers to pay attention and take notes, as we are in the presence of a master. Her knowledge appears limitless and her willingness to share anecdotes from the show is always a welcome treat. Whether you are making something as simple or complex, her approach to instruction is always thoughtful and distinct.

As for the book itself, the contents are well-organized and evenly spread across nine chapters that include “Breakfast”, “Appetizers”, “Soups, Salads and Side Dishes”. Main courses are separated into two categories; “Mains – Meat” and “Mains – Fish and Vegetarian”. These are followed by “Desserts and Drinks” with additional content devoted to presentation in “Achieving the Hannibal Look” and “How to Hannibalize Your Table”. In addition to cooking instructions, key recipes include wonderfully realized photographs of the finished product and many include a reference number for the episode of the series in which the meal appears. On the last page following the index, readers will find a convenient guide to cooking variables that offers an understanding of liquid/ dry measurements (metric and US Standard Customary), lengths (inches and meters) and oven temperatures (Fahrenheit, Celsius or gas).

There is absolutely nothing wrong with this gorgeous book that celebrates the beauty of food and its presentation. The fault lies ultimately with the unskilled consumer and I will offer a very pedestrian example of how in the wrong hands, the end product suffers. Anyone that has selected an appealing item from the pictures on the menu at a fast food restaurant, only to be disappointed by the flaccid soggy mess that arrives for consumption, should appreciate how some of the flair will be absent here. Limiting my culinary observations to myself, honestly, if I cannot be trusted to make a beautiful burger I can only imagine the look of abject horror on Ms. Poon’s face if she were to witness my pathetic efforts.

Grades:

Overall: 4.5 Star Rating Cover
Buy from Amazon US

 

 

About The Author
ZigZag
Author: ZigZag
Staff Writer
ZigZag's favorite genres include horror (foreign and domestic), Asian cinema and pornography (foreign and domestic). His ability to seek out and enjoy shot on video (SOV) horror movies is unmatched. His love of films with a budget under $100,000 is unapologetic.
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