AND bestselling author of To Serve Man, Cooking With Your Friends, and PETA's Guide to Cruelty-free Meals.
You all of course know what I'm talking about. It's only the most famous line in the movie. FBI Agent Clarice Starling visits Lecter in a mental hospital because she needs help catching another serial killer, but Lecter is mainly interested in toying with her, so he talks about the time he killed a census worker and "ate his liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti." It's a brilliant scene. It's chilling, it's great character development ... but did you know that it's also a joke?
According to a Reddit post, the mental hospital in the movie might had been treating Lecter with monoamine oxidase inhibitors ( MAOIs), which is a type of antidepressant that's fallen out of use over the years due to its dangerous side effects and potentially-lethal interactions with certain foods. People who took MAOIs had to be put on a very strict diet that forbade them from eating things like -- oh, would you look at this beautiful full circle -- liver, beans, and red wine.
Although they were advised to drink lots of tea, because a diet without tea can be deadly.
So was Lecter stealthily telling Starling that he's not taking his meds, or was he making an esoteric joke about the three foods specifically prohibited for psychiatric patients, from inside a mental hospital? I don't know, but it has given me an idea for a comedy series about Hannibal Lecter trying to make it as a Dennis-Miller-like stand-up comic. The pilot episode can be about the hilarious misunderstanding that ensues after Lecter is asked to roast someone at their birthday party.