Hannibal Lecter and food insecurity
(All kinds of food, not just people.)
One thing I noticed on the show, which I love but which I think the writers may have gotten right by accident, is Hannibal’s tendency to hoard food.
Have you noticed that he makes everything in huge excess? Like, he’s literally hosting just Will and Alana, and he brings out an entire roast pig with all the trimmings? Or it’s just him and Wile, but there’s like 10,000 calories in overpriced perishables on the table?
Clearly, someone overshopped.
I realize it’s a stylistic choice, but it hits on something that almost every emigrant from USSR (and probably tons of other countries around the world) can readily relate to: bone-deep food insecurity.
It strikes me that this Hannibal Lecter, who presumably made it out of USSR sometime in the late 70s-early 80s, never got over his original shock of facing a sudden over-abundance and mind-blowing variety of food in the West. It sometimes takes emigrants years to learn not to hoard food, and not everyone manages. This goes double for meat. Meat was not sold very often in Soviet stores, and the cuts that were available were often, to put it mildly, substandard. (One popular joke went that Soviet pig farms probably slaughter their pigs with explosives, because the only things that made it to the stores were hooves.)
And so it’s very easy for me to imagine Lecter, decades after his escape to the West, with all the privations of life in a Soviet institution long behind him, *still* instinctively driven to over-shop for things that he never got to eat as a child: meat, fresh fruit, seafood, caviar - all the stuff he heaps on the table in such huge quantities for his friends.
Lecter might wear bespoke suits and drive a Bentley that costs more than most houses, but deep down in his bones, he’s still in ‘food crisis’ mode, terrified that all these pomegranates, caviar, and steak are only in the store through some kind of unexpected laxness or largesse on behalf of the ruling Party, and if he doesn’t buy as much as he can today, they’ll be gone from the store tomorrow, and he’ll be left with nothing..