This article has an interesting theory that Hannibal Lecter’s famous fava beans line in The Silence of the Lambs is a medical joke. The idea is that liver, beans, and wine can’t be consumed by people taking MAOIs. It says Thomas Harris sometimes includes subtle jokes in his novels (which makes him an even cooler author, in my opinion).

I can buy that it was an oblique joke. Lecter is the kind of criminal genius who would get a kick out of making such an obscure joke that it would sail right over the heads of most people. I can’t see it as indication that he was off his meds at that time, though, since it was a reference to a past event. Unless, of course, it was an even more subtle needle planted into the ether, because he knew Doctor Chilton was listening in on his conversations with Clarice. What a great way that would be to keep his weasly little keeper awake at night, worrying that his pet psychopath was off his meds and clearmind plotting.

Whether it really is a double layered (Harris and his character) inside joke I don’t know. It is fun to ponder new insights into both Doctor Hannibal Lecter and his brilliant creator.