Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors (MAOIs) are a class of medications commonly prescribed for severe depression. One of the major side effects: Tyramine Syndrome, which causes a rapid rise in heart rate and blood pressure if certain foods are eaten.
Foods that are verboten? Eating liver with some fava beans and a nice Chianti. I doubt it's coincidence that Hannibal Lecter - a brilliant psychiatrist who would be well versed in pharmacotherapy - mentioned those three specific foods.
Touché, Thomas Harris. Well played.