Is All Hospital Food Bad?

Categories: Leftovers

spainmeal.jpg
A meal from Vall Hebron Hospital in Barcelona, Spain: consomme, vol-au-vent of shellfish with prawns and a filet with mushrooms and potatoes.
That's the question posed by a Tumblr page called merely "Hospital Food," where patients are invited to submit photos of their hospital meals from across the world.

Anecdotes of poor hospital meals here in Houston are endless, despite the presence of the world's largest medical center, oh, right down Main Street. Just a few months ago, my mother and I were surreptitiously sneaking in homemade fried chicken and mashed potatoes to my cousin at M.D. Anderson, where he was undergoing cancer treatments that left him weak and disinterested in the awful hospital food.

Another friend of mine stayed at St. Joseph for a good week while she battled an infection. She's vegetarian, and the only meals they fed her the entire time were variations on rice and beans. Upon leaving, she mentioned that they might want to reconsider the "vegetarian menu" at the hospital. Their response: "Oh, we'll be sure to have better food for you next time!"

ukmeal.jpg
The Tumblr page seems to attest to better food at international hospitals, like the meal from Spain at the beginning of the post or the tagliatelle in a cheese sauce with potatoes and carrots from Leicester, England, shown above. Exceptions to this rule, however, are found in Poland, where the hospitals seem to be fond of serving variations on pickles, bread and butter.

My own limited experience with hospital food as a patient happened when I was restricted to a diet of clear liquids -- so I'm not exactly the voice of experience here -- but I can't fault Memorial Hermann for its wonderful lemon Jell-O and beef broth, which were like manna from heaven after drinking nothing but water and Sprite.

Where has your best hospital meal been? Your worst? Let us know in the comments section below.

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Mjr91
Mjr91

York Hospital (York PA) recently offered me a vegetarian menu with roasted vegetable salads, vegetarian chili and lasagna, veggieburgers on whole wheat rolls, whole-grain crust pizzas, and fresh, crunchy broccoli. Frankly, the vegetarian menu there was better than the food offered vegetarians at most restaurants. I was surprised and quite pleased.

Fatty FatBastard
Fatty FatBastard

The best thing is to serve vegetarians lard in their beans. Without fail they'll always say they're the best beans they've had.

Bruce R
Bruce R

The food at Clear Lake Regional is pretty good.

DontFeedVal
DontFeedVal

I had some great Split Pea soup at St Luke's last summer after surgery. It was surprisingly delicious!

katie
katie

I thought the food at Methodist was reasonable, not fantastic, but a lot better than I expected.

CraigHlavaty
CraigHlavaty

Balboa Naval Hospital in San Diego ruled. So many choices.

Tim
Tim

I had occasion to sample the food at Texas Woman's Hospital recently. Provided by Sodexo, the menu proudly promises that they will provide a new hospital dining experience. Several meals later, I would say that the promise was only partially fulfilled. Items such as sandwiches and salads were pretty good. Hot foods, roast turkey breast with mashed potatoes for example, could be dry and over salty. So, based on those experiences, you could do OK with the food there, but you have to think through what you're ordering and try to imagine how they would be preparing it to give yourself the best chance of ordering something that tasted good.

The absolute worst thing I ate there was some kind of cobbler (apple? peach? maybe pears? I really couldn't tell) I had once for dessert. It wasn't so much that it tasted disgusting - though it certainly didn't taste good - but that the textures were abominable. A sodden crust, dilapidated fruit, and a syrup that resembled nothing so much as phlegm. The experience of eating even a second bite of that cobbler was simply awful and I did not dare eat a third.

LW
LW

If I ever get seriously injured (*knocks on wood*) take me to Barcelona, please.

Brittanie Shey
Brittanie Shey

Christopher spent over a month in a rural Korea hospital following a motorcycle accident right after we moved over there. We still didn't speak the language and weren't super familiar with the culture yet, so when they offered him a choice of two menues -- Korean food or Western food -- he chose Western. He was ecstatic when they brought him a big old spread of fried chicken on the first night.

On the second day he also got a big spread of fried chicken. For breakfast, lunch, and dinner. On the third day, more fried chicken. Finally he asked to switch to the Korean menu and from then on had a different tasty platter for each meal.

big red
big red

The absolute worst crap coming in on a tray is served at Memorial Hermann Southwest. The food I got in basic training in the army (circa 1970) put it to shame. And in those days, army chow was one step better than dog food.

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