Last week, I spent a day in an esteemed local hospital for a few tests. (I’m fine now, thanks. Go over to the National Stroke Foundation’s page on transient ischemic attacks to learn the signs in case a TIA happens to you.) While this nameless hospital may have the latest in diagnostic technology, the food services department is stuck in 1978.
I received a breakfast tray with FOUR different animal products (an omelet of egg and cheese, a pint of milk, and a sausage patty); a fat, fluffy, white-flour biscuit; plain, unseasoned oatmeal, orange juice AND orange segments; nondairy creamer; Promise “heart healthy” spread, and grape jelly.
WFT? Is the dietetics department trying to ensure a steady stream of returning cardiac patients? What’s wrong with wheat toast and nut butter, or a flax/bran muffin, or a fruit that’s not just a big bag of sugar? Why would any meal planner offer the same fruit and fruit juice in a meal? Who would eat mushy cooked oatmeal devoid of any seasoning at all? The entire meal was shockingly bad.
Foolishly, I hoped that lunch would show improvement. Boy, was I wrong: the entire tray was a study in beige/off-white/yellow. Pictured above is breaded tilapia under a white sauce, a pile of whole-kernel corn, a white-flour roll, vanilla cookies, and unsweetened tea. I did manage to eat the salad course, a cup of cucumbers and tomatoes.
I managed to break out of hospital/food prison before the dinner hour, thankfully. I high tailed it to Joe Sepie’s for shrimp & okra gumbo (see right). Ah, food with flavor, colors other than beige, and pleasant aromas. Hunger is the best seasoning, and it surely ranks as one of the best gumbos I’ve had all year.
The moral of this story: bring a box of Kashi TLC bars and some salted nuts to any inpatient hospital stay, or you will leave a very hungry person.