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How is the hospital food where you live?

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How is the hospital food where you live?

greygarious | | Oct 24, 2009 07:18 AM

I was just in the Lahey Clinic in Burlington, Massachusetts, for a few days, and have been an inpatient there on 4 previous occasions. Their food is a mixed bag - some of the housemade items are not bad at all, although portion sizes are debatable. My first time, 5 years ago, when I ordered a side salad it was a tiny bowl with perhaps a half cup of lettuce and a slice each of cucumber and tomato. I could understand small servings of the less healthy items but you'd think they'd size in such a way as to promote the healthier foods. In the fresh fruit arena, the bananas and apples are very small and the apples are Red Delicious, that quintessential example of false advertising. Not only mealy, with a bitter peel and little flavor, but brown near the core.

I once mentioned to a nurse there that the chicken pot pie was quite good - she told me that when the hospital first opened, patient trays had quality tableware and bud vases with fresh flowers, which hasn't been the case in many years. This time, I was on a "heart-healthy" diet. The menu had a heart logo on certain foods so that's what I requested, although I was skeptical about the accuracy of those logos, which were attached, for example, to a grilled cheese sandwich and all of the bread choices, including white and a white dinner roll. Salty margarine yes, butter no. I found that the heart-healthy foods were far saltier than what I cook for myself. For my last meal there, I asked if the logo-less chicken pot pie was permitted and was told it was. When it arrived, instead of the nice crust I remembered from 5 years ago, the filling was topped with a slice of white toast. I don't know if that was a supposedly heart-healthy alternative topping or if they'd run out of the properly-prepared item....

I know that some hospital cafeterias are notable for particularly good versions of certain foods. A different one in my area is supposed to make a great Reuben. But now that I am back home, with my preferred non-white starches and unsalted butter, I am wondering if there are any hospitals that have particularly good or bad INPATIENT food reputations.

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