During the last 30 days I had the occassion to be hospitalized three separate times for the same problem. It is now solved and I'm fine.
I have not been hospitalized in 10 years, and prior to that almost 40 years earlier. Hospital food used to be bland, tasteless glop, served in an unappealing manner off a cart rolling down the aisles and arriving lukewarm at best and at stupid times, such as supper at 4PM. 10 years ago I had my wife smuggle in outside food. 50 years ago, I lost 10 pounds during my stay as I found nothing remotely edible. I wasn't eating creamed chipped beef for breakfast or turkey ala king for dinner.
I was hospitalized with no dietary restrictions, and the nurse on duty brought me a menu that looked like it came from a local diner, not an institutional kitchen.
I was told to make my choices and call the extension on the menu to place an order.
Breakfast could be ordered from 7am til 7 pm, with the exception that breakfast sandwiches and pancakes were only available until 10:30 AM. There were choices of fresh fruit, canned fruits, yogurts, eggs to order, pancakes, french toast waffles, hot and cold cereals, breakfast meats and fresh breads and pastries, as well as a good slection of teas and Green Mountain coffees.
The lunch and dinner menus were available from 11 am til 7pm and had a choice of 5 soups, garden and dinner salads, chef, ceasar and fruit. There were 9 entrees served with startch and vegetable with dinner rolls ranging from grilled chicken, to Asian stir fry to comfort foods such as meatloaf or fish.
There was a grill section with hamburgeres, cheeseburgers, grilled chcken sandwiches or garden veggie burgers cooked on a char grill. A selection of cold made to order deli sandwiches on choice of bread/rolls was also available.
Deserts were a choice of fresh baked goods, fresh or canned fruits, puddings, italian ices, ice cream or sherbets and 6 flavors of soda, coffee and tea.
The meals were delived to the bed by 'Ambassadors' who were responsible for only 8 patients. One afternoon I did not feel like lunch early as I was having an IV treatment and the ambassador arrived at my bed all upset that I hadn't entered an order and shouldn't miss a meal. I really wasn't hungry and the medicines had affected my appetite. The ambassador informed me that the chef could make special requests if it would make me feel better.
So, I asked that they put together a caesar salad with sliced steak and it arrived in about 20 minutes.
As I was ambulatory, the nurse on the floor informed me that there was a nutrition room for patients' use on each ward. Coffee, tea, and broth were always available, regular or diet ginger ale, a selection of crackers, breadstuffs for toasting and a fully stocked refrigerator/freezer with juices, fruits, ices, sherbets, ice cream, yogurts and milk.
It seems that the hospitals have to compete to keep their beds full and if the incoming patient has a choice, the food service can sway the decision.
In my case I chose the hospital for the care I'd receive, but being able to enjoy the food, not complain or reject it made my recovery easier.