Due to the massive interest in my School Lunch Expose, and the fact that I’ve only recently spent 12 full days in hospital, I thought it was about time I released my hospital food expose! And if I get really into this expose malarkey… restaurants watch out! (unless you’re giving me a free meal!) 🙂 or perhaps I could do a Husband Food Expose or MIL Food Expose?! What ya reckon? I would LOVE to be a food critic because in general I LOVE FOOD!
My food in hospital was always brought to my bedside (Thankfully as I couldn’t get out of bed til day four or five!)… Except for the occasions where they quite simply FORGOT to bring me any dinner at all (This happened three or four times) and when I had breakfast on the maternity ward. Can you believe that once you’ve had your baby and can get out of bed without falling over, they actually expect you to get out of bed and walk down the hall to get your own breakfast? It’s a travesty! I mean, they even expected me to butter my own toast and pour milk on my cereal MYSELF!
Now my first 2 days in hospital, I was guttedly, not allowed any food. Completely NIL BY MOUTH due to my traumatic labour and HELLP Syndrome. My first meal however, tasted like the best meal I’d ever had! It was Salmon, Dill and Potato bake with mashed potato and brocoli. I even ate the brocoli, so therefore I come to the conclusion that it was the psychological impact of starvation that made the food taste so good, rather than the hospital having chefs to rival Gordon Ramsey or Jamie Oliver!
In fact the first two days that I was allowed food, I enjoyed every meal I had. It took me until about the fourth day to realise it all tastes the same; and until the day of discharge (first time around) to realise I had been kidding myself and it’s all as disgusting as licking a strangers foot!
This menu I actually got to have 3 times as I was in hospital on 3 mondays!
Notice all the little “P”s? Those mean the food is suitable for those on a puree only diet! So literally translated as…BABY FOOD! or MUSH! I quickly noticed that 90% of the food on offer in hospital is this mush. Do they not realise that some patients… particularly on Maternity and Delivery wards, actually have their own teeth?!
One random, bizarre and not necessarily fortunate, day, I got a meal which wasn’t puree!
Mmmmm soggy tasteless chips! Mmmmm cold peas! Actually the fish was pretty tasty so I can’t knock that. Heston Blumenthal eat your heart out!
Another day, to escape the old-man-puree, I ordered Egg and Cress sandwiches on wholemeal bread, A starter of Soup (Okay we’re back on the puree but there weren’t any non puree options – it was soup or soup!) with a bread roll, and for dessert – Rice Pudding (still with the rice in)… THIS is what I got given…
Yeah that really doesn’t look right! Whilst they may have just been colour-blind on the bread – I’ve never seen Ham be laid by a chicken before or eggs come from a pig! However, even with this bizarre image in my head, I really cannot come up with how rice pudding can be confused with orange jelly? I seem to be missing the soup and roll altogether!
I have come to the conclusion there are unwritten rules when it comes to hospital food:
1) You must decide what you want to eat, the day before you will actually get it
2) If you get booked for a scan, surgery or procedure during lunch hour, you forfeit your right to eat.
3) The hospital will move you and your bed to a different room, so often, that you will think you are playing hide and seek with your visitors. When this happens, you only get to eat what the last person in your new room, ordered the day before. If they were so sick of hospital food that they didn’t order… you forego your right to eat!
4) Despite putting a lot of thought into what you want to order, and being in the right place at the right time, you will not necessarily get what you ordered.
5) Orange juice counts as a starter!
6) If you would like condiments… dream on!
7) You will not always be fortunate enough to get cutlery to eat your food with!
8) You must eat all three courses in under 5 minutes or the cleaners will try to take your food away!
9) If you need the loo, speak to a doctor or breastfeed your baby whilst your meal is in your room, you may as well kiss it goodbye because the cleaners will whip it off your table and run off with it before you can say “hang on…”.
10) There are three grades of Rice pudding… Rice Pudding (contains lumps of rice), Ground Rice Pudding (rice is ground to little pieces of grit), Semolina (Rice pudding without the rice!)
I guess I should just be thankful I was offered a hot meal twice a day (regardless of whether or not I actually got it). Unlike my poor friend and fellow blogger Emma got when she had her baby at a hospital that only does one hot meal per day. Or like the snack box I got when I visited triage!