Hospital food: the good, the bad, and the cheesy
So: hospital food. Is it really so bad?
Well, I've now had seven meals on which to base an opinion. Among the best:
A perfectly acceptable salade Niçoise with everything but the capers. (I'm not sure that tomato is authentic, but we'll let that slide.)
Very juicy baked chicken (though the gravy, which claimed to be "the best!", was not).
The overall theme, if there is one, is New England diner: comforting, under-seasoned dishes. Which makes perfect sense for a Boston hospital — when you're sick, you don't want challenging dishes; you want something homely and recognizable.
But when you're feeling pretty much okay, even after two full days of induction chemo (thanks to powerful anti-nausea drugs), it's hard not to lose your appetite when faced with:
A dry, congealed turkey pot pie, in which only the peas are salvageable:
Turkey dinner with sad cauliflower au gratin and more of that
This morning's Cheesy Scrambled Eggs (American cheese, of course, two corners of the square still resplendently unmelted):
The golden glow on its pasteurized surface came courtesy of the much more natural, glorious, sunrise:
I know I'm coming across as a food snob here (well, that is my role). So I also need to say that I completely understand the scale of the undertaking.
The hospital has one central kitchen, from which meals are shipped to various buildings and reheated at serving time. It's much more cost-effective to use frozen or canned vegetables, and soft, over-cooked food is easier to digest (though of course it loses nutritional value along the way). And the cost for The Boy to have an in-room, three-course meal with me is around $8, which, let's face it, is amazingly cheap for Boston dining.
My awesome nurse has been helpful at pointing out things to straight-up avoid: the burger, and anything fish, are two of her tips.
But I'm now at the point where I can read an item on the menu — Kung Pao Pork, say, or Spaghetti with Meat Sauce — and have a pretty good idea of what I'm going to get.
Which is why The Boy is bringing me something from Anna's Taqueria tonight.