Friday, June 11, 2010

Hospital Food

I'm sitting in a hospital waiting room right now, watching the Hawks rally and wondering if a nap would be inappropriate. After they took her back, I headed down to the cafeteria and perused the offerings for something I could eat. It may sound crazy, but I actually don't mind eating at the hospital.

Now, before you think I, or someone I care about, spend copious amounts of time in the hospital, warranting my fondness for their cuisine, let me explain. My mother and I have worked at the school across the street from the hospital for several years. The two institutions were founded by and are still overseen, in varying degree, by the same group of Franciscan sisters, and it is not unusual for staff from the school to walk across for lunch, or even dinner on nights when they must stay late for conferences or programs. I have eaten in the hospital cafeteria more times than I can count, and I must say, usually the food is good.

I know, I know, hospital food? Good? It's true though.

One thing to remember about eating in any cafeteria is that you can't just start putting things on your tray. Look around, see all of what is available. One dish might seem very appealing, until you notice something even better, but by that point, if it's already on your tray, it's too late. I browsed for a few moments before settling on broiled Italian chicken, steamed broccoli in a bit of butter, and a salad from the salad bar. The salad bar is an undervalued asset in the cafeteria setting. I opted for the darker spring greens over the fairly nutrient empty iceberg mix, added shredded carrots, sliced hard-boiled egg and a little cheddar. Topped with a honey mustard dressing, this was truly a wonderful salad.

My only complaint with the meal is that in an effort to cut down dish washing and accommodate those who take their food and go, the cafeteria only uses Styrofoam dishes. (Sidenote: Welcome to the world precious one! I just heard the Brahms Lullaby being played over the hospital intercom, signaling a birth.) I hunted down a full size plate for my chicken and broccoli, rather than use two bowls plus another for salad, and I used real silverware. They'll just have to wash them.

A Mountain Dew to wash it down may help me stave off that nap, which probably would in fact be inappropriate at this point. Ok, I also had dessert. Zarlengo's, who you may have read about my post Onions, ash and leather, besides selling from their shop and at Sox games, also provide novelties to hospital cafeterias. I was finishing up a Zarbar, vanilla softserve on a stick, covered in smooth milk chocolate, when I began this post. (Another one! Welcome to you too little one!)

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