Thursday, October 18

Hospital Food

Can I share with you my experience of hospital food?

I'd never been into hospital until I had Gwen. I had her in a lovely purpose-built midwifery unit, all dim lights, birthing pools and whale music.

Although the birth was straightforward, I had to stay in for a few days because the naughty little snail was so sleepy that she wouldn't feed. Trying to get her to feed involved me being woken up every three hours, while a maternity assistant or midwife or whoever was passing through (I'm surprised the cleaner didn't get involved) took turns to poke, pull, squeeze, prod and generally manhandle my breasts, while forcing Gwen's head against my bleeding nipples. As you can imagine, going through this palaver after just having given birth meant that I needed all the emotional and physical strength I could muster. And for me, good nutrition (and cakes) are really important to how I feel.

Now because of the whole lights/pool/whale music approach, I was expecting some quite nice food. Well, nice by hospital standards anyway. Maybe a pasta dish with loads of veggies or even a nice jacket potato.

I'd managed to avoid the food on Day One, as Mr Meep and I had a celebratory Chinese takeaway in the room. Day Two was Sunday. The lunch trolley came around at around midday. It was a Sunday roast.

"Pork or Lamb love?"
"Oh, neither thanks - I'm veggie. Do you have any veggie options?"
(Looks a bit flustered) "Uhhhh... I'll see what we can do."

She disappears for about half an hour, then returns with a pre-packed sandwich with that classic veggie filling - tuna.

The next day, the choice was cauliflower cheese. I was quite excited. I shouldn't have been. When it turned up, it was more like baby food - a mushy mess of sloppy overcooked cauliflower swimming in a watery, milky sauce. Bleeee.

Day 4 was a real treat. The trolley came around and I was offered chicken curry or ham salad. I asked if there was anything veggie and off they disappeared to the kitchen, only to return half an hour later with a cheese salad.

The cheese salad involved some iceburg lettuce, wedges of cucumber, some grated mild cheddar, no dressing and... wait for it... two ice-cream scoops of cold mashed potato on the side. Mmmmmmmmmmm. It's all anyone needs to keep their strength up.

Luckily I was discharged about half an hour later and was reunited with wholemeal bread, fresh fruit and vegetables, vegetables, vegetables. Oh, and muffins.


  1. When I was in hospital I was served a veggie spag bol that honestly looked like a cow pat atop soggy noodles. Mmmmm, just what you need to keep up your strength after 18 blood transfusions!

  2. I haven't eaten meat for 25 yrs and my experience of my one surgery in hosp, was exactley the same as yours! In the end I had the Bear and friends bringing fresh stuff from M&S.

  3. I was Nil By Mouth for 5 days which meant I wasn't able to 'enjoy' the dubious pleasures of hospital food!
    However, in the hospital I was in - they did seem a bit au fait with good cuisine - they had Lloyd Grossman's meals!

    (how he managed to pop in every day and cook up a delish dish I have no clue... )