My Experiences of Hospital Food

Several weeks ago I was taken into hospital, well actually two eventually.   I had had a severe flare up of my gallstones and this eventually lead to me having my gallbladder removed.   I’ve now decided that since during my time in hospital and recovering at home I’ve not really been up to cooking much (and therefore not contributing to my blog), I will review the food I had while I was in the hospital instead.

First off I have to say that unfortunately for a lot of my stay, in total nine days before having my  operation, I was only able to eat small portions. I was actually nil by mouth for about 4.5 days in total and even after that couldn’t eat anything rich or fatty.  This did curtail my gourmet experiences slightly, but I still managed to sample plenty of food while there.

The meals in the hospital went like this:  Breakfast  at 8.30am was cereal or toast. Later when I was transferred to another hospital, there was also an egg option.  Lunch was at 12PM and Dinner at 5PM were both three courses; soup, a choice of three or four mains and a dessert.

Breakfast was not the most fun for me as I couldn’t eat any dairy products, meaning I either had dry cereal, which is something I actually quite enjoy and have at home regularly, but which other people seemed to think was strange, or toast with jam without butter L.  Although not adventurous the breakfast was perfectly adequate and did the job.  After I was transferred to a second hospital and had had my operation, you could also have some form of egg (boiled, scrambled etc) which added a bit of welcome variety.

Breakfast at Llandough

And so onto lunch and dinner.   First up, the highlight of every lunch and dinner was the soup.   When I was allows to eat, I didn’t miss a single one and I have to say that every time it was gorgeous and I guess the soup has to be this good as many people were on a liquids only or light diet.  There seemed to be a different variety each meal, which is amazing when you consider how long I was there, and each one was great. I think by the end my favourite was the thick mushroom soup.

Each lunch and dinner we were given three or four options from which to choose,and there was always a sandwich if you really didn’t fancy something.  I have to be honest and say that the food was not always the prettiest looking (some meals did err a little on the grey side) but there was always plenty to be had if you wanted it.  Alright, the food wasn’t restaurant quality, but considering the restricted budget hospitals work to, I have to say it really was quite good.

Although occasionally the meat was a bit tough, especially the Sunday dinner which was probably the worst for this, (but no worse than some pubs I’ve been too!) I didn’t have a single meal that I felt was inedible.

Mushroom soup, beef roast dinner and peach crumble with custard

Apart from soup, lunch and dinner was accompanied with the option of dessert.  This was always some sort of fruit pudding, normally crumble or sponge , with custard, a jelly, yoghurt or some ice cream.  Until I had my operation I couldn’t try the ice cream (much to my disappointment) and mainly stuck to jelly, however my fellow patients assured me that the ice cream was worth the wait.  After waking up form my op I was finally able to try some and I can confirm that it was wonderfully creamy and full of vanilla.  I have no idea where they got if from, but it’s almost worth getting re-admitted for :-p.

My first meal after the op; veg soup, lasagne and ice cream!

You hear a lot of complaints about hospital food but I must say that I really didn’t feel it was justified.  Yes it’s not M&S quality (a comment I heard on numerous occasions) and yes it may not be exactly what you would make for yourself, but for mass catering (Heath Hospital has 1000 beds) you could do a lot worse.

Food was the last thing on my mind when I was admitted to hospital, but it is an important part of maintaining a patients moral and assisting a recovery.  The food I received in both Heath Hospital (UHW) and Llandough exceeded my expectations and certainly made what was a very trying time more bearable.  Should I ever be unlucky enough to get admitted to hospital again I now have one less thing to worry about now.

Meatballs in BBQ sauce - My favourite meal of the whole stay, it was great!


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2 Responses to “My Experiences of Hospital Food”

  1. Woody Says:

    My experience as a hospital chef is that the quality of food is solely dependant in a bigger unit on the catering manager (sometimes laughably called the executive chef). In other cases on the hospital manager.
    I have been given a free hand on the majority of occasions but in a minority of units. Particularly when it comes to dealing with the elderly and the mentally challenged the food is usualy processed crap

  2. A Michelin starred meal and a little bit of home baking. | Rhi's Foodie Life Says:

    […] hospital I was at was a private one so it’s a bit unfair to compare it to my experiences of NHS food, but I have to say I was impressed with the quality if not the choice (there was no choice!). I was […]

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