I was at the hospital this morning for a routine test. I arrived early and decided to get some breakfast in the cafeteria. Scrambled eggs and bacon, to be exact. A nice cup of decaf coffee. Aside from the fact that I needed something to get me going, the food was really good. So was the coffee. I love hospital food. It’s inexpensive, predictable, and always available. I love getting my tray, surveying the different options available, and then zeroing in on my final choice. I also appreciate the expediency of the cafeteria line, as well as the no frills dining experince. It’s exactly what you need when you need it most.
Probably one of the best meals of my life (at least quite a memorable one) was the morning after I gave birth to my son. I had given birth at 8:36 p.m. on a Thursday evening. Sometime that night I was offered some crackers and juice, which I gratefully accepted. I think the sheer exhaustion of giving birth overrode any greater feelings of hunger I may have had. That is, of course, until the next morning when I was ravenously hungry. I think my breakfast must have been delivered fairly quickly, because I’m pretty sure I was willing to walk out of my room half naked to steal whatever food I could find. I fixated on the smell of the food before I could actually see it. Glorious pancakes, sausage (heck, it may have been bacon, but it went down the hatch so fast it’s difficult to remember), juice, coffee, fruit. Oh my goodness, the absolute best breakfast ever. I think I could have eaten two or three rounds of breakfast, if given the opportunity.
Other hospital visits, and one hospital stay (for my gallbladder operation), all yielded delightful meetings with what can best be described as “generic cafeteria food.” I have yet to meet a cafeteria meal that I didn’t enjoy. The important thing is to view the meal in the context of the situation. You’re in a hospital, you’re hungry/sick/upset/stressed/weak and you just need something to fill your belly. A meal from Lacroix or The Continental is not what you’re looking for. You need plain, comforting, recognizable food that doesn’t challenge you and doesn’t add to your angst. And you’ve found it. It’s just what the doctor ordered.