Everything about food, from matching food and wine to recipes, techniques and trends.
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

7160

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

What they tried to feed me today

by Mike Filigenzi » Thu Feb 14, 2013 12:46 am

So this is the "California Hospital Food in 2013" thread.

For the next three weeks or so, I'll be residing in a lovely room on the 8th floor of the UC Davis Medical Center. During this time, my diet will be largely restricted to what they provide. Every day, I get three meals: breakfast at 8 AM, lunch at noon, and supper at 6:00. There are default selections for each of those meals which is what they'll send up unless I order something else. There is a set of default selections for each day of the week. For instance, Friday's default breakfast is French toast with crispy bacon and berries. If I don't want that, there's a lot of other stuff to choose from. (For breakfast, I'm generally going with a half a bagel and some fruit.)

For whatever reason, I am on a bland diet. Seasonings on everything so far have been minimal and while I get a salt packet with each meal, I do not get pepper. (That thread on pepper is really hitting home now.)

I'll start with today's supper. The default was beef tacos with flour tortillas, black beans, cheese, lettuce, tomato. Dessert was custard with nutmeg. I went ahead and went with it.

I have to say, the tacos weren't bad. The beef was pretty much as bland as unseasoned, cooked ground beef can be, despite the presence of onion bits. The tortillas were quite good, however, they were soft and hot when they arrived. The black beans were also very good. There was sour cream and, inexplicably, some meek picante sauce. The cheese, black beans, sour cream, the picante, and most importantly the tortillas filled in for what the beef lacked. The custard dessert was middling. The nutmeg flavor was not particularly evident and it just didn't have a lot going for it. Still, this is easily the best meal I've had since I got here.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
User avatar
User

Jo Ann Henderson

Rank

Mealtime Maven

Posts

3175

Joined

Fri Feb 16, 2007 10:34 am

Location

Seattle, WA USA

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Jo Ann Henderson » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:31 am

Enjoy it while you can, Mike. Though it has not been my experience, I understand that many people who undergo chemo develops a metalic sensation and taste after a few days, thus altering the taste of everything. Just an FYI.
"...To undersalt deliberately in the name of dietary chic is to omit from the music of cookery the indispensable bass line over which all tastes and smells form their harmonies." -- Robert Farrar Capon
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

7160

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Mike Filigenzi » Thu Feb 14, 2013 1:37 am

Jo Ann Henderson wrote:Enjoy it while you can, Mike. Though it has not been my experience, I understand that many people who undergo chemo develops a metalic sensation and taste after a few days, thus altering the taste of everything. Just an FYI.


I've heard that as well, Jo Ann. From what I can tell, it takes a few days for all of the glories of the toxin to kick in, so I can start expecting that stuff to get going around Friday or Saturday. One of the nurses told me that one patient was having no issues with taste or smell until they brought bacon in for breakfast. He about gagged on the smell of it.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

7160

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Mike Filigenzi » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:26 pm

Today, it was a turkey burger with potato chips and a lemon bar for lunch. Bland but not terrible - about the level of banquet food at a middlin' hotel.

Dinner was prime rib, baked potato, a vegetable medley, and banana pudding. The prime rib had all of the things I dislike about prime rib - blobs of fat, a bit of gristle here and there - and none that I like. It was cooked to a consistent brown. There was jus to go with it along with a surprisingly zingy horseradish sauce (no pepper, but they give me horseradish?). None of that helped, though, so I opened up the potato, dumped in all of the salt they gave me along with the provided 1/4 t. of "whipped topping" and ate the meat out of it. I used the skin to scoop up the horseradish sauce from the inedible beef. That part was pretty good. The veggies were not horribly overcooked, but they were horribly unseasoned (I have to learn to start hoarding salt when I don't use it, or maybe get my wife to bring some in from home), so I only had a couple of perfunctory bites. The banana pudding was, um, banana-ey.

It's probably good that a lot of this stuff is not very good. I'm getting precious little exercise right now, so I probably shouldn't be eating overly much.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
no avatar
User

Karen/NoCA

Rank

Hunter/Gatherer

Posts

5264

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:55 pm

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Karen/NoCA » Thu Feb 14, 2013 11:44 pm

You are on the 8th floor, so does that mean you cannot be taken outside for some fresh air, or a walk? I know you mentioned you will be kept isolated for a period of time....is this that time?

Good thing for the laptop or whatever you are using to communicate, Do you play Words With Friends? It is really a great game if you have some friends who will play along with you. Keeps your mind occupied for a few minutes anyway and gets you out of the real life situation. Of course, a good book will do that too. Hang is there Mike, and keep up your beautiful spirit.
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

7160

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:30 am

Karen/NoCA wrote:You are on the 8th floor, so does that mean you cannot be taken outside for some fresh air, or a walk? I know you mentioned you will be kept isolated for a period of time....is this that time?

Good thing for the laptop or whatever you are using to communicate, Do you play Words With Friends? It is really a great game if you have some friends who will play along with you. Keeps your mind occupied for a few minutes anyway and gets you out of the real life situation. Of course, a good book will do that too. Hang is there Mike, and keep up your beautiful spirit.


At present, I'm in a room with specially filtered air and such. I'll be isolated in this room until my blood counts crash and then start coming up again. Once they get back u to a certain point, I'll be allowed to walk around the floor here if I want to. In about three weeks, they should get to the point that I can go home. At that point, I'll be encouraged to get out and walk around the neighborhood as long as I avoid contact with people.

I do have my laptop and a stereo thing I can plug my iPod into. Right now, I'm getting ready to watch a live streaming broadcast of one of my favorite performers who happens to be in Berkeley. So far, I haven't been too bored, but I have a ways to go yet.

Thanks, Karen.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
User avatar
User

David M. Bueker

Rank

Riesling Guru

Posts

22550

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 12:52 pm

Location

Connecticut

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by David M. Bueker » Fri Feb 15, 2013 10:19 am

Well best of luck with everything.

I'm honestly surprised that a hospital even serves bacon!
There behind the glass lies a real blade of grass. Be careful as you pass. Move along. Move along.
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26857

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Jenise » Fri Feb 15, 2013 12:41 pm

Compared with most hospital food I've had, what you're describing doesn't sound all that bad! At least in terms of variety. Bland seems to be the norm, however, because of the institutional belief that bland works for the widest variety of people--in spite of the fact that neither you nor I actually know a single person who loves bland food. Perhaps where a lot of people's taste buds are chemically altered it makes sense, but I'm not sure!

Last time I was in the hospital I was put on a liquid diet. Every meal was chicken broth and jello. I detest jello. One day they brought a noodle soup by accident; the noodles were bloated from overcooking and there was nothing about the way it looked that at any other time I'd have wanted, but after three days on broth and jello it looked amazing. When my husband saw it, he dove for the nurse buzzer to report the mistake at which point I said "you touch that and you're a dead man". And I'll admit with some embarrassment that I actually got to liking and looking forward to that jello. Haven't eaten it since, but deprivation is sometimes your friend.

Maybe you need some hot sauce, something not too extreme but like a Melinda's one-X level that would put some zippy little bursts onto your plate.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Hoke

Rank

Achieving Wine Immortality

Posts

10646

Joined

Sat Apr 15, 2006 2:07 am

Location

Portland, OR

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Hoke » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:49 pm

My experiences last year in the hospital were okay. Since I didn't go there for the food, I wasn't disappointed. :D

Fortunately, my only restrictions were low salt. Providence has a system where they provide a menu every morning and you order what you wish and they deliver it shortly afterwards, a la room service.

Never felt hungry (although I was preoccupied at the time with pain and drugs) but always appreciated the food delivery, and the quality was okay. Variety and diversity of choices was about as good as you could expect. Sort of like a Denny's run by a bunch of health-food freaks. 8)

Since my digestive system wasn't directly involved, and my condition didn't expose me to immunity issues, I got off pretty well in the food department. I can remember times in hospital where that wasn't the case (the broth and jello of Jenise's experience). Then things weren't so good. And I still recall, quite vividly, how tasteless everything was---not because radio or chemo had affected my taste buds, but because the food was intentionally bland and tasteless!

I can only imagine the shock of being Mexican or Thai or Indian, or some such, where high spices and heat are a normal and expected part of a regular diet. Wonder if the Indian, etc., hospitals have radically different diet standards? Bet they do.
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

7160

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Feb 15, 2013 1:55 pm

I'll check on the hot sauce idea, Jenise. I can't understand why they have me on a "bland" diet rather than the low microbial diet (although my blood counts are still good at the moment, so maybe that will come later).

I can only imagine the shock of being Mexican or Thai or Indian, or some such, where high spices and heat are a normal and expected part of a regular diet. Wonder if the Indian, etc., hospitals have radically different diet standards? Bet they do.


You'd have to hope that their idea of a bland diet would not be our idea of one.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
User avatar
User

Carrie L.

Rank

Golfball Gourmet

Posts

2525

Joined

Thu Oct 12, 2006 9:12 am

Location

Extreme Southwest & Extreme Northeast

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Carrie L. » Fri Feb 15, 2013 2:11 pm

Mike, I haven't been around this site much lately, so obviously missed something important regarding your health. So first, I want to say I'm sorry for whatever has landed you in the hospital for an extended stay. You will be in my thoughts and I look forward to your updates.

Second, I am always amazed at hospital food. Like fatty prime rib? Bacon? Just seems very odd to me. I know they must have menus that are tailored to a person's condition, right? I assume these items would not be on the tray of a heart bypass patient...but still.

Len spent a day or two in a NC hospital over the summer and I was absolutely shocked when I went down to the cafeteria (shared by hospital personnel and patrons) to get a bite. I would say 85% of the hospital workers in there were obese. The cafeteria had everything from hot dogs and hamburgers to fried chicken and soft serve ice cream machines. There was greasy meat loaf and macaroni and cheese, and canned green beans laced with bacon turning grey in a steaming tray. Two young, obese, female nurses aids in line next to me at the short order grill each ordered two (each) grilled cheese and bacon sandwiches PLUS french fries, then waddled away to the Coke dispenser. The griddle the sandwiches were made on had about 1/8 inch of grease on it, AND the bread was generously spread with a butter-like substance prior to grilling. (I had a grilled chicken breast sandwich in case anyone is wondering.) Now, mind you, this was in the South, but if hospital workers' diets are this bad, what is the hope for the rest of our country?
Hello. My name is Carrie, and I...I....still like oaked Chardonnay. (I feel so much better now.)
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

7160

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Mike Filigenzi » Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:19 pm

Yikes, Carrie! That experience would make me wonder about the dieticians in that hospital. The choices here in general aren't too over-the-top. They have rotisserie chicken, a couple of fish dishes, and a number of salads that you can choose from. If you wanted to, though, I think you could load up on the calories. I'm finding that they're sending up more than I want, I think because I'm getting so little exercise. I'm not in bed all day or anything, but I can't leave the room, so there's only so much movement I can get in.

(As for what I'm in here for, there's more info in the "dietary restrictions" thread.)

And thanks so much for the kind wishes.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
no avatar
User

Karen/NoCA

Rank

Hunter/Gatherer

Posts

5264

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:55 pm

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Karen/NoCA » Fri Feb 15, 2013 4:53 pm

Wow Carrie, that is just wrong for a hospital to be serving that type of food. No wonder so many nurses are obese. I have not been in the hospital for for many years, not since I stopped being a volunteer, but I certainly know that both our Catholic and corporate owned hospitals did not serve food like that. There is also a privately owned hospital that offers very healthy and gourmet food using fresh local ingredients. When I was a volunteer, I know they offered grilled hot dogs, burgers and mac and cheese. I never saw fries. There was yogurt, lots of salads, raw veggies, tea, coffee. Since I don't drink soft drinks, as I cannot recall seeing them at all.
It just seems wrong to serve that food when most patients are being told to eat healthier. Too, there is just something wrong with nurses being obese. I see that here too, along with the sheriff and his deputies. Not so much with local police who are offered gym memberships and a reduction in insurance rates for staying healthy. At least that is the way it was when I was there. I also see the firemen at the neighborhood park running in the mornings, so the City must be offering them them the same package.
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

7160

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Mike Filigenzi » Sat Feb 16, 2013 12:40 am

Lunch today was macaroni and cheese with a side of honeydew and cantaloupe. Their mac and cheese is not bad, but then I can accept most versions of that dish. This is fairly American cheesy but with a bit of cheddar flavor. If I could get some Tabasco Chipotle on it, it would be much better.

Supper was "Santa Fe Chicken". It consisted of an overcooked chicken breast covered with chili sauce, some veggies, and a light layer of a flavorless white cheese. The sauce was actually pretty good - at some point some real chilis went into it. It wasn't hot by any means but at least added a little tang to and moisture to the chicken. It came with a side of allegedly Spanish rice which had a red color but no flavor other than rice. It was useful for sopping up the extra sauce, though. Also had a big heap of (ugh) canned green beans and a teeny little chocolate tart.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26857

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Jenise » Sat Feb 16, 2013 1:58 pm

Mike, have you discovered any reason why you shouldn't have hot sauce? That meal desperately needed it. I'm starting to think the aversion you're most in danger of acquiring is an aversion to bland food!
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
no avatar
User

Karen/NoCA

Rank

Hunter/Gatherer

Posts

5264

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:55 pm

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Karen/NoCA » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:32 pm

The hot sauce would certainly help. Chipotle Tabasco would certainly help. Is fresh lemon or lime juice an option?
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

7160

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Mike Filigenzi » Sat Feb 16, 2013 4:36 pm

Jenise wrote:Mike, have you discovered any reason why you shouldn't have hot sauce? That meal desperately needed it. I'm starting to think the aversion you're most in danger of acquiring is an aversion to bland food!


We're working on that, Jenise. The pepper is out because it's a raw, ground spice, but condiments are okay. Jarred or bottles ones need to be refrigerated, so that's a problem but I have several friends on notice to swipe the little packets of sauce from restaurants or fast food places when they get a chance. I'm hoping to get a small stockpile set up here shortly.

Karen - Hadn't thought about lemon or lime. That's a good idea.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
no avatar
User

Karen/NoCA

Rank

Hunter/Gatherer

Posts

5264

Joined

Thu Mar 23, 2006 9:55 pm

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Karen/NoCA » Sat Feb 16, 2013 6:36 pm

I have several friends on notice to swipe the little packets of sauce from restaurants or fast food places when they get a chance. I'm hoping to get a small stockpile set up here shortly.



Love It! :idea:
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26857

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Jenise » Sun Feb 17, 2013 3:46 pm

So I wonder if the stuff kicked in, since Mike hasn't posted a meal since about this time yesterday morning.

I look forward to the thread we should start in a week or so called 'Mike's Cravings'. :P
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

7160

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Mike Filigenzi » Sun Feb 17, 2013 4:41 pm

Just forgot to post yesterday's goodies (and ended up sleeping late this morning).

Lunch was a hamburger of the type generally found at school fundraisers.

Supper was a pretty decent leg quarter from a rotisserie chicken (I was smart enough to not order the breast) with whipped (not mashed) potatoes and some sort of generic yellow gravy. Also a big heap of carrots (the kind you buy in bags for your kids to dip in ranch dressing) that had been over-steamed and otherwise unflavored.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
no avatar
User

Jenise

Rank

FLDG Dishwasher

Posts

26857

Joined

Tue Mar 21, 2006 3:45 pm

Location

The Pacific Northest Westest

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Jenise » Sun Feb 17, 2013 8:29 pm

Ah there you are. And what is it about hospitals and yellow gravy? When I was a kid, my neighbor's father was a doctor and sometimes on Saturdays he'd take us along on house calls. Sometimes that meant we stopped at a hospital whose cafeteria was a place of wonder for small kids with a few free bucks in their pocket from Daddy. Our favorite thing there? The mashed potatoes--perfect mounds scooped and placed upside down on the plate to form a perfect bowl-like half circle, covered with a salty yellow gravy.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

7160

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:52 am

Well, lunch today was cheese ravioli with a marinara sauce over it. The cheese was quite bland and the marinara was a little sweet and lacking any character but they were at least able to cook the ravioli properly. (Might have a leg up on Olive Garden in that department.) That came with the traditional oversteamed underseasoned vegetable (broccoli, in this case), and one of those little cigar-shaped rolls of a "bread stick".

Supper was a small piece of lemon-herb basa that wasn't too bad. The lemon-herb sauce was decent and the fish wasn't terribly dried out. That came with the whipped potatoes and, yes, the generic yellow gravy. Veggie was peas and pearl onions, obviously straight from the freezer bag.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
no avatar
User

Jeff Grossman/NYC

Rank

That 'pumpkin' guy

Posts

2903

Joined

Sat Mar 25, 2006 8:56 am

Location

NYC

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Jeff Grossman/NYC » Mon Feb 18, 2013 12:48 pm

Mike Filigenzi wrote:Well, lunch today was cheese ravioli with a marinara sauce over it. The cheese was quite bland and the marinara was a little sweet and lacking any character but they were at least able to cook the ravioli properly. (Might have a leg up on Olive Garden in that department.) That came with the traditional oversteamed underseasoned vegetable (broccoli, in this case), and one of those little cigar-shaped rolls of a "bread stick".

Supper was a small piece of lemon-herb basa that wasn't too bad. The lemon-herb sauce was decent and the fish wasn't terribly dried out. That came with the whipped potatoes and, yes, the generic yellow gravy. Veggie was peas and pearl onions, obviously straight from the freezer bag.

As dreary as this sounds, I think it is light years away from what hospital food used to be. I recall, when visiting my grandparents in various hospitals, seeing trays of gray and white food, all totally unseasoned and cooked unto mush.
User avatar
User

Mike Filigenzi

Rank

Known for his fashionable hair

Posts

7160

Joined

Mon Mar 20, 2006 5:43 pm

Location

Sacramento, CA

Re: What they tried to feed me today

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Feb 18, 2013 5:30 pm

Jeff Grossman/NYC wrote:As dreary as this sounds, I think it is light years away from what hospital food used to be. I recall, when visiting my grandparents in various hospitals, seeing trays of gray and white food, all totally unseasoned and cooked unto mush.


I agree with you there, Jeff. This is my first-ever hospital experience, but I also remember visiting people when I was young and seeing stuff that just couldn't really qualify as "food". While I can't say I'm thrilled with what they serve here, they do manage to make much of it at least somewhat palatable. The vegetables are the worst, tending towards overly steamed fresh ones, canned one, or warmed up frozen ones. Nothing is spiced nearly to the level it should be on any parameter (salt, heat, etc.) But still, there have been several so far that were quite tasty, including the lemon herb basa and the tacos. There's no question that they're at least attempting to make meals that won't gag you.
"People who love to eat are always the best people"

- Julia Child
Next

Who is online

Users browsing this forum: No registered users and 4 guests

Powered by phpBB ® | phpBB3 Style by KomiDesign