Hospital food? | The Coast Halifax

Hospital food?

At some point in our lives most of us will have to avail ourselves of the services or should I say the right to healthcare. Anybody who has been to the hospital to even visit a relative or friend and had the luck to arrive at meal time we will be able to attest to the questionable quality of their food. Given the choice of helping uncle Roy with clearing his plate I dare say that most of us would decline the offer once we looked under the plastic lid that covers the apocryphal grey matter beneath it. Now if ones' hospital visit calls for an overnight or more prolonged stay then we will unavoidably be subject to the dubious food that issues from the hospital's kitchen. As my father was in and out of the hospital over a period of ten years before his final departure, I have had many opportunities to view and sample the debatable culinary delights from their kitchen. These encounters with what lay under the plastic lids on the food trays have caused me to wonder why? The questions being; why are they serving this stuff that is barely recognizable as food and where has the flavour gone?

At some point I recall hearing that the food served to patients in Halifax was coming out of an industrial kitchen in Toronto then shipped to Halifax by air. Say it ain't so! I have never been able to prove “that” as a fact but due to the limp, flaccid and flavourless quality of the food, it certainly seemed plausible. Why would a place supposedly dedicated to improving the physical condition of societies' ailing and injured, not place food quality well within one of the top components of improving a patient's condition?

Questions, regarding food quality, directed to the nursing staff met with shrugs and my questions were redirected to the hospital's administration for clarification. Further investigation by querying the administration led to reasons pertaining to the bottom line, but surely even bean counters would do better than being served, legumes that were boiled to within an inch of their usefulness as a form of nutrition and comfort.

Being a big proponent of local produce and a weekly supporter of the Farmer's Market, surely to god there must be an economically viable way of delivering appealing, and nutritious food to our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers that have the unfortunate necessity of spending time in a hospital environment for even one night. Now I know that the healthcare system has many flaws and problems that require attention before the right answers can be found but let's start with a fundamental by giving our patients a reason to live, and showing them we care. Let's give them appealing, nutritious and well prepared food. —DB