Cold toast is an abomination

Sadly the gobbler has taken down his site (and it’s not available via the wayback machine, which has a six month delay) so I can’t link to his excellent discussion a few months ago of cost cutting and penny pinching food practices in the aged care sector.

It’s been on my mind because I had an ear operation last week and have spent a few days lying about, drugged on codeine, while I get better. I was only in the hospital for one night which was a good thing for many reasons, among them the appalling food. I wished I’d taken my camera so I could share, but I’m sure you have your own memories.

I can’t believe that people are expected to get well on a mound of industrial “coleslaw” and a mound of industrial “potato salad”, identically dressed and served with a slice of pressed ham-like substance, powdery tomatoes and some cucumber. It made me go all Jamie Oliver.

Also, how can cold toast in the morning be sustaining, let alone healing? It’s just stupid to give people toast that will inevitably be cold when it gets to them. Give them a little bread roll. There was no thought or care apparent in the food, none.

20 comments ↓

#1 Crit on 30.08.08 at 3:44 pm

The same thoughts struck me a couple of months ago when I was at the birth centre. We stayed long enough to eat a couple of meals, which were thoroughly unremarkable, and not particularly healthy. QEII was a similar deal, they get their food delivered from somewhere unimaginative. At least they have fresh fruit!

#2 kate on 30.08.08 at 5:10 pm

When I was in the birth centre my breakfast went missing before I could get to it. It was Christmas Day, so the cafeteria was closed, as was every cafe in the nearby shopping strip. Fortunately I had family come visit and bring me a picnic (and a coffee plunger).

When my sister had leukaemia we had a roster of family take her lunch and dinner every day. You can’t possibly get better eating rubbish.

#3 Kate on 30.08.08 at 5:40 pm

I was in hospital two weeks ago (emergency, where you don’t get food, or at least I didn’t) and I can say there wasn’t much thought or care apparent in much that happened in my two separate admissions. Sure, they sorted out what was wrong with me… on visit two, after discharging me undiagnosed on the first visit, but the whole experience was uniformly awful.

Anyhoo, back to food, and the husband had to go a very long way to get anything to eat while he was waiting for me to be treated, and even then all he could find was an iced coffee and a kitkat.

#4 Laura on 30.08.08 at 6:24 pm

Toast, yeah, wtf?

I hope your ear’s better.

#5 Zoe on 30.08.08 at 6:41 pm

Why have fresh fruit, Crit, when you can have a mound of canned sweetness? A further abomination was the bottled water. I asked for my bottle to be refilled (I couldn’t get out of bed to do it myself at that stage) and the nurse said he’d refill it from the filter they had. There’s a wtf.

kate, that roster is a very clever idea, both so your sister actually got some nourishment and so people have a practical way to help. People like to help, and food is such a great way to do it.

Kate, there is always a fridge somewhere with an egg sandwich in it. Even emergency.

Laura - thanks, it’s very much on the mend. I don’t know when they started letting teenage hipsters do operations on people, but apparently this one had some idea of what he was doing.

#6 ampersand duck on 30.08.08 at 7:27 pm

Last time my aged friend was in hostipal (sic) (heh) her family organised a roster of feeders. I seriously think it’s why she’s still alive to tell the tale. You just cannot get well on that crap.

Luckily you has a mound of avocadoes to play with, as do I :)

#7 Zoe on 30.08.08 at 8:24 pm

Oh, yeah. &Duck and I have just taken delivery of bulk avocados from our friend Steevie, on a flying visit from his new home in Northern NSW where he has been busy building a chook mahal –

chook mahal

#8 The Devil Drink on 30.08.08 at 11:40 pm

Codeine, sweet. Or dry?
On cold toast; it’s haraam unless it comes thinly cut like a biscuit, with caviar or roe, peppered vodka, a sauna, Volvo keys in a bowl and a pneumatic colleague carrying nothing a birch brush and a cruel acerbic smile.

#9 another outspoken female on 31.08.08 at 8:56 am

Thus far have been lucky to not every have done time on a ward but I did work in a hospital for a while and even the smell of the staff canteen made me wretch by the end of the first week – and we got the good stuff! Bringing real food in is the only way to go. Or perhaps the awful food is the way the government is trying to get people to take up private health insurance (would you like a bottle or red or white with your meal madam? Sheesh as if alcohol is going to speed your healing process!)

#10 The Devil Drink on 31.08.08 at 8:03 pm

I’m not sure what you’re trying to say, outspoken female.

#11 Fyodor on 01.09.08 at 8:41 am

Devil Dude, I think she’s trying to say that the staff get warm toast. More to the point, I thought the usual solution to the cold toast conundrum was to pour warm baked beans, preferably ham-flavoured, on top.

Re: #8, manahmanah.

#12 Mindy on 01.09.08 at 11:21 am

Nope, had two babies in private hospitals and the food still sucked.

Will not be showing Madge and Beryl the ‘chook mahal’ of Steevie’s. They might decide that their Harry Seidler inspired chook house isn’t good enough. They’d probably want to rush of into all that lush green grass too.

#13 The Devil Drink on 01.09.08 at 11:47 am

Warm baked beans as recommended by Dr Shane Warne? You could do worse than take the sheik’s medical advice. Mind you he’ll probably just refer you to his mum for some pills.
On alcohol’s healing properties, don’t take my word for it, take Paul’s in 1 Timothy 5:23.

#14 Helen on 01.09.08 at 12:30 pm

Zoe, glad to hear you’re OK.
LOL 1: You go into hospital for surgery and what do you blog about? the food.
LOL 2: The doctors have started looking like teenage hipsters: you know what that means!

One thing my sister in law said she liked the most when she was hospitalised was a plastic container with cut-up chunks of watermelon, honeydew, canteloupe, strawberries and a couple of other things, to be consumed when peckish.

#15 dylwah on 01.09.08 at 1:13 pm

Get well soon Zoe.

I’d say that Hospital food is the pits, but it is prob all so artifishal, that it has never been near a seed, so i gues that i’ll just say that it sucks. perhaps it is time for gurilla cooks to assault our hospitals with tureens of gently simmering chicken soup, crusty bread and jam and treacle roll.

#16 FDB on 01.09.08 at 2:27 pm

They should just hook up with the same caterers who do aeroplane food.

That a place designed to bring health, with massive professional kitchens on-site, can do a worse job than a chunk of aluminium hurtling through the sky staffed with out-of-work actors, is beyond a joke.

#17 Pavlov's Cat on 01.09.08 at 8:04 pm

Without going into too much detail I should think that if one has been immobilised in a hospital bed for more than two or three days, warm baked beans might not be such a bad thing.

Many years ago when I was living in Melbourne I spent six days in a Jewish hospital, courtesy of my semi-Orthodox surgeon, where it was kosher or nothing. It was spartan and boring but it was also very fresh and healthy.

Re healing on alcohol, I dunno, I think the soul smiles on a nice glass of red at the end of a hospital day. Not all healing is for the body.

#18 Emily on 03.09.08 at 7:04 am

I’m living in London at the minute and had a 2 night stay in hospital a while back. The food was beyond bad. Cold hot chips, dried up fish pieces, cold peas etc. My husband had to bring me red-cross packages ;)

Worse, one nurse said to the patient next to me that, if she didn’t like the food, put more salt on it!

Even worse, I’m sure the 3 old women on the ward didn’t eat at all because there weren’t any nurses to help. God it was heart breaking.

Healthcare’s free here, but still….

#19 Zoe on 04.09.08 at 9:01 pm

Helen, it’s a bit tragic on both fronts, isn’t it?

FDB, it is beyond a joke, and Emily‘s story is worse. The disappeared gobbler post about aged care I mentioned had some really horrible comments in a similar vein – older or infirm people having their nourishment neglected. And the poor nurses are run off their feet as it is. And Emily, it’s not “free”, we pay through the taxation system as we’re able.

Pav, I wasn’t in hospital long enough to get on the sauce, but I have had a small glass with dinner on a couple of nights. My soul smiled! It did!

#20 kate on 08.09.08 at 9:29 am

Don’t dismiss the hospital staff’s water filter. When I worked in a hospital the taps in our office kitchenette had big signs advising us not to drink the water. It had been tested and found unacceptable (as The Nanny says). So we had a delivery every coupla weeks of those big bottles.

I also got a rather bad bout of food poisoning from my lunch from the canteen one day. Always take a packed lunch if you work in health.

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