Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Where to Eat Whilst Your Manly Heir is Being Borned: Part 2, Just Eat Your Wife's Hospital Food

I have a thing for institutional food, don't know why. I always got a kick out of AirlineMeals.Net and I once actually tracked down the USDA recipe for school lunch Spaghetti with Meat Sauce (you can browse this and others here) as it was always one of my favorites. So I felt a little guilty that I was kind of looking forward to arrival of those paper doily-ed, plastic tray-ed, meals that would be arriving during my wife's stay at St. Peters.

You might have read my "Meals that Define a Life Post" concerning the first bread broken by my wife, Giblet (my darling daughter), and I. That time the hospital meal showed up about an hour after we had left the recovery room. It made us laugh as food was the last thing on my wife's mind at that moment, I took it as an omen and made a point of eating the lion's share of it. This time meals began arriving a sensible time after the coming of Mr. Dave Jr.

This is more of a pictorial review as I find some sort of strange beauty in your work-a-day institutional meal. There is an od zen, everything in its own place and portion. Most of the food is fairly straight forward anyhow, nothing really surprising. I feel that looking at the pictures you can probably imagine what they would have tasted like.

As an aside, much cajoling would not induce my wife to eat much of anything. She is notoriously picky anyways, and she was afflicted by a bit of post-partum nausea. I got her tea and soup from various provisioners over the course of her stay at St. Peter's.

I will hit the high notes (there weren't that many) but will primarily be rating the meals on how bad they made the room stink (on a scale of one to five) as this was what my wife squalled about the most. It was pretty funny watching her nose purse up by varying degrees according to the contents of the tray.

1) (at the top) Ham with scalloped tatties, mixed veg, pound cake wit' berries, tea, chicky soup. Scalloped tatties unbearably bland, drank the tea, Giblet really liked the berries. Room Stinky-ness Factor: 2.5

2) (above) Baked chicken, pasta "primavera" (I guess), broccoli, wee salad, ginger beer, vanilla ice cream cup. Yum, ice cream cup.... Liked the Italian dressing in the ketchup packet thingy, pasta primavera gook had that weird canned vegetable water taste. Room Reek Factor: 5+ (broccoli tips the scale)

3) Hot cakes, scrambly eggs, grits, fruit cup, coffee/milk/juice (3 bevies? I can't live at that spead). The hot cakes had a surprising bit of crusty goodness to them but the grits were an insult to the word grits (I love grits). Room Stench: 1.5 (eggs had a bit of stink, not bad all together)

4) Grilled cheese, mashed tatties, fruit cup, tomato soup, ginger beer. How can you go wrong with grilled cheese and tomato soup? By adding mashed potatoes with gravy, that's how (unnecessary).  Room Odor: 0 (pleased the Missus)

5) Baked chick., corms, mashed taters (chicken gravy), vanilla pudding (!), chicken soup, ginger beer. Three forms of chicken (meat, gravy, soup)... However, vanilla pudding!!! Weee!!! Room Stink: 2 (strange canned soup smell)

6) Chicken Ceasar salad, appy sauce, chicken soup, ginger beer. Passable salad, dressing was pretty good but chicken was a lil' bit slimy. Chicken soup same as previous incarnations, starting to think that the hospital has an alliance with the chicken rackets. El Stencho: 2 (as previous, soup stank)

7) Beef stew, biscuit, wee salad, fruit cocktail, tea. Beef stew not bad in a comforting sort of way. Tea, as always, lifts the soul in any form. Reek Rating: 5++ (beef stew? I checked my daughters dappy)

8) Pain perdu, orange slice, oatmeal, fruit, beverage trio. French toast not bad actually. Oatmeal strangely thin, as if put through a blender. Room Stink: Nil (neutral)

So that is that, I think I missed a couple of meals but you get the gist. Overall, I have had much worse when it comes to this genre of food. The commissary staff at St. Peter's are unimpeachably attentive and friendly and will pretty much prepare anything you want within their understandable limitations. We did not make any special requests as the wife and I knew that she would not be consuming much of the offerings. We abhor wasting food, but the hospital (by policy) insisted on bringing us the meals. This is said lest you think that I was stealing food out of the mouth of a lady who recently gave birth...

Anyhow, a couple more posts in this series I think. I found an interesting watering hole, and I have a few other thoughts...

By the way, did anyone notice that the weather was near perfect around 4:00 PM today (in Bethlehem)? I was pushing Giblet in her stroller and it could not have been more beautiful of a day.
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