Tuesday, 1 September 2009

Prison food is better than this... it's official!

Please believe me when I say how sorry I am for returning to the subject of food quite so soon. However, I have a feeling this is going to be a recurring theme since mealtimes in hospital are a bit of a high point. No, seriously! You lie here all day listening to the sounds of wonky trolleys being wheeled up and down the corridor while you stare at the blank screen of a TV that doesn’t work and naturally your thoughts turn to food.

Well, yesterday’s offering plumbed new depths of culinary ineptitude. The macaroni cheese could have doubled as wallpaper paste. You could have slapped a splattering of the stuff on to a pair of white overalls, stuck them on the underside of a plane and then zipped a man into them before taking off for a spin and a couple of loop-the-loops – just like the old Solvite TV ad.

The peas were so very nearly right, though. Good colour, less hard than yesterday but stone cold. And as for the potato… let’s not even go there. However, my opprobrium is reserved for the treacle suet pudding and custard. I don’t know whether the chef used an industrial hardener or simply drove out the moisture with a flamethrower but it was the most inedible lump of carbohydrate ever to be passed off as a dessert. To add insult to injury, the spoon it was served with still had traces of the last user in the form of dried concentric rings of some liquid that appeared etched into it. Yum!

As my friend Jonny rightly points out, someone is making a huge profit out of this scandal. The hospital’s food is produced somewhere in Wales and then packed, allegedly, by prisoners before being shipped out to the hospital to be warmed up at a later date. The caterer happens to have its fingers in penitentiary pies as well as providing food for sick people. Serious money is being made and no one is challenging the company on the appalling quality of its service.

Think I’m exaggerating… think again! A team of researchers and Bournemouth University (yes, I know) discovered that the quality of prison food was better than that served up in NHS hospitals. In reply, some overpaid NHS executive claimed the overwhelming majority of NHS patients were happy with their food. I wonder where he did his survey... the hospital mortuary?

Read more on the report here at BBC News


  1. Dont eat the mararonni, you will never be able to carry on whistle blowing, your lips will be stuck together.


  2. The picture with the chips and peas looks like battered penis.

  3. I was in hospital recently and my family brought food in for me. The only meal I had before this kicked in was 'fish and potato pie'. I was asked if I would like potato with it and when I declined, was then asked if I'd like gravy with it! As a by the by, I heard the woman serving breakfast tell someone that there are patients in the men's ward who don't know what to do with a piece of toast, some butter and a knife!

  4. Hospital patients are notorious for saying 'everything's been great!' when it hasn't. Plenty of papers have been written about that - something to do with not wanting to risk annoying people whose decisions determine if you live or die. This blog being anonymous is a case-in-point.

  5. Mate, I think you are doing quite well by Australian (NSW Public Health) hospital food. My wife's grandmother has recently been in a public ward and I wish we had taken photos of some of the gruel she was presented with. And most of it for some reason was green in colour?!? Yes, fresh fruit was offered - the only time she accepted 2 mandarins 1 was rotten and the other was impossible to peel (how they did that to a mandarin we are not quite sure - maybe some nuclear medicine experiment?!). My wife believes that the hospital catering group has actually invented a sixth food group - progrein?? Honestly, I'm comparing the presentation of the food you are getting and (as far fetched as it may seem) it looks better!! I just hope that London Area Health doesn't find out about this post!

  6. Singapore should be added to the list of 'Good' hospital food. Spent 1 week in the hospital due to a fracture of the lower leg; metal implants etc. I would demand any visitors coming to buy something from Deli-France. Refused to eat the hospital food. it looked like hard protein shake with.....interesting flavours

    hope you get better soon

  7. I laughed so much you made me cry

  8. My favourite hospital food experience was being served one boiled egg, still in it's shell on a red hot dinner plate and watching it roll around the rim of the plate, alone and unloved!

  9. Dear TractionMan,
    I thought I'd share my story to maybe cheer you up :
    I went in to my Provincial Hospital (Cape Town - South Africa) to have a brain tumor removed, here's how my food was :

    2 slices brown bread (hard, dry, stale), a small bowl of cold porridge (nice thick skin on the top) ,airline plastic pate of jam, tepid 'tea' (only similarity is the colour - no taste).

    Lunch -
    Usually brown 'stew' (spot the meat, generic taste for all varieties, gristle and chewy bits mandatory), vegies (like McCain Mix, but the industrial version, colour from pale to anemic), sometimes a second vegie(see above) or some form of potatoes(from your Blog, I'd say comparable).
    All of this could be served close together on a side-plate really.

    Dinner -
    Small bowl of 'soup'(cold, thick sludge; like concentrate without water added, 3 flavors - all best left alone), plate of lunch, tepid cup of coffee (same colour, no taste).

    I should also mention that there is no salt and that all the utensils are thick, scratched plastic.

    Any appointments with your doctor are made for meal times to make sure that should you be lucky enough to get warmish food - it will be ice cold when you return.

    The temperature issue is explained by the fact that I was on the 4th floor, while the kitchens are on the lower-ground level. We can assume that the food may have been somewhere near hot when they placed it in the metal trolley's which are then wheeled to the lifts (intermittently working - may be haunted / possessed), then wheeled from the foyer of the floor, down the ward passage, opened at the first room and then slowly wheeled down the passage - while open - servicing each room / ward.

    Please don't feel alone - I had the same bed / room waiting and swapping issues.