Saturday, 19 September 2009

Hungarian uprising

Today's lunch has a central European theme. It's supposed to be Hungarian Goulash. I've always imagined this to be a hearty dish of meat suitable for someone who has been working hard in the fields all day. As I'm not working in a field, the hospital has thoughtfully modified the recipe for me. Can you count the lumps of gristle meat?

I decided not to partake in the uprising since in this case it was an uprising of bile in my throat. Fortunately my lovely wife arrived for her weekly visit and brought smoked salmon, cream cheese and freshly baked bagels with black pepper and lemon. Miraculously my appetite returned. Who'd have thought it?

Which would you prefer?


  1. It's tough, but I'll go for the Salmon.

    It sounds delicious!!

  2. That's actually a tough one, as I hate salmon... but I'd take the bagel over the Horse Meatballs, any day! Thank God for visitors.

  3. Thank good for Mrs TM. Salmon made by mouth water.

  4. the hospital slop looks suspiciously like yesterdays dog vomit but with the addition of a gristle ball.....

  5. Hello Traction Man, another visitor from Downunder stopping by to add my best wishes and support.
    I'm absolutely stunned by the lack of nutritional value and balance in the array of meals you are photographing! Has there been a single vegetable (bar potatoes) that hasn't been boiled to a pulp on any of those plates?
    Some of the hospitals I have visited in Australia have meals that would not be out of place in a 4 star restaurant. Even the worst of them offer salad and fruit. This slop you are being served is shocking! Who wants to eat something that looks like it belongs to the dog? In fact, some of them look like they were already EATEN by the dog.
    I'll take the salmon, thanks. Bon Appetit!
    Kerrie from Melbourne

  6. Hello, I just read an article about you in The Age (Australian newspaper). As someone who has been stuck in hospital a few times I can relate wholeheartedly and I think you are doing an amazing job of staying cheery through a horrible ordeal. The people who are writing negative comments to you are obviously completely devoid of empathy - good luck to them if they ever end up in the same position! Gees, the boredom & utter lack of control of being in hospital, nothing quite like it.

    I ended up getting food brought in by family as much as I could or just surviving on salads. I would suggest to take Vit D, you don't get enough sun in those places.

    You poor thing, I wish you the speediest of recoveries!

    Andrea in Melbourne, Australia.

  7. I haven't laughed so much in ages. This blog is priceless and should be made into a film. The writing is brilliant; witty, pithy, hilarious and downright honest. I just hope that 'Traction Man' doesn't get rumbled and is allowed to carry on writing until he is well enough to leave the hospital and get some decent food (if malnutrition doesn't take him first!). PS Big thumbs up to the nurses who know who he is, but don't give the game away!!

  8. This food actually looks quite delicious

  9. I would go for the salmon but I'd eat the first one before it and have it as a nice afters. You need all the energy you can get in hospital.

  10. The missus has done a few spells in hospital over the last couple of years, and she has never been able to touch the food down here. I had 9 years of boarding school and 7 years in the infantry, so I've had to put up with some pretty dodgy food in some rough places, but I couldn't stomach the slop served up in our public hospitals. Even though the missus is vegetarian and a bit of a health nazi, she was ecstatic when I brought her McDonalds. She was in danger of losing so much weight, it was clear she was going to come out sicker than she went in. You know things are bad when vegetarians are eating McDonalds for the nutritional intake.

  11. No youre joking a vegetarian eating Mcdos? Christ on a crutch...

  12. looks as though they dredged this up from the toilet - have you got any gastroenterology patients there? I definitley would opt for the smoked salmon,hope your wife has brought in something for you to eat later as well.

  13. Dear Traction Man
    May I call you TM? So anyway, TM, I share your pain, but you’re on your own with the lunch thing…
    Greetings from Beirut, Lebanon, where the men are men and the __(fill in the blanks)
    TM, please read my blog because I would like to link you to my site and hopefully you will agree to this virtual reciprocity
    My site is: (obviously, YOU will know
    how to pronounce this, but some people (and I’m not naming my American neighbours) have been known to call it ‘hedge’. Like…..duh?
    Do Get better as we say in English, for want of a
    Get Better’ phrase ..
    Helga Hewston

  14. Still reckon they're trying to feed you offcuts from the operating theatres. That bagel looks good, hope you enjoyed it. Looking forward to your next post (if not your next "meal"). Cheers!

  15. There's no contest. The bagel, cream cheese and smoked salmon wins every time.

    I just hope that your sense of humour gets you through this ordeal, and that someone in a position of authority does something about the standard of food in the hospital that you are in. How is a person supposed to get well on such unappetising muck?

    Best wishes,


    PS. I know that a few people have found you after I posted a link to your blog on my blog roll.

  16. How about this idea? You go into hospital and either endure the food or get your friends and family to bring in bagels and smoked salmon, or there is an option on the menu where you can choose to upgrade but pay. Given that when we're in hospital we're not buying food for home, maybe there's some spare change to buy better food than the slop currently being served "free". It's been mentioned that hospital canteens produce better food than that which is served to the patients, so why don't they offer a takeout service.
    And here's something to make you smile: in America last month I bought a ready-made: beef au jus. The instructions told me to "pour the au jus over the meat" before serving.

  17. I've been in hospital in Scotland on two occasions (a week and 2 weeks respectively) in the last year or so. The food looks very similar. I had 'Harvest pie' one day. None of the nurses had a clue what it was but it was vegetarian so I had a bash. 2 slabs of brownish biscuity pastry with grey paste and one carrot,2 peas, a green bean and one bit of sweetcorn - served with wet microchips (how do they get them wet? Do they wash them?) best of luck mate

  18. it NHS irony serving food from Hung(a)ry?

  19. TM, I feel your pain mate, thank {insert Deity here} your wife can come to the rescue, just as mine did the one time I fell into the clutches of the NHS, I remember it like it was yesterday .... (wavy fade effect to flashback) .... 1997, 4 night stay for an inner ear op, wife phoned after the first night to ask if I needed anything when she visited, my response? "FOOD!"

    Bless her, she arrived with the picnic cooler box and produced a whole garlic roast chicken, full salad, fresh crusty rolls, half a cheesecake and a flask of freshly brewed Columbian (coffee, not the white stuff!). I made a lot of friends that night, including on the nursing staff, yes indeedy!

    How the f**k do they expect anyone to recuperate when they're having to choke down what looks like the leftovers from a liposuction op?

    Open comment for any NHS policy makers: sack all the bed managers, diversity managers, customer relations operatives and the rest of the non-jobs. With the money saved bring back Hattie Jacques style matrons and in-house cooking staff who can do more than chuck a shrink-wrapped blob into a microwave. Results - clean wards=minimal post-operative infections, properly nourished patients=quicker recuperation, bed turnover increased and a healthier population, seemples!

    I would say get well soon TM, but when that happens you'll be out and we'll lose this blog, so ...... stay (un)sane.

  20. You poor guy...jeesh, do you really only get one decent meal a week? Can you order take-out/delivery?

    Get well soon.

  21. I grew up on Hungarian Goulash and that is not in anyway even a poor imitation of the dish. I think it may be Hugarian Ghoulash. What ever you do, don't leave the plate in your room after dark. They say the bed is empty cause the patient was discharged. But how do you know that is the truth?


  22. lol

    the first one looks like it was made for Klingons! =D

    that really should be an european meal??
    'cause i am from europe and never saw something like it!

  23. what is the yellow thing on your plate? Broccoli gone wrong?

  24. Words fail me. My sympathy for you just keeps going up, as it does for those poor nurses who are so loyally keeping quiet on your behalf whilst handling the complaints from ALL the other patients suffering alongside you. Brave souls, indeed.

  25. Oh jesus is all I can say to that dish, thankfully your lovely wife brought u up that lovely bagel

  26. That , in no way is Hungarian goulash, who are they trying to kid.

    Another unhealthy meal. If that is a meatball I presume it is a pork one.

    For every 750 grams of pork you add 4 grams of FAT, add to it 3 ounces of fresh bread crumbs and a raw egg and mix well, this is the avarage mix for meatballs and sausage meat.

    Ok , one measly meatball won`t kill you, but all the fat during cooking goes into the gravy, I dispair at the unhealthyness in food now.