Friday, 6 November 2009

Just what was I thinking?

I don't know if it was the last traces of the anaesthetic or the effect of the painkillers but I can't explain what possessed me to tick the boxes on this evening's menu for tomato and herb quiche, peas, and mashed swede. Swede is known as rutabaga in some countries so I wouldn't want any readers to think that the hospital was serving Scandinavians who'd been crushed by a Volvo... even if some of the meals served here do look as if they could be. Allow me to guide you through the courses of this evening's repast:

The soup du jour was the not unpleasing Spring Vegetable Soup. However, since we are now in November, I have an inkling that this may not have been freshly made. No matter. I remembered to wipe the spoon off once I'd finished as one only gets the one spoon to use for the soup and dessert courses. Forgetting to clean the spoon can bring a different taste to the first couple of mouthfuls of one's pudding, but that's not necessarily a bad thing depending on the unpleasantness of the dessert.

I could have ordered Cottage Pie for my main course (but frankly I've had more than enough cottage pies to build an entire Cotswold village since I've been here). I could have opted for the Egg Mayonnaise & Cress sandwich or the Red Leicester Ploughman's. For our overseas readers, I must explain that a ploughman's is short for ploughman's lunch. The origins of this venerable rustic English fayre appears to date back at least to the 1960s, when the Milk Marketing Board promoted the meal nationally to boost sales of cheese. It involves cheese, bread and pickle/relish and is usually to be avoided. So I chose the only other thing on the menu: Herb & Tomato Quiche.

Lovingly described as 'shortcrust pastry filled with egg custard, tomatoes and herbs'. You see how the NHS can put custard in almost anything? It was not pleasant, the crust was as hard and as thick as a nightclub bouncer. But to be honest, I'm very bad and far too fussy when it comes to quiche. The fault for not eating it must rest with me and my wife for making such an admirable quiche.

Given my history with swede I cannot for one moment imagine what flight of madness induced me to tick the box for this and the garden peas. I've eaten more peas since I've been here than Bird's Eye can harvest. And as for the mashed swede, eating it is like trying to swallow pulped garden mulch. This stuff is lethal and should be placed on the Class A list of banned substances. If you see any mashed swede, do not attempt  to approach it. Simply dial the emergency services and tell them there has been a chemical spillage. They'll know what to do.

Finally, our little gastronomic tour must come to an end with dessert: Spiced Fruit Pudding & Custard. The NHS custard mountain must surely be diminishing by now. I'm not really sure how to describe spiced fruit pudding but the nearest I can manage is a cinnamon flavoured dry sponge with the odd raisin or sultana supplanted within. There's also a slight aroma of wet dog about it that really makes it most unpleasant on the palate. Once again I should have opted for the low-calorie, non-dairy, peach yogurt with gelatin and added probiotics. How stupid am I?


  1. Sarah - London said...
    Good evening ETM - your supper is indeed truly gross! 

But I am still on a high from a previous post when you state "Sarah is right" - now please e-mail the husband and let him know where he is constantly going wrong.

As to this evening's choices - yep you have been a little stoopid .........

Hey - tough love!

Cats' Mother

  2. Plato said...
    Urgh - that main course looks so dry and tasteless.

My sympathies.

  3. Dinner doesn't look too great. Your write-up however, was very entertaining. I've missed your last few posts as I've been on my hols but I'll check out what I've missed later. It may not have been wise to tick the box for quiche but you'll know next time that there was a reason you kept choosing the cottage pie!

  4. anything with a pastry in hospital is lethal.

  5. Swede is known as turnip in Scotland. As a child growing up there, at Hallow'een, we used to hollow them out, carve them into lanterns and place a candle inside. The smell was unbelievable! It is still the most sensible use I know for the swede/rutabaga/turnip.

    Sorry about your dinner; that quiche looks truly horrendous.


  6. EEwwww..... Swamp soup....pre- pubesent egg nog pie and if you tilt your head to the right , you can see shapes of faces smiling on the dessert.... or is it a piece of old foam from a visitors seat in the waiting room cleverly disguised with the yellow bile ?


  7. I needed a good laugh tonight after a day of work, and you have certainly given me something to laugh at tonight! Hope Mrs Non traction man brings in some decent offerings tomorrow

  8. Many thanks for the little gastronomic tour. We had Chicken Kievs (properly nice from Waitrose) with stir fry (including a few peas but plenty of other veg!) and rice. I wonder why rice hardly ever features on the menu? Too difficult to get right? Or are the dishes it comes with just too unappetising?

  9. There is rice on offer but usually comes with mushroom stroganoff. Frankly I'd rather have plutonium porridge on my basmati than I would that vile concoction!

  10. well at least your ambulatory. any chance of making a break for the cafeteria ?

    and happy to hear your getting better at least you will be home for christmas .


  11. When I said mobile I mean about a dozen steps in extreme pain on a Zimmer frame. I think the cafeteria downstairs is going to be a while away yet. It is pure agony but I'm hoping it will get easier.

  12. TM!

    :D I'm one of those American Housewives who decided to breed at 40 years of age. This left me 3 years post-birth at an odd sort of crossroads; what the hell to do with the rest of my life?! I'm simplying here but millions of American women suffer from this sort of thing.

    After years of fertility treatments that we decide to end as we're still not pregnant and to hell with any more probing and poking that will settle for life without a little scamp. Then suddenly after we've given up we wake to find that after spending thousands of dollars to try to trick a pregnancy into reality we've gotten ourselves pregnant the good old fashioned way! In any event we go through a fantasy state of existence for nine full months, telling ourselves we don't mind how long the damn pregnancy is since we found out so early and we will appreciate every moment of it as the Gods blessed us with this Very Special Miracle That Wasn't Supposed to Occur. Baby is born. Baby is perfect. Life settles down.

    Suddenly we are not a good looking cute 40 any longer. We're 44 and tired as hell. We could go back to work but we've no earning potential, don't want to work for idiots half our age and sort of like having so much free time.

    We acquire hobbies and passtimes in the interim diving the days we were trying to be Mommies and the current calander month that shows we've been a Mommy for a few years...

    One of mine is learning about the day to day lives of those who live in other countries. At times I have days about as appealing as the meals you've served to you. That endless string of cake-like stuff floating in yellow slime is akin to my dashing up and down the basement stairs to perform the task of laundress. Those thousands of peas? Those are the odd little dust bunnies that float over our hardwood- a gift from the New Area Rug Gods and Pottery Barn.

    Today when I learned about the Ploughman's, I felt I'm certain quite the way you do when you sweet wife shows up with that salmon bagel for you. My day made sense, something made me smile beside my adorable boy saying something incredible for his 3 years. For a moment I felt like a world traveler!

    So thank you!

    And mend quickly!


  13. They really must order that custard stuff in vats.

  14. Can I speak up in defense of the Ploughman's? When taken with home-made crusty bread, a slab of locally made cheese and home-made chutney it's not half bad, especially if taken with a pint of local brew in front of a blazing pub log fire after a bracing walk.
    I do realise that the NHS version probably comes with stale bread and hygienically wrapped cheese (not even mentioning the beer and the log fire), but I would hate to put your foreign readers off a Ploughman's.

  15. A point well made and I agree. But NHS ploughman's! Yuk

  16. Hi XTM! I think you have already told me how they make non-dairy "yoghurt" out of some plants, but still I cannot understand it! What's so difficult about offering plain white yoghurt, without colourings or flavourings added?
    I'm glad you had Ms. XTM arrive at your bedside with food that you like!! Best wishes from Styria! Barbara