On Dining

First, full disclosure—I am not actually a restaurant critic. My credentials are limited to the fact that I have, in fact, eaten for 74 years and can distinguish food that brings me joy and pleasure from that which is rancid or toxic.

Having said that, I feel compelled to disclose my recent unexpected experience with hospital food. I was very recently in one of our five-star local hospitals for two days, and for two meals, I was treated to the same menu of the following: surprisingly tasty, clear broth with just the right amount of salt, Jell-O a la orange, blanched snow cone sans artificial color or flavoring, and a five-calorie cranberry juice, boxed just right.

Now, I realize that this menu may not sound particularly appetizing to some of you, but I believe that with just the right ingredients, proper presentation and rapid delivery, a mediocre meal can be elevated to a level of grandeur. After surgery I needed to heal, and with these meals, I rapidly could perceive renewed strength and energy.

Now, I am not advocating going out of your way for in-hospital dining, especially given the plethora of dining options available in our little village, but the next time you pass by one of our local hospitals, don’t just think of doctors, nurses and life-saving procedures. Think of potential gustatory exhilaration.

Barry Ludwig, MD

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