Arnt Gulbrandsen
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2014-01-19

In Hospital

As chance would have it, my favourite magazine Petits Propos Culinaires published an article on French hospital food in the same week that I went to hospital in Germany. The author was thrilled to receive an emissary from the chef who asked what she liked and what not, and told her that dinner would be soup followed by an omelette, salad and afterwards an apple doughnut.

In the event, the omelette had the consistency of a hard-boiled egg and was wrapped in cling film, etc.

Now I'm in a German hospital, and guess what, food is ordered using ugly machine-readable forms. There are three options for main dish each day, with two options for salad on the side. Today's salads are beef salad and salad with beef. I cannot investigate the difference (I am not not permitted to eat salad), but perhaps that's a feature.

Instead of beefy salads, they serve me pork, potatoes and a sauce apparently made from carrots, flour and monosodium glutamate. The pork yesterday had been butchered twice, that today had also been shredded to hide the evidence.

Fine French menu here, ugly German menu there, the food is the same. I take this to mean that large organisations will grow to act like each other where it matters. Only appearance will differ.