Psst... We're working on the next generation of Chowhound! View >
HOME > Chowhound > Home Cooking >
Oct 24, 2006 05:21 AM

Food that can stay at room temperature in, say, a hospital room?

My cousin was badly injured in a fire and will be in the hospital for a month. His wife and daughters are keeping constant vigil (a doctor friend loaned them his studio apartment across from the hospital, but they use it for storage and showering, preferring to sleep in the hospital room).

They've been eating like crap. I brought hot food tonight, and I will continue to do so, but I'd like to bring them something that they can eat in the room (there aren't restrictions on eating in the room, just on what my cousin can eat) so that they can have more than one square meal a day.

What can I bring that can stay in a hospital room for a day or two without becoming a festering pile of bacterial sludge? I have a (very) small cooler and enough blue ice to keep it cool for a day or two, but I'd like things that are grab-and-go, because the microwave is literally a quarter-mile hike from the room.

Healthier than fast-food would be the watchword here... they're so over Wendy's, In-N-Out and Zankou.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
  1. I am really sorry to hear about your cousin, I hope he gets better quick.

    how about kimbap? It's like sushi, but its not usually served with raw fish, instead it's made with carrots, omelette, spinach, maybe imitation crab or bulgogi, or spam. You could make it vegetarian style. I would definitely not eat it after a day though....even a day is pushing it. How about using a thermos and filling it up with some soup? My mother brought one to me when I was in the hospital and it stayed warm even after a few hours.

    sandwiches would also be good to w/fresh veggies. Although I would pack everything separately: vegetables, condiment, and bread.

    1. My first thought was Middle Eastern, since lots of it is served room temperature. Things like spanikopita, hummus (with crackers and carrot and celery sticks to dip into it), greek salad, stuff like that. I think that pasta with pesto and vegetables is great cold or room temp, you could toss in tomatoes, diced chicken, etc.

      1. In addition to the hot meal you'll be providing, how about hard salami, olives, tasty mustard, a basket with a few nice pieces of fruit and some tomatoes, cucumbers, whatever, that you'll replenish as needed. Crackers. Many cheeses will be alright in a cooler for a while.
        Bring a small, nice bread with you each day and they can put together something tasty anytime.
        Also, you could leave a small board or something to cut on and something to cut bread, cheese, fruit. One tiny "food station" (a box, basket...) stocked with essentials like a good knife will make a big difference. I've done a bit of hospital time, a month is a very long time to live like that.
        Oh, nutella? Good snack anytime and ought to make hospital coffee go down a bit easier.

        Really very sorry about your cousin. You're good to help out in this way. There is nothing like a home cooked meal to look forward to at a time like this. It will make a big difference to them.

        - back to add: veggies cut up and ready to eat will be alright in ziplocs in a cooler for a while. Hospitals aren't always so good in the fresh veg dept. so that'd be a nice thing to get.

        1. I would give them a gift of a cooler. Hospitals always have ice machines around so they can keep it filled. Then they can eat anything that is cold. Also, many hopsitals have a small family kitchen too in the units, usually a microwave is available. As long as there is ice in a cooler, the food is staying sufficiently cold. Then one can stock with cheese, yogurt, salads like cous cous, meat for sandwiches...

          I would absolutely advocate for cut up veggies. For instance, sliced bell peppers and hummus or good baba ganoush (mmmm). Some pita or even pita chips are great. Really fresh whole fruit is also great.

          Culprits of food poisoning are most often seafood, poultry, things that have been frozen then improperly thawed, previously cooked rice and pasta, and sometimes eggs, unless thoroughly cooked first.

          1. I agree with the above suggestions for a variety of cheese, crackers, fruit, praps hard salami, bag of crudites...
            It might also be worth investing in a plug-in kettle (if the hospital will allow it in the room) and buying some high-end instant soup and/or ramen packs to have on hand as well as various kinds of tea and maybe instant coffee if they don't mind it. It'll save money and trips.

            Best wishes for your cousin's speedy recovery.