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hospital food in france

  • Monica Nov 16, 2013 04:33 AM
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It can't be as bad as hospital food in US, right??? French must serve it with a glass of house wine instead of that horrible beef broth or fake orange juice.

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  1. probably as good (with dietary and health restriction) as school food.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Maximilien

      Yes, when I was in the Clinique St George in NIce, the enterprise that prepared the quite good food also did meals for schools (and the prison.)

    2. Actually, hospital food in France is generally quite good -- since by definition you're in the hospital, drug interactions typically preclude a glass of wine, but it's served with mineral water or juice, depending on dietary restrictions.

      But they don't stop eating well just because they're unwell. A small salad, fruit, yogurt, a hunk of fresh baguette, and a wedge of cheese accompany most meals.

      1. I think it varies by hospital and illness. My single experience in Paris was a hospital-mandated overnight after hip-relocation. My fabulous male nurse offered me some potato-leek soup at mid-night. It was lukewarm but tasted divine, probably since it was my first food in 12 hours. Breakfast was ample but perfunctory: oatmeal, yogurt, orange juice, coffee. I was charged 36€ for food at my discharge, a bit much but probably the standard charge regardless of what you had.

        On the other hand, at home, our hospital of choice offers a menu for meals that features both American and Asian dishes. Jook for breakfast! Potstickers for lunch! And, medications allowing, wine with meals.

        1 Reply
        1. re: mangeur

          Oh, moan, jook. Makes hospitalization nearly pleasant.
          In my very limited hospital meal experience, I found the food to be freeway cafetaria standard. It was not disgusting. My saintly hubby poo went to a very good nearby traiteur and got me much better food, heated too.

        2. I'm thinking Air France economy.

          1 Reply
          1. re: Busk

            I agree.
            On Cathay Pacific, one can choose Jook for breakfast. Now is that a civilized airline or what.
            (And that jook is better than the jook breakfast served in a "palace" hotel in Paris, according to all.

          2. I've seen worse hospital food here than I've seen in the US. I think you're more likely to get good food here, but it's roughly the same crap as in the US, at least in public hospitals in IdF.

            2 Replies
            1. re: tmso

              my experience was in one of the larger hospitals in the IdF. YMMV

              1. re: sunshine842

                It's good to hear that there's some hope for the food, then. I have fortunately limited experience with hospital food in both countries.

            2. A related indirect point:
              A good friend of mine, a vegetarian, during his hospitalizations, can never get the hospital to understand what vegetarianism means. These hospital kitchens are possibly run by the same mystifying hounds who keep describing themselves or their dining companions as "vegetarians who eat only veg, chicken, beef…).
              My friend is different. He is a real vegetarian, which means he deserves our respect. Try to tell that to hospital kitchens.

              3 Replies
              1. re: Parigi

                of course, Paris is the same city where a vegetarian can order a salad and have it arrive with lardons and hard-boiled egg (one may or may not be a problem, the other one is...)

                1. re: sunshine842

                  That should be perfectly ok with the Chowhound vegetarians, but not with vegetarian-vegetarians in the sane world.

                  1. re: Parigi

                    oh, I know -- but that's what it is...

              2. Orange juice is not remarkably good in France, generally, IMHO. But I'd wonder about the coffee. Years working in American hospitals and checking patients' trays make me aware. Did you ever smell what one of those insulated plastic coffee cups are like even after they're washed?

                1. I do have to say my chicken parm wasn't so bad in my local hospital with real cheese and chicken meat. I am sure it varies by hospital and those public ones in NYC must really suck.

                  1. Yes, it can be as bad, or worse than hospital food in US. I hate to be a hospital food critic, but, unfortunately, I have some bases for comparison.
                    It really all depends on who prepares the hospital food, regardless of where the hospital is located. One French hospital I had a misfortune of reviewing from the inside, had its own kitchen and fresh bread delivered twice a day from a local bakery. Another French hospital, much larger and more modern, contracted services of a big catering company, with results somewhere between Sky Chefs economy class rejected batches and military ready to eat dinners.
                    On the other hand my stay at Kaiser hospital in Oakland was made tolerable by surprisingly tasty (for a hospital) meals and lots of fresh fruits and vegetables.
                    However, if I ever have to go to a hospital again, without hesitation I would pick the one that served road kill quality food. OK, so the food was lousy, even inedible at times. But the medical care I received was better than I could hope for and that's why I was there in the first place.

                    1. The government tells us that the average daily non-medical costs of a 24-hour hospital stay in France is 36 € (cleaning, linen, share of overheads, 3 meals + snacks, etc). I don't know how much is allocated for meals alone but not much.

                      My sister (a doctor) jokes that the food at one of the largest Paris hospital complexes is "la cuisine de La Santé" ... "la santé" means health but is also the name of a notorious prison in Paris... both the prison and the hospital have the same catering service. But there are some oases of good hospital food... maternity hospitals (but not many of us qualify)... some smaller hospitals in the outer arrondissements and suburbs that use local "solidaire" caterers... and the very expensive Hôpital Américain de Paris in Neuilly where you can get a chef's restaurant-quality daily special.

                      A little chauvinistic off-topic bragging: The World Health Organization designated the French health care system as the world's best.

                      4 Replies
                      1. re: Parnassien

                        "A little chauvinistic off-topic bragging: The World Health Organization designated the French health care system as the world's best."
                        Correct, several years in a row, but the WHO doesn't include food among its criteria.

                        1. re: John Talbott

                          And the food at the WHO in Geneva is so bad (Eurest) that most of HQ skips lunch or hits the Red Cross cafeteria.

                          1. re: Busk

                            The UN Geneva has ok food cafetaria food and very good restaurant food, and excellent coffee.

                        2. re: Parnassien

                          Yes, I was most impressed with the health services in France. The hospital was very efficient. I never ended up trying the food.

                          I have experience with institutional food(schools) and it was quite a broad spectrum from quite good to "I'll pass".

                        3. I spent some time in a US hospital, and the food was a lot better than I expected it to be.

                          1 Reply
                          1. re: GH1618

                            when I was a kid, the cafeteria at the local hospital was run by a group of Amish ladies -- it was well worth a detour for all the homemade goodies, and the cafeteria was slammed with locals at lunchtime.

                            It was hearty meat-and-potatoes (and noodles!) fare that would probably horrify modern dieticians, but it was delicious and cooked with love -- definitely comfort food when you needed it.

                          2. I'm deeply curious about the genesis of this question. Monica -- are you one of the medical tourists we keep reading about in the NY Times?

                            1 Reply
                            1. re: chompchomp

                              haha, no...I was recently admitted to a hospital for a few days for an emergency surgery and made me think about it. I hated the smell of plastic containers they used but the food wasn't that bad...although i don't understand why they would serve concentrated orange juice with sugar in it.