Table for Two at the Hospital
During winter and summer breaks from college, I worked in
the kitchen of the hospital in my hometown. Once I was done delivering carts
filled with patients’ breakfast and lunch to their respective floor, I’d grab
my own meal from the cafeteria. Usually this was something about as glamorous
as scrambled eggs, a turkey sandwich or a salad—pretty much the expectation for
any hospital cafeteria.
But in Connecticut, a hospital
is garnering attention for turning cafeteria-menu expectations on their head.
New Milford Hospital (part of Western Connecticut Health System, along with Danbury
Hospital) is the new lunch hot spot in town, according to an article in The
New York Times dining section.
Dining Services Director Kerry
Gold is serving patients and patrons his chicken provençal, pecan-crushed chicken beneath
a fresh sage velouté (basically a white sauce) and much more.
Buying organic, non-processed
food isn’t always cheap, but Gold saves money by cooking less red meat and
growing his own food. A garden on the hospital’s roof keeps the kitchen stocked with fresh
veggies in the summer and herbs in the winter (Gold will use lavender for the lavender
orange scones he makes during the winter).
New Milford is one of dozens of
hospitals in the U.S. that is affiliated with Planetree, a
nonprofit organization that encourages a healthcare model based on healing
mind, body and spirit (that philosophy includes serving fresh and local foods).
It’s great to see hospitals
embracing menus with $5 meals you’d expect to pay $20 or more at a restaurant. If
I were still slogging away in the hospital kitchen, I think I’d take a lavender
orange scone over eggs any morning.
Does your hospital serve a dish
— traditional or decadent — that you and your coworkers can’t get enough of?