Pop Meets Haute Cuisine at the Hotel Not-So-Hot

Infected, inspected, injected, detected and neglected. That was my father in the hospital this last week for some tests...

Okay, well, it's also Arlo Guthrie's "Alice's Restaurant." But this version is without all the singing in four-part harmony with feelin'. Trust me on this.

I must say, it isn't exactly easy to keep the "hum" in humor blogging while also worriedly stalking a parent, hundreds of miles away, to find out the latest on his condition.

However. After my Pop's stay in the Hotel Not-So-Hot, which he accepted like a real trooper, I hoped to lighten the discussion by asking him about the hospital food. I mean, what's a better, more common joke-- what brings people together of all races, creeds, and hairstyles-- than a discussion of the poor quality of hospital food? It seemed a can't-miss moment.

And see, I've mentioned this before, but the Popper has never eaten often. Nope, I think he finds the whole breakfast, lunch and dinner shebang to be a fairly kooky, bewildering, and excessive process.

In fact, the way he talks about it, even I-- a lunch-and-dinner person-- come away feeling a bit like a flagrant calorie intaker gorging myself like Jabba the Hutt on senior slug discount night at Mos's-- the planet Mos Isely's one-and-only, all-you-can-eat buffet...

(Star Wars Nerds, please do not email me saying that Jabba the Hutt never went to Mos Isley. He hauled his big sluggy butt there for the purposes of this example, 'kay?)

Now, where was I?

Oh, right. The Popper's One-Real-Meal-a-Day Strategy. So in the Wide World of Dad, Pop has this theory that what people really need is seven Ritz crackers or a handful of peanuts, to fill the long space of hungries between morning coffee and the more elaborate evening meal. He's always very specific about it. Seven Ritz crackers.

So I ask Pop after his stay, how exactly was the hospital food? Expecting to hear about food overkill plus canned spinach and mystery meat, and a mind-boggling lack of Ritz crackers.

But it turns out Five-Star bistros in the Restaurant Guidebook of New York apparently have NOTHING on this facility of healthcare kitchen! I mean the man could not SAY ENOUGH about the fine cuisine he experienced during his stay.

He began with, "And there were three meals a day!" with a tone of delight and wonder usually reserved for describing Disney rides.

Or the birth of a child.

And then he went on that there was even DESSERT! And there was a NUTRITIONIST who came by and wanted to make sure he was eating all right, and...

Why, to hear him talk, it was like a spa vacation! A spa vacation with needles and bags of fluids and a guy in the next bed breathing in gurgling wheezes all night. But a vacation nonetheless.

So thanks, hospital-near-Pop for looking after my dear father and giving him great care and possibly some of the best food he's had in a while, though that scares me a bit.

It's beginning to confirm a suspicion I've had all along... which is that my good ol' dad's stance on mealtime is not really related to a three-meals-a-day issue but, in fact, connected directly to an "I'll eat it if you bring it" philosophy.

The other alternative is that, Hospital Folks, you have cloned my Pop and possibly have given me back the wrong one.

It could be that the clone is out and about, enjoying three squares a day now, while Real Pop is still there with you, insisting that all he really needs to survive during the next eight to ten hours is seven Ritz crackers or a palmful of peanuts in the shell.

Which is it? Because, honestly, I'd like to have the clone for a day or so around Thanksgiving. The seven Ritz crackers aren't quite what I hope for when I visit at the holidays. In fact, I've taken to bucking the system and bringing my own snacks. So I figure, at the very least, we might be able to hit the hospital cafeteria one day, and enjoy an elegant, festive lunch of grilled cheese, three-bean salad and Jell-0.

I mean, there's nothing like a bit of mealtime camaraderie with the ones you love.

To all the Dads and Grand-dads who visit Of Cabbages and Kings, I hope your Father's Day is very special.

Humor-blogs is fortifying for your funny bone.


Claire said...

Hey Jabba the Hutt never went to....

haha :)

I don't like to be the one that breaks it to you , but cloning is rife in hospitals. They turned my own mother into a cyborg after all.

What's even more worrying was that mum, who is well known for her hatred of hospital food, actually liked the food this time too.
There was baked cod in a lovely tomato sauce apparently.
I say its a bloody clone!

Hope the dad is well on the way to recovery :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- Oh my gosh-- this means your mom AND my dad might be clone somewhere (boy, do I need to stop watching Dr. Who...) OR hospital food is actually getting better.

See, but the Pop also likes "spam" the food-product, not the junk email. And though I've told him that daughters who love their fathers don't let their daughters eat spam, it doesn't really sink in.

So I don't know what his current barometer is for these things. But I will definitely send along your well wishes to him. He'll like that a lot!

Claire said...

I love Dr Who :)
I am more inclined to believe in clones than better hospital food.

My mum likes cockles, and anyone that likes them are very very wrong! So I think their food judgement is flawed at best :)

My mum liked her well wishes off my imaginary friends, which is what she thinks my blog buds are :)

Da Old Man said...

Hope your Dad is doing well.

I've heard rumors of hospital food that wasn't bad, although I've personally never witnessed it.


Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- Watch, now, we'll get some hospital chef telling us that their genre of cuisine has a bad rep. :)

Joe- Heh, I read your experience with the local seaside cafe... er, hospital cafeteria. I laughed so hard, it was a great story, and also I had already started this post. Here we were blogging on the same topic. Very timely!

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- PPS-- You are known to my dad as "Claire in Wales." Not like I know a whole lot of other people named Claire, but still... I think he does believe you exist, but I think sometimes he finds it amazing/surprising that online people know me. :)

Claire said...

In Wales! I don't live in Wales? Who is this Claire in Wales? Have I been cloned?


ThriftShopRomantic said...

Well, I know you don't CURRENTLY... But how many trips? How many...?

Claire said...

I have never lived in Wales, is it from the hikes?

I don't really mind being associated with the sheep shaggers, honest!


Jenn Thorson said...

Well, yep, it's certainly from the hikes, though I was under the impression some part of the family was Welsh as well. Not meaning in a derrogatory way, certainly, it was just what I thought I'd heard you post from well over a year or so ago.

Apologies for any confusion, given you are always and more than welcome in Pitt-sburgh. :)

Alice said...

I'm on board with your dad's 'if you bring it, i'll eat it' plan. I just hate cooking and can appreciate a handful of peanuts during the day. Unfortunately, I can also appreciate a Cadbury's Fruit & Nut bar.

Jenn Thorson said...

Alice- (using Homer Simpson voice) Mmmm.... Cadbury-- fruity and nuttyyyyy.... :)

Claire said...

Well my Grandpa's family is from Wales way back , but I don't think I have mentioned that. My other Grandad is/was from Dublin, so I have mentioned that.

I know you would never write anything derogatory anyways :)

Hooray for 'Pitt'sburgh :)

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire-- :) I think online is difficult, too, because for safety purposes no one wants to go into too many details too often on their logistics!

I should find you a "Pitt-sburgh" t-shirt and send it to you. You have a whole city! :)

Claire said...

Heck I have said exactly where I live :)

Nobody would want to live there or find me, its too dangerous :)

I was thinking about stuff to send you the other day actually, something typically English.

chyna said...

No the food is getting any better, except now they try to convince you that they know better than you do on what you really want.

We still laugh about when I was in the hospital before having dd that they messed up my meals each and every time until the fateful morn I went into emergency surgery. They actually got it right and then I didn't get to eat it! And it looked so good too. :(

ThriftShopRomantic said...

Claire- Hm, my wheels are turning... (Insert maniacal laughter here) :)

Chyna- Aw, no fair-- they were just tormenting you, weren't they?! :)

Claire said...

Is that a hamster wheel?

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- Sure is-- but where the hamster got to, I haven't a clue! :)

Claire said...

lmao, I have always hated hamsters anyways.

They are evil!

Hmmm you have just inspired me for a future post, woot!

Jenn Thorson said...

Claire- Cute little hamsters? My gosh, maybe you ARE evil! :)

But glad it inspired a post. I will wait and see what unfolds!