That's the question posed by a Tumblr page called merely "Hospital Food," where patients are invited to submit photos of their hospital meals from across the world.
Anecdotes of poor hospital meals here in Houston are endless, despite the presence of the world's largest medical center, oh, right down Main Street. Just a few months ago, my mother and I were surreptitiously sneaking in homemade fried chicken and mashed potatoes to my cousin at M.D. Anderson, where he was undergoing cancer treatments that left him weak and disinterested in the awful hospital food.
Another friend of mine stayed at St. Joseph for a good week while she battled an infection. She's vegetarian, and the only meals they fed her the entire time were variations on rice and beans. Upon leaving, she mentioned that they might want to reconsider the "vegetarian menu" at the hospital. Their response: "Oh, we'll be sure to have better food for you next time!"
The Tumblr page seems to attest to better food at international hospitals, like the meal from Spain at the beginning of the post or the tagliatelle in a cheese sauce with potatoes and carrots from Leicester, England, shown above. Exceptions to this rule, however, are found in Poland, where the hospitals seem to be fond of serving variations on pickles, bread and butter.
My own limited experience with hospital food as a patient happened when I was restricted to a diet of clear liquids -- so I'm not exactly the voice of experience here -- but I can't fault Memorial Hermann for its wonderful lemon Jell-O and beef broth, which were like manna from heaven after drinking nothing but water and Sprite.
Where has your best hospital meal been? Your worst? Let us know in the comments section below.