Foothills hospital food, Calgary

I’ve never bought the argument that food is simply sustenance. I’ve always found enjoyment, and yes, even joy in what food — and its accompanying experiences — brings.

But this week found me at the Foothills Medical Centre where food was the last of my concerns compared to the matter at hand. The reason for my eating copious amounts of fruit (shudder) and abstaining from sashimi, raw oysters, deli meats, and wine for the last nine months had arrived.

Fried rice babyOur sweet baby boy — who we shall call H. for the purposes of this blog — came into our world this week. He has so far proven to be a healthy nurser and hopefully an adventurous eater.

And what of the food at the Foothills? On the units for labour/delivery as well as post-partum care, there are patient-only kitchenettes with popsicles, toast, crackers, yogurt, apples, juice and sometimes sandwiches. Very basic but at 4 a.m. on day one, half a cold chicken sandwich on brown bread tasted like a gourmet meal.

(In one of the kitchenette fridges, I swear I saw a small pot of Chinese pork knuckle, ginger and sweet vinegar — a traditional concoction to “warm the heart and promote blood circulation” for a new mother. I almost tried to nick a piece. Almost.)

I was in the hospital for a cycle of three meals that were brought to my room. It was a relief to not have to think about what I was supposed to be eating, especially since I was famished each time.

Breakfast was a box of Bran Flakes, 2 slices of whole wheat toast, a banana, yogurt, and coffee (yay!).

Lunch was 180 mL of cream of mushroom soup with soda crackers, 90 g of egg salad sandwich on whole wheat, carrot and celery sticks with ranch dressing, 110 mL apricots in juice, and tea.

Dinner was probably when I started yearning to get home. Vegetable soup was fine but the 176 mL of turkey mushroom stew with 90 mL of diced potatoes left something to be desired, as did the melted mini cup of vanilla ice cream. What did they think was going to happen with it right next to the hot stew and tea?

For the most part, Jason relied on the coffee and scones from the Good Earth Cafe in the hospital lobby, when not trying to catch the last uninterrupted sleep he’ll ever have at home.

I just also wanted to mention that we were blown away by the care we got from all the nurses on both wards at the Foothills. They were smart, patient, kind, engaging, and professional. We are truly blessed to have this kind of health care.

Food at the Foothills isn’t going to win any awards, but it was more than enough to sustain this new mom with a new bundle of joy.