When you are paying for the meals at a nursing or rehab facility, what can or should you expect? One such facility located in Forest Hills serves “institutional food” as many others. Here is how it works. You first speak with the nutritionist about allergies as well as likes and dislikes. They give you a sheet of paper with the menu for the week. It took me a while to learn as the communication and keeping of agreements here has become impossible.
I checked in 3 weeks ago and although the state of my knee problem has improved, other things have not.
Being a kosher facility, I knew not to expect pork or shellfish nor milk coming with a meal with meat. Let’s begin with the mashed potatoes. They are clearly from a box and nothing will disguise it. I have it listed not to serve it to me, but it still comes even when the paper coming with it says, “no mashed potatoes”. Then there are those white potatoes that come from a can with some sort of additives or preservatives. Potatoes are not an expensive item. Too much work to peel and cut? Just scrub and bake them!
I always order a hard boiled egg for breakfast rather than the institutional scrambled eggs. I want a real egg. Margarine is served and told that they don’t serve butter because nobody has requested it. Has anyone asked? I can understand butter not being served with the meat meals. Margarine is less expensive. Need I say more?
One has the opportunity of eating in their room, the day room on the floor or the main dining room. The one advantage of eating in the main dining room is that food arrives at the correct temperature. I choose to eat in my room. Hot food has always arrived “tepid” and that doesn’t bother me as much as the food itself.
I went through a Passover week-plus and was told that the food would be better once it was over. Really? Tilapia seems to be the fish of preference here. Price, etc. I don’t care for the taste. I have seen fish nuggets and lots of canned tuna of a low grade. Hamburger or meatballs have to be “stretched”, if you know what I mean. Whenever chicken is available, I opt for that.
Here are examples of meal experiences. Menu had roast turkey, flavored rice and vegetables. Lift the lid to find no turkey. Did someone else want it and switched or the inept worker didn’t notice that the protein was not placed? Menu cited, “Bake Ziti”. It was some sort of Passover pasta with an American cheese sauce and topped with two tablespoons of jarred tomato sauce. One dinner cited Italian Wedding Soup and got broth. In spite of my requesting the roasted chicken over the beef stew. Need I say what I got?
Lately they are placing non-fat milk on my tray when there is no need to change from whole milk. This last one totally proved that the attitude is “you’ll eat what you get whether you like it or not”.
It is 5:45 pm when dinner arrives. Tilapia, pasta and broccoli. All cold. No, I don’t want my meal reheated in a microwave. I request alternate and told that it is a grilled cheese sandwich but that they are out of them. I am handed a cheese sandwich. Two slices of cheese food and dry. There is a cup of pieces of canned pears. I taste and not sweet. It is meant for a diabetic. I am not and the milk is non-fat. They managed to send up a tuna salad plate after I made at least 3 calls to a supervisor and the nurse calling down to the kitchen 3 times.
In one meal, they must have either run out of zucchini or forgot to buy it and substituted cucumbers as if I would not notice. One recent lunch cited “fresh fruit” and “juice”. I did not get either, but I did get MASHED POTATOES!