I feel like a traitor. I am sitting in the surgical waiting room at the Hershey Medical Center thinking about lunch. My stomach began to growl about 30 minutes ago. I was trying to hold out in support of Jeff, but I don’t think I’m going to make it – don’t tell him. You see, he had routine surgery this morning and was not able to eat or drink anything after midnight last night. With the busyness of getting to the hospital, getting Jeff admitted and keeping my emotions in check, I wasn’t hungry; but now that he’s out of surgery and I’ve talked to the surgeon and know he is ok, my stomach has relaxed and is ready for nourishment. So, I’ll tell you what, I am going to take you on a trip with me to the cafeteria.
I am going to head there now for a snack (ok, probably lunch) and I’ll let you know what I find while I wait for the call letting me know that I can visit Jeff in recovery. Oh, wait just a second, I can’t leave quite yet – I swear to you I am not making this up – a barbershop quartet just began singing Sweet Adeline in the surgical waiting room. I just cannot leave during free entertainment!
OK, here we go….
This is NOT what you think of when you think of hospital food. The ambiance (I can’t believe I’m using the word “ambiance” in conjunction with a cafeteria, let alone a hospital cafeteria) is not what you’d expect either. The food offerings consist of a ravioli bar (including choices like butternut squash ravioli, artichoke ravioli and multiple sauces); a taco bar with sides like Spanish rice and corn & black bean salsa; a Panini bar with excellent sides like mixed olives or Caprese salad; hot food choices including grilled fresh salmon or a steak you get to choose grilled to your specifications. There are all kinds of hot sandwiches like burgers, grilled chicken, cheesesteaks.
There is a salad station, which includes my choice du jour – an Asian peanut chicken salad – mixed greens with grilled chicken, steamed edamame, red peppers, carrots, green onions, water chestnuts and a lovely peanut dressing that has just a hint of spice. There is also a build your own macaroni and cheese station – hello comfort food! The food choices are varied and the presentation is beautiful. Of course there are snacks you’d expect like yogurt, crackers, nuts, chips, etc. as well. And fortunately for me, I am happy to be able to indulge in my weakness – a fountain soda, even if it is Pepsi.
I am eating in the main dining area which is painted in bright colors with booths upholstered in beautiful fabrics and some walls faced with field stone. It is bright and spacious with enough chatter to distract you from worrying, but not so much as to be intrusive. If not for the scrub-clad and lab coat-clad diners, I would not guess this was in a hospital.
OK – two things you should know now that I’m nearly done with my meal. (1) The dressing had more than a hint of spice but it was still very, very good and (2) the fountain soda was disappointing….not only was it Pepsi but it was nearly flat.
Despite the flat fountain soda, I would definitely recommend the Hershey Medical Center Cafeteria for lunch – even if you’re not here as or with a patient!!!!