miso happy

My dad was recently hospitalized for an emergency gall bladder operation. It was a bit touch and go for a while, but thankfully he’s finally recuperating in the comforts of his own home. While at the hospital, he was forced to slow down – no small feat for an 87 year old man who still walks two miles a day and plays 18 holes of golf every week. Not only that, he also had to give in to the dark side of the hospital – the food. He complained every day about how bad the food was and every day I replied that he had to eat in order to build up his energy. After all, how bad can hospital food really be? But he just wouldn’t eat. His mood was cranky, partially due to the lack of sleep the orderlies allow, but mostly from his lack of tangible sustenance. On his third morning there, they brought him a tray of oatmeal, toast, and scrambled eggs. “Butter and jelly on your toast?” I asked. “Yea, anything to make it taste better.” So I slathered on the butter substitute called Promise and some grape jelly, he took one bite. “Uck,” he said disgustingly as he threw down the bread. I decided to put my taste buds to the test and took a bite of the seemingly normal slice. OMG. You know the back cover of a spiral notebook? That’s what it tasted like. No amount of butter substitute or fruit preserves could have saved that piece of cardboard they call toast. Okay, next- the eggs. They were yellow in color, looked and felt like normal (albeit a bit dry) scrambled eggs. One bite and I tasted nothing. Zilch. I took another forkful. Nada. It was as if every single drop of flavor was sucked out of the eggs.

Determined to get my dad something that he’d enjoy, I snuck in some miso soup from a very chi-chi Japanese restaurant a few blocks away. Afraid that it might be considered contraband, I poured it into a styrofoam cup with a straw. A smile washed over his face. I’m sure the nurses were worried when he didn’t even want to look at what was under the lid on the tray for lunch (I think it was roast beef. I think.) Next up for dinner – chicken noodle soup from Jerry’s Deli. Hospital life was getting a little better for my dad.  And for all of us.

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