If hospitals are supposed to help you get well, then they ought to be doing this in every single way possible. From making the surroundings warm and welcoming to providing you nutritious, wholesome, and homely meals so you can get your strength back as fast as possible. Unfortunately, you Pandas and I all know that this isn't the case. Hospital food is absolutely horrid in a huge number of hospitals. And, frankly, we deserve better.

We wanted to show you just how bad hospital food can get all over the world, so our hard-working team at Bored Panda compiled this list that's bound to make you angry like professional chef Gordon Ramsay. Remember to upvote the best of the worst photos and let us know what the food was like during your most recent stay at the hospital.

The reason why hospital food is so bad and so banal it hurts is because of money. Or rather, the lack of it. And let's not forget the fact that often hospitals don't even make the food that they serve to patients and the staff members themselves; they outsource it. As you're about to find out, there are quite a few things that look as lonely on a plate as two tiny sausages with some parsley.

I wanted an insider's perspective, so I reached out to Holly D., a labor and delivery nurse. She told Bored Panda that she's experienced hospital as a patient as well and was very let down by it. "I have been in a patient role in the not-so-distant past and have experienced the dreaded hospital food tray. This often leads the patient to request family members to drop off alternate food to them at the hospital. For me, it was disappointing, to say the least, after laboring and finally delivering my first child," she said. Have a read through her in-depth insights on how to fix hospital food below, dear Pandas.

#1

This Is The Meal My Wife’s Hospital Had The Audacity To Serve For Nurses Appreciation Week. I Live In Phoenix

This Is The Meal My Wife’s Hospital Had The Audacity To Serve For Nurses Appreciation Week. I Live In Phoenix

After a year nurse shortages, running out of PPE, working employees to the bone without hazard pay.

colton310 Report

Ella Blackwood
Community Member
6 months ago

Ugh! What an insult!

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#2

What You Get For Breakfast In A Hungarian Hospital

What You Get For Breakfast In A Hungarian Hospital

abraabraka Report

Bear Hall
Community Member
6 months ago

Healthy: kills germs and keeps the visitors away.

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#3

Hospital Administration Told Us They'd Be Treating Us To Dinner During Our Shift. "Dinner" Is One Individual, Frozen, Uncooked Meatloaf Per Person. This Is Georgia

Hospital Administration Told Us They'd Be Treating Us To Dinner During Our Shift. "Dinner" Is One Individual, Frozen, Uncooked Meatloaf Per Person. This Is Georgia

Happy nurse's week, y'all.

reddit.com Report

Rabbit Carrot
Community Member
6 months ago

It looks like something they removed from a patient.

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"At a prior hospital that I worked for, a newly appointed director questioned every patient during their stay to hear our patients' biggest complaints and/or concerns. The recurring theme was 'bad food.' Once we received this feedback, the idea for an alternate menu for laboring/postpartum women was introduced. I couldn’t help but support this brilliant idea, and helped implement the importance of this change in menu with our mothers," nurse Holly explained that even though the food is bad, some staff members are willing to implement changes after hearing out the complaints.

I was interested to get Holly's take on why some hospitals cut corners with their food when instead it should be something filling and nutritious to help them recover quicker. According to Holly, the importance of meals while at the hospital cannot be understated.

"Food is a large part of people’s lives in every culture. It brings people together and in most instances, it is associated with happiness. For the patient, meals become the highlight of their day, especially if their time with us is extensive. In my experience, diet is one of the areas where the budget is kept to a minimum. Nutrition seems to always be met, but not always in a very creative or appetizing way," she said.

#4

Hospital Food Yummy

Hospital Food Yummy

It's mashed potatoes, something you'd feed to your bunny (or is it some kind of chicken pellets?), and water I guess?

Mattho Report

HempFairy
Community Member
6 months ago

Wet rabbit food.

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#5

This Hospital In USA Failed

This Hospital In USA Failed

AliMaadelat Report

Dhukath
Community Member
6 months ago

Does the hospital own a cat? Because I see "Sausages" like that every day in their litter tray 🐱!

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#6

Hospital Food In Italy

Hospital Food In Italy

RonaldTheGiraffe Report

WildHoneyPie
Community Member
6 months ago

What the heck is that? It looks like something that would put you into the hospital!

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In Holly's view, the biggest problem with hospital food is the lackluster presentation. "When you are hospitalized, the last thing you want to be presented with is an unappetizing or highly aromatic meal in front of you. Food styles and/or cuisines should be updated. One alternative would be to offer a modernized menu for patients to select from, including choices like a bento box, flatbreads, and/or rice bowls," she suggested.

"Hospitals could incorporate a system that allowed the patient to select an alternative menu or one that includes 'fun' foods like the menu we implemented for our laboring/postpartum mothers. This would astronomically improve these patient satisfaction scores, thereby making staff members more appreciated.

Unfortunately, these alternate menus are not a standard of practice in most hospitals, and sadly it is one of the first to be taken away when the budget is cut," nurse Holly told Bored Panda that even though there are alternatives to the current low standards, sadly, they're all reliant on financial decisions from up above.

#7

A Hospitals Take On Vegetarian Cuisine. Germany

A Hospitals Take On Vegetarian Cuisine. Germany

FurFlux Report

Neil Bidle
Community Member
6 months ago

Would you like some carrots with your carrots, sir?

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#8

Can You Identify My Austrian Hospital Food?

Can You Identify My Austrian Hospital Food?

A good guess might be "depression", but actually, it was some sort of cow paste (it immediately fell apart, it was basically the consistency of mousse) in paprika sauce, mashed potato, and mushy pea purée.

malta3 Report

Turnip and a Frog
Community Member
6 months ago

Cow paste 😂 Hilarious 😂

June
Community Member
6 months ago

Not sure if I'm amused or horrified 😂

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Immortal Jellyfish
Community Member
6 months ago

Leberkäse (liver cheese) is delicious.

Isabella K
Community Member
6 months ago

Yeah, but tge description says it fell apart. Leberkäs shouldn't desintegrate itself... not sure what else it could be. But the mashed potatoes would be a sign for leberkäs. I'm confused.

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MotherofGuineaPigs
Community Member
6 months ago

Soylent Pink

Me
Community Member
6 months ago

This looks like puree to avoid choking, such as a patient taken off a ventilator.

Betuna
Community Member
6 months ago

Agreed. It all seems to need to be this consistency.

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I’m A Black Cat
Community Member
6 months ago

Again, I don't see a problem. Were you expecting a steak dinner?

JuJu
Community Member
6 months ago

Leberkäse, not spam

the redqueen
Community Member
6 months ago

Umm.....mashed peas, mashed potatoes, and a slice of spam on a delightful bed of ketchup. I am so sorry for you.

F. H.
Community Member
6 months ago

That's Leberkäs, not spam, a common fast food in Germany and Austria. It should not have the consistency of mousse, though.

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Vaida Kuodytė
Community Member
6 months ago

Looks like a mashed food diet, which is required for some patients after certain surgeries/conditions. This is quite good plating for what it is, actually.

Maxine McConnell
Community Member
6 months ago

At least the mushy peas had style.

Vicki Thill
Community Member
6 months ago

Most of these are just processed for a dysphasia diet. This one is colorful and offers a variety of shapes for interest. I think this is a step above for a hospital serving of pureed foods. The patient on this diet appreciates all efforts made to make up for the lack of textures.

MauKini
Community Member
6 months ago

Its not "cow paste" its Leberkäs. If done properly its very nice. Just without paprika sauce. That really doesnt belong there.

Klas Klättermus
Community Member
6 months ago

It is obviously Lovely spam, wonderful spam

tomandjerry56
Community Member
6 months ago

looks like wasabi, ice cream, ketchup, and spam….

it's me again
Community Member
6 months ago

Spam in ketchup sauce, mashed, wasabi.

Marsha Sturgill
Community Member
6 months ago

This is for a patient with swallowing issues of some type. Perhaps throat. This consistency helps to keep you from choking. I have fed more patients than I care to remember. The smell matches the appearance and it was hard not to gag.

SilentSyst3m
Community Member
6 months ago

Vanilla ice cream, Wasabi and liver cheese mousse on Ketchup?

Ka Se
Community Member
6 months ago

From the description it seems to be a meal made specialy for people with chewing and swallowing issues.

Duncan
Community Member
6 months ago

It is at least presented well.

Id row
Community Member
6 months ago

What in the ever loving hell??

Daniel Kupka
Community Member
5 months ago

That's "Leberkäse" which is indeed something rather good, when served fresh and in the right manner (warm in a crisp roll). In this case... I've never seen it being served with tomato sauce. The white stuff is mashed potatoes, the green stuff I can only guess. Mashed peas?

Petina Stevens
Community Member
5 months ago

I would throw it on the floor .

Judit Hajdu
Community Member
5 months ago

processed crap

Aleš Kaučič
Community Member
6 months ago

It called liver cheese, yet no one neutron of cheese is in there. Even liver has very little percentage.

Lisa Tetlow
Community Member
6 months ago

Clockwise from the block in the ketchup: Spam in ketchup, Pea Puree and potato flavored ice cream. SCORE!!

Sue Phillips
Community Member
6 months ago

Looks like Spam on ketchup. That is a delicacy in some parts of the US.

James Pasquini
Community Member
6 months ago

Yummy! :rofl:

Jay Weigel
Community Member
6 months ago

This does not look familiar at all mein herr! Ist für Astronaut?

Mónica Elisabeth Sacco
Community Member
6 months ago

That's some kind of pig paste.🤢🤢🤢🤢🤢

Lucia ZG
Community Member
6 months ago

Kinda looks like wasabi

Lisa Chambers
Community Member
6 months ago

Its a version of a really good meal they serve from Budapest. Minus the cow mousse.

Cathy Carey
Community Member
6 months ago

Wow, they even took time to put the green stuff in a pastry bag and make a little rosette - how nice.

Miles Dowdeswell
Community Member
6 months ago

DFPWTdinnerforpeoplewithoutteeth

Jus
Community Member
6 months ago

Looks good, in fact.

MAKtheknife
Community Member
6 months ago

Bleck!

Bonnie Davis
Community Member
6 months ago

WTH is cow paste?? And pea purée?? 🤢🤢

zims
Community Member
6 months ago

Beef pâté.

Maple Chan
Community Member
6 months ago

OMG!!!

Onion rings like to make your breath smelly
Community Member
6 months ago

cow paste :puke

LMS
Community Member
6 months ago

Without looking, I'm going with Spam, spinach puree and mashed potato

Marianne Luginbuhl
Community Member
6 months ago

Again, this looks like a dysphagia diet, specially made for folks who need to relearn swallowing safely.

Arran Walker
Community Member
6 months ago

The presentation is way off the mark, but this isn’t the worst sounding meal.

Rebecca Taylor
Community Member
6 months ago

at least they used a decretive tip on the mushy peas!

Randy Klefbeck
Community Member
6 months ago

Brick o brack.

Donna Gettings Apperson
Community Member
6 months ago

Wurst?

Judie Mindrum
Community Member
6 months ago

I would hurl....

Candia Lee
Community Member
6 months ago

Be glad you're on soft foods, not liquid diet.

Gitta Landgraf
Community Member
6 months ago

As all the others told you! This is Leberkäse - and it tastes great! The food in Austrian hospitals is ok or good! I have to know!!!

Johanna-Nicollette Kidd
Community Member
6 months ago

Which hospital actually served this?

Flavia Slag
Community Member
6 months ago

Whhat part of the cow does cow paste come from!?

Hans Bass
Community Member
6 months ago

Remember when you were a kid and would actually eat paste? What happened to the good 'ol' days?

Leanne E.
Community Member
6 months ago

Green stuff, white stuff, pink stuff, red stuff. Yumm (not)

Viki Banaszak
Community Member
6 months ago

I was gonna say industrial size spam and ice cream(I totally would have been good with that) and avacado dip(I'd do that too)

Lyone Fein
Community Member
6 months ago

I was going to guess Spam, but will revise it to Spow.

okpkpkp
Community Member
6 months ago

I've had army c-rations that looked better, maybe.

Connie Ostlund
Community Member
6 months ago

blech!

Valerie Anne
Community Member
6 months ago

It looks like the cow paste is bleeding

Iara Ra
Community Member
6 months ago

Survival food

Paul Davies
Community Member
6 months ago

It looks better than all the others I've seen so far!

Cybele Spanjaard
Community Member
6 months ago

Amost decorative.. edible?

katboxjanitor
Community Member
6 months ago

Looks like a meat colored block of tofu

Alditekim
Community Member
6 months ago

This what kids use to learn about shapes.

Mairlady
Community Member
6 months ago

OH BARF!

Rocio Palacios
Community Member
6 months ago

I think this Is specific food for someone with swallowing or digestive problems.

Oliver Manger
Community Member
6 months ago

leberkäs (easter austria) or fleischkas (western austria) is actually good but should be served with bread not tomato sauce

Anne
Community Member
6 months ago

so a meal for a patient that can not or should not chew. As you could expect in a hospital

Kopier Fredi
Community Member
6 months ago

Leprakäse

CindyLouWho1209
Community Member
6 months ago

🤢🤮

Belle Miles
Community Member
6 months ago

Prison... BITCHES.

Anita Pickle
Community Member
6 months ago

What the hell is cow paste?!

Veronica Vatter
Community Member
6 months ago

Paté?

Shelli Aderman
Community Member
6 months ago

Spam?

Dee Tag
Community Member
6 months ago

I think this is what the Americans call Spam.

BookCrazyTeen
Community Member
6 months ago (edited)

I’m looking at the ‘cow paste’, and imagining it having the consistency of mousse... bleh

Isabella K
Community Member
6 months ago (edited)

If it is Leberkäse it reaaaaly shouldn't have this consistency...

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Daniel Marsh
Community Member
6 months ago (edited)

"Cow paste" is Meat loaf? If so, I now know the meaning to "Bat Out of Hell".... "So now I'm waiting for the end of time..." "I would do anything for love, but I won't do that!"

Taco Da Guinea Pig
Community Member
6 months ago

Maybe spam? With mashed potato ice cream and a dollop of radioactive frosting?

CAMAW
Community Member
6 months ago

"Depression" as in the era or the state of mind?

Mieke Fabry
Community Member
6 months ago (edited)

pathé? that's what it looks like, the fancy version is foie gras. Google is your friend :)

Me
Community Member
6 months ago

While it looks like pate, I think it is just pureed meat. Puree is served to patients who might be have a higher risk of choking.

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RadiatorAnkleSpider
Community Member
6 months ago

Bologna Loaf on a ketchup sauce with a side of puréed vegetables aka baby food, and instant mashed potatoes. Bon Appetit.

Mazer
Community Member
6 months ago

Mystery meat..ewwwww

Brian Bennett
Community Member
6 months ago

Just disgusting!

Chris Watson
Community Member
6 months ago

At least someone tried to add some flare. Who the hell knows what sickness, prevents a person from having regular food? Be happy you’re being fed. In some countries you need family members to feed you!!

Sofie
Community Member
6 months ago

Did they remove your teeth or what?

Flopsy
Community Member
6 months ago

I thought they were desserts. How disappointing

Laura Ford-Everett
Community Member
6 months ago

BARF haha

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#9

Dinner In Irish Maternity Hospital

Dinner In Irish Maternity Hospital

pockets3d Report

Violet brown
Community Member
6 months ago

is that...mud?

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Financially speaking, feeding people well is expensive. And the thinking tends to be, why bother giving someone nutritious, healthy, costly meals when you can get away with a piece of bread and a sad chunk of cheese? After all, a hospital is all about helping you get better, not feeding you.

However, that line of thinking simply doesn't work when you consider the huge importance that food has on our health. In fact, have a think about how you feel when you've been eating fresh food for a while versus how lethargic you feel when you've been consuming plenty of sugar and fast food. The difference is night and day.

#10

"Lasagna" According To Adventist Hospital

"Lasagna" According To Adventist Hospital

OpheliaMorningwood Report

Skybolt727
Community Member
6 months ago

That’s not lasagna that’s a noodle

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#11

Celebratory Steak Dinner Offered By Hospital For Proud Mother And Father

Celebratory Steak Dinner Offered By Hospital For Proud Mother And Father

Johnmcguirk Report

TmKhr
Community Member
6 months ago

You were my brother Anakin!

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#12

Since We're Posting Our Hospital Meals (UK)

Since We're Posting Our Hospital Meals (UK)

Buddahfinger666 Report

the redqueen
Community Member
6 months ago

You got all kinds of stuff, to the left and right of your tray.....and even your tray of food would look good, except it looks like somebody dngaf when it was time to put the green stuff on, and just poured what was left on your plate. Thank god you don't have to pay for it, right? But yeah, that's ridiculous

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According to ‘Wise Geek,' hospital food is a subset of institutional food which focuses on cutting costs and appealing to the widest number of customers as possible. Though, to be fair, it's tough to imagine how the bland/disgusting food that's served is meant to appeal to anyone.

Is it enough for you to survive in a tight spot? Probably. Is it something that's going to rouse your spirits and give your body the necessary nutrients to get stronger quickly? Doubtful. The secret ingredient might be love, but there's not much of that around!

#13

This Veggie Burger Was Served To Me In The Hospital. 10/10 For Presentation

This Veggie Burger Was Served To Me In The Hospital. 10/10 For Presentation

tveir Report

Neil Bidle
Community Member
6 months ago

Made the burger, boss

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#14

Hospital Lunch In Romania

Hospital Lunch In Romania

Andrei144 Report

Flip
Community Member
6 months ago

You're way too fat. You don't get more than this.

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#15

My Hospital Food Memories Are Scary. It's Lithuania

My Hospital Food Memories Are Scary. It's Lithuania

Kristina Galinauskaitė Report

JuJu
Community Member
6 months ago

It's egg. It looks like this when you make it in a tray in a convection oven. You get it in quite a lot of hotels at the breakfast buffet.

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For the majority of us, hospital food will only ever be a quirky anecdote to tell our friends. But we forget about the people who stay in hospitals for weeks, months, and even years at a time. Imagine having to eat that swill every day. Food and cooking are important parts of being a human being and a member of your local community and society at large.

I'd actually argue that by feeding people bland, ghastly, and shocking food, you're depriving them of one of the biggest joys of being human. And that can't be good for your health. Physical, emotional, or spiritual.

#16

Yesterday's Hospital Breakfast In Chicago. The Garnish Really Makes It

Yesterday's Hospital Breakfast In Chicago. The Garnish Really Makes It

jjjkkkjkjk Report

Dan Buczynski
Community Member
6 months ago

After looking at the rest, this is looking pretty good.

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#17

My First Meal In A Week, At A Hospital For Meningitis, Entertain Me, Please. Milwaukee​, Wisconsin

My First Meal In A Week, At A Hospital For Meningitis, Entertain Me, Please. Milwaukee​, Wisconsin

Sivispacemparabellum Report

Neil Bidle
Community Member
6 months ago

Well today, we have chicken a la sweetcorn, with a jus of coagulated grease ..

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#18

Vegetarian Meal Sent Up For My Friends Hospital Meal

Vegetarian Meal Sent Up For My Friends Hospital Meal

Yauchness Report

Rabbit Carrot
Community Member
6 months ago

If nothing else she can beat it to death with that rather solid looking baguette.

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#19

Groats With Vomit, From My Stay At A Polish Hospital

Groats With Vomit, From My Stay At A Polish Hospital

MamWidelec Report

Turnip and a Frog
Community Member
6 months ago

I could have taken the exact same picture a week ago in hospitalisation. That’s exactly what it looked like. I mean, you know it’s food because someone diced the ingredients and heated everything up - but other than that I would never tell it’s meant for human nutrition.

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#20

The Toasts One Of My Patients Got At The Hospital For Breakfast

The Toasts One Of My Patients Got At The Hospital For Breakfast

alternageek2 Report

Rabbit Carrot
Community Member
6 months ago

Mmmmmmmm burnt

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#21

Hospital Breakfast

Hospital Breakfast

It's baked eggs covered with American cheese.

anuncommontruth Report

Shea
Community Member
6 months ago

This is gross 🤣

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#22

Chicken Teriyaki Given To Us For Nurses Week By My Hospital

Chicken Teriyaki Given To Us For Nurses Week By My Hospital

Ididntknowthathaha Report

the redqueen
Community Member
6 months ago

Where's the chicken, and where's the teriyaki?!

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#23

Vegan Hospital Food: Potato

Vegan Hospital Food: Potato

UnlessYouDala Report

Donkey boi
Community Member
6 months ago (edited)

I'd rather eat the salt packet!

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#24

Hospital Dinner In Germany At 16:30

Hospital Dinner In Germany At 16:30

DieMitDenRotenHaaren Report

Jo Johannsen
Community Member
6 months ago

Where's the mustard?

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#25

Third Week Of Living On Vegan Hospital Food And I’ve Lost 10 Kg. I Have No Idea What This Is

Third Week Of Living On Vegan Hospital Food And I’ve Lost 10 Kg. I Have No Idea What This Is

grimsexton Report

SamJo_thefirst
Community Member
6 months ago

Maybe the can advertise themselves as diet clinic?!

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#26

Hospital Food Looks Like The Opposite Of Food. America The Great US

Hospital Food Looks Like The Opposite Of Food. America The Great US

sebaylward Report

Apachebathmat
Community Member
6 months ago

Pretty sure your meal got mixed up and should have gone to the lab instead

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#27

This French Hospital Food Is Getting Worse - Potatoes And What I Think Was A Boiled Cabbage

This French Hospital Food Is Getting Worse - Potatoes And What I Think Was A Boiled Cabbage

WhyArrest Report

Saint Thomas
Community Member
6 months ago (edited)

I think it's endive/chicory. It's an acquired taste, as it's a bit bitter. Well prepared it's quite good, my favorite preparation is first boiled, then seared in a pan with a bit of brown sugar. The sugar breaks the bitterness.Quite common in north of France and Belgium as a winter vegetable, as it is grown inside.

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#28

Horrible Vegan Hospital Food, New Mexican Style

Horrible Vegan Hospital Food, New Mexican Style

ApostateLibrarian Report

housea
Community Member
6 months ago

Good salsa on a baked potato is very delicious. This is not that.

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#29

My Hospital Roast Dinner

My Hospital Roast Dinner

EncryptedMyst Report

HempFairy
Community Member
6 months ago

Some sauce on top would make it 90% better.

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#30

Hospital Cafeteria, Bon Appetit

Hospital Cafeteria, Bon Appetit

hausofpurple Report

Violet brown
Community Member
6 months ago

is cafeteria food free?

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Note: this post originally had 107 images. It’s been shortened to the top 30 images based on user votes.

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