Unfortunately for my Mother, this past week I have personally witnessed the quality of food that a nearby hospital serves to their patients. What was sent from that kitchen was just plain horrifying. I know by experience that the use of salt and fat is limited along with all the other various diets some patients require. I used to work at Vassar Brothers Hospital in Poughkeepsie a long time ago, and these are some of the tricks we used to coax flavor out of a dish without adding additional fat or salt.
There are lots of tricks than can be used to inject flavor into insipid food that have ingredient limitations. The first one is the use of reductions, if you reduce a sauce that has little or no salt added the flavor will be enhanced all the while keeping the salt at the appropriate levels. By reducing the sauce it will thicken nicely without the fat that roux adds.
Another technique to add the richness that cream adds is to use low-fat or skim evaporated milk. Evaporated milk has 60% of the water removed leaving behind the viscosity that cream is famous for while adding just a fraction of the calories and fat. Trust me, this works nicely.
Replacing salt in a recipe can be tough but all salt really does is to heighten the flavors in a dish. While replicating salt is difficult, if you squeeze a fresh lemon or lime into a dish after it is all cooked, the juice brings a fresh zing to everything.
I’ll admit that even if they do all these things, it certainly won’t taste like it came from a 4 star restaurant, it will only make it taste what it is supposed to taste like, unlike the Fish Florentine I witnessed today. The generic term fish scared me a bit because I know that I am allergic to some fish while not others that are similar in flavor and texture that are often used interchangeably.
Seafood allergies as we all know, can be dangerous.
Could it be that hospitals have this diabolical plan to force patients to get better faster than they would than if their food was actually edible? That is the only explanation because making food taste better certainly isn’t rocket science.….