News Headlines Article

A Cure for Vile Hospital Food?
Mother Jones

Mindful meats is a boutique beef company with a creative, if somewhat off-putting, raison d’etre: making good use of spent dairy cows. The older animals, no longer useful for milk, meet just about every standard of sustainability, raised on grassy pastures, certified organic, and unexposed to antibiotics, hormones, or GMOs. Raised and butchered in California’s Marin and Sonoma counties, they’re shipped just a short distance over the Golden Gate Bridge to some of San Francisco’s trendiest upscale eateries and butchers. Oh, and also to the Bay Area’s third-largest hospital.

But that’s weird. Doesn’t hospital food have a rep for being bland and institutional—or, as a less-polite reporter might put it, for “sucking?”

It does. And that’s what Stanford Health Care hopes to change. The Mindful burgers and meatloaf are just part of its plan to lift hospital food out of the culinary doldrums. Eschewing run-of-the-mill ploys to improve hospital food, like Meatless Mondays or proscriptive pledges to limit saturated fat at 10 percent, the program favors what Jesse Cool, the restaurant owner and consultant who spearheads the effort, calls “cleaning the food.”