Trying to dine out on a budget? Looking for a restaurant serving healthy dishes with lots of menu choices?
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Try Robin’s Cove at Meritus Medical Center.
The restaurant at the hospital? But don’t they only serve green Jell-O and applesauce?
Joe Fleischman wants to change your mind about hospital food.
“Everyone thinks, ‘Hospital food means green Jell-O,’” said Fleischman. “People find out I work at a hospital, they’re like, ‘Oh, you’re the guy who makes the green Jell-O.’ I get that all the time.”
But Fleischman and his staff of 27 work at a busy commercial kitchen — preparing carefully monitored dishes for patients, a variety of foods for cafeteria customers, and catering meetings and other events every day in the hospital.
And, yes, sometimes they serve Jell-O.
“Surprisingly, we do make green Jell-O,” he said. “We don’t have it on all the time, but believe it or not, people like it. There’s a reason it’s on hospital menus. It’s a comfort food when you’re sick.”
Fleischman sat down with The Herald-Mail in the sunny, modern cafeteria in the lower level of Meritus’ campus to talk about cooking food for patients and for the public.
How old are you?
Forty-two. I live in Hagers-town with my wife, Diane, and three children — Joseph, 5, Hadley 7, and Lauren, 9.
Where did you grow up?
Waynesboro, Pa. My parents still live there.
Right in town?
Actually I grew up out in the country in the middle of Hagerstown, Greencastle and Waynesboro. Where my parents live, where I grew up, I could be in either Hagerstown, Greencastle (Pa.) or Waynesboro in 10 minutes.
So you were just over the border?
I was in what we call the marsh area. There was a duck pond out there. That’s what we called the marsh. The Paramount area of Hagerstown is just right over the line, so it was very close. Kind of convenient: centrally isolated.
So were you literally on a farm?