Sunday, November 05, 2006

More on Cookies

A few weeks ago (on October 18), I published the recipe for the world famous Beth Israel cookies. I received a number of oral comments and emails from people in the Boston area about this. Here is an exchange with one of our doctors, which tells you a lot about the culture of our hospital: (1) Everyone feels comfortable writing me with suggestions and comments; and (2) I take every suggestion seriously; (3) members of the administrative staff are undefensive and honest about steps being taken to improve the place; (4) running a hospital food service is like running a restaurant, with thousands of customers with a variety of taste and preferences; and (5) even doctors and nurses sometimes need a little treat to do the right thing, i.e, get their flu shot!

Dear Paul,
I was reading your blog last week with the old recipe for the much missed and wonderful BI cookies.

Today, I got my flu shot and a reward voucher for a cafeteria cookie, which I decided not to get because I try to avoid trans fats and suspect that the current hospital cookies (and other foods) are made with partially hydrogenated fats.

Is my concern correct? If so, as a health institution should we be asking our cafeteria to avoid using partially hydrogenated fats in the foods they prepare and sell?

Here is the reply from our director of hotel services:

Your message concerning trans-fat foods was forwarded to me; the food service is one of the departments I oversee.

We share your concern and we are taking steps to address it. First of all, the cookie you were offered for getting your flu shot is a trans-fat free product. We are converting to trans-fat fee items whenever possible, but some of our very popular items are not currently offered as such. For example, the jumbo cookies we sell in the cafeteria are not trans-fat free; as soon as they become available we will make the conversion. Earlier this year we began using trans-fat free fryer oil in both our patient and cafeteria programs. We are now offering more trans-fat free cakes, pies and crackers.

Our goal, like many food service establishments is to become totally trans-fat free, it will just take a little time. We will continue to look for and offer healthy options to our cafeteria customers.

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