"Don't Hate The Foodie, Hate Your Tastebuds"

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"Don't Hate The Foodie, Hate Your Tastebuds"

Friday, December 20, 2019

German food — from hospital cafeteria: a pleasant surprise


When you think of good diverse food, hospital food usually isn’t the first place you think of, but Vidant Health Systems, through their food provider, Sodexo, prides themselves on their quality and diversity of foods.

You will actually be surprised at how good their food is sometimes. It’s cafeteria-style so you can spend as little or as much as you want. I love the salad bar because it has a good variety of toppings, I can get a big plate of salad with whatever I want on it for only like three bucks, and it’s walking distance from the office. Can’t beat that combo!

Another thing I like about my quick lunch visits to the Vidant Cafeteria is that they serve a variety of foods. Some days I go in, it’s Italian or Mexican, and sometimes even Jamaican, you just never know. When I say you never know, that is not an understatement. They had German for two days last month and even made a whole event out of it.

Chef Lars Wiesner

Sodexo, a global company found in 56 countries, has an international chef residency, in which they bring in six to eight chefs from all over the world. Vidant Duplin Hospital in Kenansville was lucky enough to be chosen this year.

Chef Lars Wiesner of Leipzig, Germany was sent to Vidant to bring a Taste of Germany to not only Vidant in Kenansville, but also Vidant Edgecombe Hospital, Vidant Roanoke-Chowan, Vidant Chowan, Vidant Beaufort and Vidant Medical Center in Greenville.

Chef Lars preparing and serving food for the event

I was able to taste German food for the first time on Halloween, of all days. I think the only thing on Halloween that scared some of the employees waiting in line was the thought of trying German food for the first time.

I tried the Bavarian roasted pork shoulder, the Bavarian cabbage, the spätzle, and although I am supposed to be staying away from sweets, because of my own self-inflicted dietary restrictions, I had to go home with a piece of the apple strudel. I had a huge bowl of ice cream at home just waiting for me to put it on top.

Other items on the menu during his visit included beef ragout, bread dumplings, cheese dumplings with mushroom sauce, creamy savory cabbage, potato soup, and rice pudding.

I’m a lover of all things swine, so choosing to try the pork was a no-brainer. I had to see what Germany was hitting on. I loved that I didn’t have to ask for extra gravy on my meat because I almost always have to when someone else fixes my food.  The meat was similar to a piece of roasted pork you would get in the U.S., except for the skin of the roast, which was speckled with seasonings I just couldn’t place my finger on. I later found that it was caraway seeds, which can often be found in rye bread and marjoram, a European mint-like spice.

A very unique taste. Not bad, just unique. The cabbage was similar to a Southern-style cabbage, a little darker in color and seasoned with pork bacon. The spätzle, which is basically mac and cheese, was delicious! It was creamy just like I like it, and garnished beautifully with parsley. Lastly, the apple strudel was oozing with a sweet cream sauce over the thin flaky crust sprinkled with raisins and powdered sugar.

Maybe it’s because he is a highly trained chef, but I am giving that hospital German food an A. Hopefully the next time I try it in a different location (hopefully in Germany), I will like it just as much. I wanted to share my love for food with our readers as well. Sometimes we get caught up in routine and what we are familiar with and forget to explore and try new things, which is why I want to open up your eyes to the variety of food that we have to offer here in Duplin County.

This is the first food column for The Duplin Times Newspaper, but there are many more to come. I look forward to sharing my experiences eating at the many great food spots around Duplin County, and I hope you will continue to follow me on this journey. My hope is that you will expand your taste buds and fall in love with some new foods or restaurants that you may not have known existed!             


  1. This post truly shines once you start describing the dishes. Once you mentioned apple strudel oozing with sweet cream sauce and sprinkled with raisins and powdered sugar, I melted a little inside. Love this piece. Keep working!

  2. I love that Vidant offers such a diverse selection of food. Just by describing these german dishes, you make me want to try them. I look forward to reading more about your foodie adventures around Duplin County, love! You know I love to eat, so I will be waiting for more recommendations!


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