The days when hospital food equals bland, inedible mush or that old standby Jell-O may be behind us. OK, bland is still part of the equation. But a recent stay in a Northern California hospital had us eating a tofu stir-fry for dinner, and feeling overwhelmed at the plethora of menu choices. The breakfast menu alone was astonishing in its length and variety: It even included jook!

Of course this isn’t haute cuisine we’re talking about—the rice in our stir-fry was gummy, and at breakfast our scrambled eggs tasted like they might’ve started out as a powder—but it’s certainly a heartening start. Though it almost seems a shame to put that much effort into improving the fare: Most stays in a hospital involve circumstances that pretty much guarantee a lack of appetite, so a lot of food probably goes to waste (we left several items untouched, and it had nothing to do with the kitchen’s skill level). But frankly, any effort to make a hospital stay more comfortable is laudable.

Image: Earl Otsuka

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