The Up Beat: Food for the Soul

A continuing series of good news/happy stories — an exercise in #AffirmationCulture. 

This sweet (and savory) story comes to us from Baltimore (and Vermont) — hat tip to Managing Editor Jen Van Laar for spotting it and forwarding it along to me.

As reported by KNBC out of Los Angeles, the owners of a Baltimore restaurant went above and beyond in preparing a meal for a longtime customer with a special affinity for one of their specialties.

Maryland resident Brandon Jones, 37, knew it would be a long shot, but he had to try.

His mother-in-law, who is in the final stages of lung cancer and has stopped treatment, had fallen in love with the tempura broccoli dish from Ekiben in Baltimore, so he emailed one of the owners, Steve Chu, requesting the recipe.

Jones intended to make the recipe for her at her home in Vermont that weekend.

Chu’s response was more than Jones ever expected. The chef, who specializes in Asian fusion cuisine, offered to meet Jones and his wife, Rina, in Vermont to make it fresh.

“I emailed back, saying, ‘You do know that this is Vermont we’re talking about, right?’” Jones told the Washington Post. “It’s a six-hour drive.”

Chu didn’t let that deter him. He and co-owner Ephram Abebe, along with another colleague, Joe Añonuevo, made the drive and prepped the dish out of the back of their truck so that Jones’ mother-in-law could enjoy her favorite.

As Rina Jones explained:

Rina told the Baltimore Sun that her mom has struggled to eat because of sores on her mouth from the cancer but managed to devour the special meal.

“My mom cried later about their generosity and so did I,” Rina Jones said. “They made so much food that she had it again the next day for lunch. It’s something we’ll never forget — I’ll carry that positive memory with me, always.”

That part of the story really got me. My own mother is currently battling Stage IV lung cancer and, though she’s doing fairly well, struggles with her appetite (an issue compounded by the fact that her sense of taste and smell have diminished in recent years), so I know well the desire to find dishes she loves and will truly enjoy eating.

What a lovely, kind gesture by a business that undoubtedly has faced its own struggles this past year. I don’t know when I’ll next be in Baltimore, but you can be certain that when I am, I’ll make a point to pay them a visit.

Ekiben features a photo of the delicious dish on their Instagram account:

Ekiben’s Tempura Broccoli


If you come across any good news stories you’d like us to share here, please send them to [email protected].


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