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CHECK THE TASTE BUDS

Mel Torme is singing the praises of hospital food.

For the first time since he suffered a stroke in August, Torme is dining on solid food and passing compliments to a hospital chef for a meal of mashed potatoes, turkey and spinach.

"Doctors are thrilled with his progress," publicist Rob Wilcox said Wednesday.

The 71-year-old singer, known as the Velvet Fog because of the smooth, silky sound of his voice, suffered a stroke Aug. 8 that caused slurred speech and weakness on his left side. The name of the Los Angeles-area hospital where he's being treated wasn't released.

"The food's very good here," Torme commented, according to the publicist. The singer added, "Tell everyone I love them."

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