Allison Day
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A cookbook for my grandma

Three years ago, Son and I decided to write a cookbook.

Now, lest you get any crazy ideas… no, I do not have a cookbook deal to announce. No, this will never be available for purchase. No, most of these recipes will never be posted on Fridgg (my mother would murder me). And no, I will never be writing my own cookbook (I’ll leave that to the other Allison Day, who does quite a fine job of it! Seriously, go buy her cookbooks, she’s awesome.)

No, this was just a little pet project, that turned into a really big pet project, that we finally finished just in time to order them and hand deliver each and every one of them to all my family members at Thanksgiving last year.

Stack of cookbooks, cover

Suffice to say, if I ever had any urge to write a cookbook, I’ve gotten it all out now. Between cooking, photographing, writing, designing, and editing an entire cookbook, we nearly lost our minds… and we didn’t even have to develop the recipes! Mad respect for all the actual published cookbook authors out there – it’s a heck of a lot of work.

Sadly, both of the people who inspired me to put together this cookbook – my grandmother, who was responsible for all these recipes becoming family favorites, and my dad, who wrote the original “Mrs. Kaji’s Cookbook” when I was a child – passed away before we finished this project. However I was lucky enough to be able to show both of them a good number of the photos before they passed away, and both were very happy with the result.

Inner pages of cookbook

So why am I sharing this now? Well, today would have been my grandmother’s birthday, so I figure there’s no better day to show off something we made in her honor.

Plus it’s just a really good excuse to show off the photography that Son did for the cookbook. (And I also want to point out – LOOK AT HOW BEAUTIFULLY HE DESIGNED THE ENTIRE COOKBOOK. He’s amazing.) 😁

So, without further ado, here are all the dishes and photos that went into the cookbook:

okazu, stir-fried vegetables

okazu okazu
stir-fried vegetables stir-fried vegetables

crescent tuna melt

crescent tuna melt crescent tuna melt crescent tuna melt

spaghetti casserole

spaghetti casserole

barbecued frankfurters, tempura

barbecued frankfurters barbecued frankfurters
tempura tempura

spaghetti sauce

spaghetti sauce spaghetti sauce

beef stew

beef stew beef stew


enchiladas enchiladas

teriyaki chicken

teriyaki chicken teriyaki chicken

sweet and sour chicken wings, fish sticks

sweet and sour chicken wings sweet and sour chicken wings fish sticks

miso soup

miso soup miso soup

fried rice

fried rice fried rice fried rice fried rice

potato salad, chicken chow mein

potato salad chicken chow mein

cube steak, family steak teriyaki

cube steak cube steak family steak teriyaki

lazy man’s pot roast

lazy man's pot roast lazy man's pot roast

burrito meat, strawberry jam

burrito meat strawberry jam

chocolate layer cake with chocolate ganache

chocolate layer cake with chocolate ganache chocolate layer cake with chocolate ganache chocolate layer cake with chocolate ganache chocolate layer cake with chocolate ganache

tsukemono, seven layer dip

tsukemono seven layer dip seven layer dip

cheese roll

cheese roll cheese roll

rice stuffing, bread stuffing

rice stuffing rice stuffing bread stuffing

candied yams, yam pie

candied yams yam pie

banana cream pie

banana cream pie banana cream pie banana cream pie

cream puffs, gelatin salad, finger jello

cream puffs gelatin salad finger jello

ritz cracker peanut butter sandwich cookies

ritz cracker peanut butter sandwich cookies ritz cracker peanut butter sandwich cookies


snickerdoodles snickerdoodles

date bars, refrigerator cookies

date bars date bars refrigerator cookies

pecan bars

pecan bars pecan bars pecan bars

rolo pretzels, shoyu almonds

rolo pretzels shoyu almonds

shoyu chex mix, hot chocolate mix

hot chocolate mix shoyu chex mix shoyu chex mix


(This was our cover photo, hence the odd layout.)

wontons wontons wontons

stuffed somen salad

stuffed somen salad stuffed somen salad stuffed somen salad

chinese chicken salad, shrimp and cucumber tsunemono

chinese chicken salad shrimp and cucumber tsunemono

deep-fried pork strips

deep-fried pork strips deep-fried pork strips

Hello, Venice! {May 2014}

Since we had a weekend in the middle of our Stuttgart business trip, we decided to take full advantage of it.

First thing in the morning on Saturday, we headed off to the airport.

And ate some slightly crushed macarons for breakfast.

This is a totally normal thing to do in Europe, I promise. 😏

We jumped on an Air Berlin plane.

On our flight within Germany, there was a group of guys goofing off, and going up and down the aisle. In the US they might have been met with annoyance, but here the flight attendants let them make an announcement over the comm system. We couldn’t understand a thing they said (it was all in German, of course), but these guys had the entire flight cracking up.

Soon, we landed in…


Just kidding, this was a short layover before our final destination.

Off we go again.

(This time with snacks!)

And soon, we landed in Venice.

Our true destination!

Since the airport itself is on the mainland, we had to find transportation to get to the island of Venice. I believe there’s a train you could take, or you could hire a taxi to drive you to the island.

But come on, this is Venice! Of course we took the Vaporetto.

It’s a bit of a long walk from the terminal to the Vaporetto.

But soon, we made it to the docks.

It was a very bumpy ride on the Alilaguna water bus, definitely an interesting experience.

We took the orange line to the Rialto stop.

Hello, Venice!

We made our way away from the Grand Canal, in search of our hotel.

The area just east of the Rialto is quite touristy, with lots of high-end shops. We breezed past there as quickly as we could, and avoided it for the most of the rest of the trip.

Soon, after a few twists and turns (and wondering if we’d gotten lost), we found our hotel – the Superior Starhotels Hotel.

After a little trouble with our room key (we had to get it reprinted twice), we dropped our backpack in the room and headed out to explore.

Sadly, we neglected to get any photos of our room (we take so many photos every time we travel, but always neglect to get a photograph of our hotel room!) But it was the most charming room, with a beautiful, private view a quieter canal.

We didn’t get far before stopping for gelato.

When in Italy…

After all, it was quite a warm day…

And I’m pretty sure my five year-old self would have been quite pleased to learn I had ice cream for breakfast at least once in my life!

Spring Festival, Stuttgart, Germany {May 2014}

One of the lovely things about being further north than we’re used to in late spring, is how late it stays light outside.

In LA at this time of year, the sun would be setting before 8pm.

But in Stuttgart, we’d get more than an extra hour of sunlight every evening.

This came especially in handy midway through our time in Stuttgart – we were there for just over a week, arriving in Germany on a Tuesday evening and leaving a week later on a Wednesday morning.

On Friday, after several long days of work, our German coworkers decided it was time for everyone to go party!

So at around 7pm that evening (though with that light, doesn’t it look like it’s first thing in the morning?!) we all hopped on the train.

And headed to…

The Stuttgart Spring Festival!

Apparently this festival is quite a big deal.

We were told people travel from all around to attend this festival. And apparently it’s quite common for everyone to don their lederhosen and dirndl for the festival – the closer we got to the festival, the more people we saw dressed up!

The festival is huge, filled with all sorts of rides, carnival games, and dozens of food stalls.

We found a table with all of our coworkers, then each of us gradually wandered off to find something to eat.

(So many options!)

Son and I started off with probably the least German food at the entire festival – salmon salad with honey mustard sauce.

(After all the rich food we’d been eating in Europe, we were craving something a little lighter and healthier.)

But not to worry!

Our health kick didn’t last long.

When in Germany… gotta try the currywurst.

And, of course, couldn’t skip the bratwurst!

After all that, it was time to find dessert.

We kept coming back to this Baumstriezel shop… so finally decided to try one.

Baumstriezel is like a very thin rolled pretzel, backed on cylindrical forms, then coated in whatever topping you desire.

We got a cinnamon-sugar baumstriezel – very tasty.

Then got to watch drunken Germans dancing on tables to American country music.

As you do.

We headed back to the hotel after that… it may be the weekend, but we had an early morning the next day! After all, there’s so much to discover in Europe, had to make the most of it…

Weekly Wanderings {2017 week 11}

My wanderings around my world this week started with…

Refrigerator tetris.

A packed refrigerator

Lunch with a good friend.

Bánh bột lọc for breakfast.

Everything… is beautiful… at the ballet!


Love this idea. Who would your alter ego be?


Where are you wandering this week?


Hegel Eins, Stuttgart, Germany {May 2014}

Throughout our Europe trip, we couldn’t get over how green it was!

Especially in Stuttgart. Germany was by far the greenest (both in color and in eco-friendliness) of the countries we visited.

Coming from California, where we’re perpetually in a drought… all this green (and cold, and rain) is unheard of for us.

So beautiful.

While in Stuttgart, our coworkers took us out somewhere around the city every night of our trip.

The first night was at a restaurant called Cafe del Sol, which one might compare to a Red Robin or a Cheesecake Factory – huge, loud, great for groups, with a long menu of food that wasn’t anything amazing, but wasn’t bad either.

(I got the Penne Honey – honey mustard sauce on penne with chicken and rocket – which wasn’t bad, while Son tried the “Asian Noodles”… which had very little to do with anything we’d consider Asian. I wasn’t feeling too hot that day, so we didn’t get any photos.)

The second day, they had reservations at a restaurant named Hegel Eins.

(By the way, it was explained to us that in Germany, graffiti is more a form of street art, and not necessarily a sign of a bad neighborhood like it often is in the US.)

The restaurant was located in a museum, and was completely empty when we all arrived.

It was a very interesting, but also very odd place.

When it came time to order, Son opted for the Weiner Schnitzel.

I decided to try the Rabbit Ragu.

(Between the two of us, Son definitely made the better choice. His weiner schnitzel was fantastic! My rabbit ragu was bland, and not that great.)

After dinner, they brought out dessert plates for all of us to share.

It included some sort of strawberry rhubarb cup, a chocolate cake, and popcorn ice cream.

We all hesitated over the rhubarb, and dug into the cake.

And also discovered… popcorn ice cream is strangely delicious.

I haven’t yet replicated any of the dishes we tried in Germany, but first on my list is that popcorn ice cream…