Nolan and I were simultaneously struck down by colds yesterday morning, and we have been in pretty sad shape today thanks to lack of sleep. Before I was too miserable, I managed to bake the Perfect Party Cake above to take to Nolan’s preschool for a teacher appreciation lunch; the cake plate came back to us practically licked clean, so as far as I am concerned, this recipe is a big winner.

Shortly after finishing the cake, however, my poor sick little kiddo decided that the best medicine was clinging relentlessly to his mama, so cooking dinner was out. My mom stepped up to the plate with an odd little family tradition: yakami (we pronounce it YAH-cah-mee). Honestly I don’t even know how it is spelled, because as far as I know, the recipe has never been written down, but it extends at least as far back as my mom’s childhood, maybe longer. My mom thinks it was probably originally her family’s version of some Chinese soup.

Yakami is basically just bone-in pork steaks boiled in water; you skim the foam off the resulting broth and chop up the pork, then serve it all together in big bowls with spaghetti noodles, hard-boiled eggs, scallions, and an offering of ketchup and Worcestershire sauce to stir in for seasoning. It is inexpensive to make and nearly impossible to eat efficiently, but very filling and customizable.

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