Mondays & Memories of My Mom – An Ounce Of Gratitude

Happy Monday and happy “Thanksgiving Week” to everyone! As I mentioned last week, I’m always grateful for Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalGratitudeMonth

‘Gratitude turns what we have into enough.’ – Aesop

Just as “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – an ounce of gratitude is worth a pound of good cheer! Like the ripples from a pebble tossed into the water, a simple “thanks” and a smile can go a long way. It’s well-known that gratitude is associated with positive emotions and good experiences, which are both linked to happiness; and that, in turn, is connected to good health and well-being.

In other words, gratitude improves our physical and psychological health, as well as our self-esteem. Did you know that it can also enhance empathy and reduce aggression? Gratitude helps us deal with adversity and build strong relationships. In connection with all of this feel-good stuff, it can likewise help us sleep better.

Mom loved to write about finding the blessings in everything – any given day or moment; good or bad! That’s just how she was raised, being grateful for something everyday – not just for Life’s gifts, but also for Life’s challenges. Mom willingly confronted and overcame those challenges, empowering herself to do more rather than discouraging herself to fail.

Unfortunately, just when we start feeling comfortable and happy about how life is going, we find that happiness doesn’t happen without intermissions. These are the times in which we should take stock of our lives and be grateful for the good, as well as the lessons. From time to time, we forget that nothing in life is guaranteed to any of us.

Mom was always grateful for her readers, listeners, and fans who kept her inspired with their requests to find the “secrets” to making this dish or that grocery product at home. She was also very thankful to all the media sources that interviewed, wrote, and talked about her imitations of famous foods (from radio and TV talk shows to newspapers and magazines).

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 57). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

I’M VERY GRATEFUL TO CHILI!

ONE OF THE NICEST THINGS about making chili is that it goes so far! After I had walked out of the newspaper editor’s office, telling him to ‘mail me my check,’ I didn’t know if he had fired me or if I had quit! But to go home and start my own paper was an impulsive reaction, if not foolish.

It was a nice job for a housewife with 5 kids. The money wasn’t ‘good’, but it did buy the kids a few things we couldn’t otherwise afford. Paul was working as a draftsman for a sign company in Mt. Clemens and that weekly paycheck was spent on house payments, utilities and insurance even before it was cashed. The money I earned from writing helped and I gave it up because of pride and integrity.

The first thing I did with my writing, at that time, was to take all the recipes I had published in my newspaper column and all of the articles on recipes that I had sold to ‘Lady’s Circle’ and ‘Home Life Magazine’, and secured permission to re-print my own material in a small cookbook. With Free Press columnist, Bob Talbert, to ‘plug’ the little book, I sold all 1,000 copies in a month!

Rather than re-print it at the ‘Quickie-While-You-Wait’ printer shop, I decided I would put those recipes into a monthly publication – not exactly my own newspaper, but certainly worth the opportunity to try it and see if it would pay. We lived on a lot of chili in those days…  

It fed our family of seven nicely – night after night – when there was no money for much else but hamburger and beans! And because I only owned 4 cooking pots – small, medium, large, and the no-life-guard-on-duty size, making chili and any of its spin-offs was substantial fare for us for the time being.

It was a good thing that I kept a complete list of names and addresses of those who wrote to me at the newspaper, requesting recipes, and all of those who purchased my first little cookbook, ‘The Better Cooker’s Cookbook’, for I invited each one by post card to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.

The response was sufficiently enthusiastic to cause me to take on the commitment – but, without Paul knowing anything about it, for he surely would have put his foot down and said, ‘NO!’ Until the newsletter could pay for itself, Paul thought what I was earning was coming from the ironing I did each week for other people at $5 a basket.

Since Paul worked late many nights and bowled two nights a week, he couldn’t keep an accurate account of how much ironing I really did. What I scraped together from the ironing money, I used as a down payment on a hand-cranked mimeograph machine so that I could print my own newsletter.

For nine months, I kept this from Paul; and, with our daughter Debbie’s help, put out the publication, paid off the mimeograph and saw my subscriptions reach 100 readers. That is when I was invited to appear on Dennis Wholley’s television program, ‘AM Detroit’, on WXYZ-TV. I had to tell Paul! He took it rather calmly, I thought; but now, in retrospect, I believe he was suffering from a mild case of shock from it all.

Being grateful for anything and everything is as much a part of the preparation for Thursday’s big celebration as the turkey and all the trimmings that will grace our tables as we gather together, with family and friends, to feast and be joyful. Are you ready for these coming days?

Have you paused to consider GIVING thanks – not only in prayer before your Thursday meal but also directly to everyone you come in contact with throughout the week? Thank your cashier at the busy grocery store this week and the stocking clerk who found an item for which you were looking.

Thank the person who delivers your mail, as well as those who collect your weekly trash. Thank the officers and fire fighters that protect your neighborhood. The list can be endless, but it takes only two seconds to say, “thank you”.

Life is short and fragile. All it takes is one unexpected moment or small event to change everything! What do you take for granted? Focus on the simple things that surround you and be grateful for all you have. Send an appreciative ripple to someone or simply enjoy the one someone else gave to you!

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 11-12)

WHAT’S VALUABLE – THE FAMILY

THE FAMILY IS IMPORTANT to this troubled world that seems not to know what direction to go in for comfort and relief. So, I cater, in our publications, mostly to this family, with all of the old-fashioned values I can gather and still not sound corny or even ‘preachy’!

That for which I am most grateful, however, as I see how our family has worked together in helping us to build this dining room table enterprise into a substantial and professional operation, is the friendship that has grown over the years between [Paul, me and] the five children…my cup runneth over!

LAST THOUGHTS…

This is the season of hustle and bustle, now! Keep in mind that the stresses it includes can bring out the worst in some people. But always remember that this season of giving also brings out the best in MOST people! An ounce of gratitude is figuratively worth a pound of gold.

And, as Thanksgiving approaches, I can only hope that everyone remembers those people or things for which they are grateful and, whenever possible, tells them! Start by saying “thank you” whenever possible. Everyone appreciates being appreciated!

Additionally, as you gather around the turkey-laden-table with family and/or friends, try not to let the commercialism of the other up-coming holidays interfere with your heart-felt thoughts of gratitude. As for myself, I’m eternally grateful for everything Mom gave me and taught me.

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

IN CLOSING…

Since this is still National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, here are TWO of Mom’s secret recipes for peanut butter treats – Peanut Butter Fudge from Mom’s cookbook, The Second Helping Of Secret Recipes (Nat’l Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1978, p. 12) and Peanut Butter Cookies Like You’ve Never Had Before! The latter recipe can be seen in Mom’s last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 225). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

#PeanutButterLoversMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some November month-long observances include… Banana Pudding Lovers Month, National Family Stories Month, National Life Writing Month, National Gratitude Month, Inspirational Role Models Month, and National Novel Writing Month, Diabetic Eye Disease Month, Epilepsy Awareness Month, Gluten-Free Diet Awareness MonthHistoric Bridge Awareness Month, National Diabetes Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, National Pepper Month, National Pomegranate Month, National Raisin Bread Month, National Roasting Month, Spinach and Squash Month, Sweet Potato Awareness Month (See also February), and National Vegan Month!

Additionally, this week is… National Bible Week, National Game & Puzzle Week, and Better Conversation Week (which are always celebrated the week of Thanksgiving)!

Furthermore, today is also… National Cranberry Relish Day; thus, here’s a re-share of Mom’s copycat recipe for Frankenmuth-Style Cranberry Relish!

#NationalCranberryRelishDay

Tomorrow is… National Cashew Day, National Eat a Cranberry Day, and National Espresso Day!

Wednesday is… National Sardines Day! Plus, Tie One On Day and National Jukebox Day (which is always the day before Thanksgiving)!

November 25th is… National Play Day with Dad, National Parfait Day, Shopping Reminder Day, and Thanksgiving Day – which is always the fourth Thursday in November!

Friday is… National Cake Day! Plus, as the day after Thanksgiving, it’s also… National Day of Listening, National Native American Heritage Day (plus, it’s National Native American Heritage Month), National Black Friday, National Buy Nothing Day, and National Maize Day!

November 27th is… National Bavarian Cream Pie Day, National Craft Jerky Day, and National Small Business Saturday – which is always the Saturday after Thanksgiving!

November 28th is… National French Toast Day!

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…47 down and 5 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Homemade, With Love

Happy Monday! Personally, I’m grateful for Mondays because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

Thanksgiving is less than two weeks away! This is considered to be a “special” time of year, for giving thanks for all we have. Many people do that EVERY day but there’s even more of an emphasis put on it now, through New Year’s Eve, which is now less than seven weeks away!

I’m grateful for all of our “homemade holidays”, while I was growing up. Money was usually tight for our family of seven (nine, if you count the dog and cat!) Therefore, a lot of what we enjoyed during the holidays – be it costumes, toys, cards, food, gifts, decorations, clothes, etc. – was usually homemade, by Mom, with a lot of love.

That meant so much to me, so I often tried to make my own children’s holidays “homemade, with love”, too. Like Mom, it was partly necessary, to ease the household budget; but I also wanted to create special memories for their future, as Mom did for our family.

These days, through the internet, you can find instructions and videos for making just about anything and everything simply by typing a few key words into a search box. The knowledge of the world is, literally, at our finger tips! You don’t even have to be a super crafty person – some things are really so simple!

You really don’t need to be crafty to create anything homemade – from food to gifts to decorations and so much more. Barely more than a few decades ago, home computers were not a common thing – we didn’t have the endless ideas and concepts that are inundating the internet, like we have now.

My favorite inexpensive, homemade gifts and decorating ideas often use something as simple as canning jars! Any size or style you choose, these jars are so versatile – and reusable too!  They can be filled with dry mix ingredients and a recipe card for making/baking the product.

They can also be filled with natural elements (like pine sprigs, cinnamon, etc.) for decorative potpourri to simmer in a pot of water on the stove. Likewise, they can be filled with homemade candles, soaps, or salves – there are so many “how to” sites on the web, from which to gather many inspirations and instructions.

Pinterest is one of my favorite search engines for homemade ideas that I can’t find in my Mom’s books, first. My own personal page at Pinterest, which I started many years ago, has a large eclectic collection of boards, as my interests are quite diverse.

The official Pinterest page of The Recipe DetectiveTM is another tribute I made for Mom, regarding her interests and talents. Keep in mind that I haven’t added much lately. I’m still building up boards for Mom’s page – so it’s a continuous work in progress, as is this website, too.

Everything Mom made was done so with love. I remember, when I was very young, Mom made my sisters and I a lot of “furniture” for our Barbie dolls’ “homes”, as well as their clothes and linens. She often made our own clothes and blankets, as well. Her attention to details in everything she created showed how much thought and love she put into her homemade endowments.

As I wrote in a blog post last month, Mom even used a crafty, homemade format in the designs of her newsletters and cookbooks. Much of her crafting talents were influenced, in part, by her favorite crafter, Carol Duvall; who had her own “Craft Letter” (as she called it), in the 1970s, to which Mom subscribed. Carol, likewise, subscribed to Mom’s newsletter and, when she retired her own “Craft Letter”, she recommended Mom’s newsletter to her subscribers.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Christmas Card Cook Book

(Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1983, pp. 4-5)

BREAKING THROUGH THE BARRIERS of tradition, we find a spirited acceptance of new family values. Occasions have replaced celebrations. Getting together has been replaced by BEING together! Good food, comfortable conversation [and] warm hospitality have become more important to the family circle than reverence without reason, tolerance without tact, relatives without relationships!

The lovely part about Christmas for us, was always being together – with our friends, our good and dear neighbors and our relatives; in a series of activities that began with Thanksgiving and tapered off around the new year. It was hectic, but it was also many happy reunions, mixed well with spontaneous visitations that, had they been a part of the ordinary activities of the rest of the year, would not mean so much now!

The food was simple, but ample. The food, I feel, should never be more important than the guests for whom it is prepared…All of these preparations are a part of Christmas – but not the important part. The tokens only represent the real meaning – that of loving, of letting go of old grudges, of forgetting past hurts, of looking for something good (even though you don’t see it – until you do!)

Love, most philosophers conclude, is the highest level of thought. It is the logic of the heart. And no other season of the calendar year seems to reflect more of this feeling, this consolation to our woes, than the season of Christmas!

We reach out to others – and want them, in turn, to respond to us. Some of us do it with gifts that we buy or make and some of us do it with social gestures of food and hospitality. While all of these traditions are renewed at this particular time of the year, the critics complain and the cynics look for reasons to begrudge us the pleasure of loving the season, renewing the fellowship of it – with family, friends and neighbors.

But that’s not unusual and we shouldn’t be surprised by the criticisms that try to take some of the joy out of the holiday traditions we follow – or create for ourselves. There are always critics, unfortunately, for those occasions in our lives when we wish to be glad about something…

So, on with the celebration – whether we choose to keep it quietly in our own personal fashion of religious customs, or whether we choose to make it festive and pronounced with the traditions of gifts and food. The point is, we are celebrating the season of hope… It’s a time for loving – for expressing it [and] for offering it to others! How can something like that not be good!

Our own traditions have not been very elaborate in our family, during the Christmas season; but, the things we have always done to make the holiday more enjoyable, brought us pleasure. So, we have continued with them. Whether you choose to follow traditions or to create some of your own, the underlying meaning is still there to express joy and LOVE – that incredible, curious logic of the heart!

The divine principle of good cooking is not a secret! It is taking pleasure in the activity; in the information previously retained and called upon through the facilities of memory. The spirit of good cooking is individualistic. It is not shrouded in mystery – but in love, for what you are doing and for whom you are doing it!’ – Gloria Pitzer, ‘Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter’ (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep-Oct 1987, 128th Issue, p. 1).

Even when it wasn’t the holidays, our family-meal-times were especially fun when we were taste-testing some of Mom’s famous, homemade. make-alike dishes; such as KFC-style chicken, Arthur Treacher’s-style fish and chips, Win Schuler’s-style meatballs, Woolworth’s-style macaroni and cheese – you name it!

The “duds”, as we fondly referred to those samplings that weren’t quite right enough to make it into Mom’s newsletters or cookbooks, were still made with just as much love as the final products that did…and they all tasted wonderfully delicious!

From Mom making our family budget stretch by developing homemade imitations of what could be purchased to sharing those ideas with others came the “legend” that the public came to know as The Recipe DetectiveTM! Mom loved to imitate famous foods from famous places so we could all enjoy eating out – right at home – and at less of a cost!

Homemade fast foods and junk foods – who would’ve thought it would become so popular when all the critics warned against consuming such things, for all kinds of health reasons from heart disease to diabetes. But Mom found that making homemade imitations puts the cook in charge of the ingredients, thereby, taking the junk out of junk food!

LAST THOUGHTS…

I really LOVE the old-fashioned (and priceless) homemade holidays of my childhood. When my own children were growing up and money was tight for our family, we always had homemade holidays, as well. I still have (and treasure) all the artwork and ceramic/clay creations that my kids made for me every holiday, when they were young.

Likewise, I remember Mom’s homemade gifts, from my own childhood, more often than any of the store-bought ones. My all-time favorite was a “rag” doll she made for me from scraps of material, yarn, ribbons and buttons. Oh, how I wish I still had it! Now, in hind-sight, I realize just how much love Mom poured into all of our homemade holidays.

Of course, nowadays, with the internet (and enough money), we can order just about anything we want, from just about anywhere in the world, and have it all delivered to our doorsteps. But sometimes, to me, making and receiving something homemade, with love, is priceless!

IN CLOSING…

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

#NationalFastFoodDay

Since tomorrow is National Fast Food Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Wednesday’s Hot & Juicy Hamburgers; as seen in her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 17). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some November month-long observances include… Banana Pudding Lovers Month, Diabetic Eye Disease Month, Epilepsy Awareness Month, Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, Historic Bridge Awareness Month, National Diabetes Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, National Native American Heritage Month, National Peanut Butter Lovers MonthNational Pepper Month, National Pomegranate Month, National Raisin Bread Month, National Roasting Month, Spinach and Squash Month, Sweet Potato Awareness Month (See also February), and National Vegan Month!

Additionally, starting yesterday, this week is also celebrating… National Book Award Week (which is the 14th-20th for 2021)!

#BookAwardWeek

Furthermore, today is also… National Bundt (Pan) Day, National Philanthropy Day, National Clean Out Your Refrigerator Day, National Spicy Hermit Cookie Day, National Raisin Bran Cereal Day, and America Recycles Day!

Tomorrow is also… National Button Day, and National Indiana Day!

Wednesday is… National Baklava Day, National Take A Hike Day, and National Homemade Bread Day! Plus, it’s also the start of National Deal Week (which is the 17th-23rd for 2021)!

November 18th is… National Vichyssoise Day and the Great American Smoke-Out Day (which is always the third Thursday in November)!

Friday is… National Carbonated Beverage With Caffeine Day! Plus, it’s also the start of National Farm-City Week (which is the 19th-25th for 2021)!

Saturday, November 20th is… National Peanut Butter Fudge Day and National Child’s Day!

Sunday, November 21st is… National Gingerbread Cookie Day and National Stuffing Day! Plus, as the beginning of the week of Thanksgiving, it’s also the start of National Bible Week, National Game & Puzzle Week, and Better Conversation Week!

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…46 down and 6 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Ripples Of Kindness

Happy Monday and happy World Kindness Week! As always, I look forward to every Monday because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#WorldKindnessWeek

‘No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.’ – Aesop

This week, people all around the world are celebrating World Kindness Week! Not only that but also, this Saturday will be World Kindness Day! It was on November 13th, 23 years ago, when the “World Kindness Movement” (which involves over 28 nations) launched the first World Kindness Day. That event later evolved into this week-long observance.

There are a few kindness “celebrations” throughout the year, such as National Random Acts of Kindness Week, which is in February. Kindness is so important to civilized societies that it’s celebrated often. This week, it’s celebrated world-wide!

As I wrote about in February blog post, there’s an amazing alliance, all around the world, that intends to evolve society for the better through DAILY Random Acts Of Kindness. Their website, by the same name, promotes making random acts of kindness “the norm” and offers a lot of great stories and other inspirations about different ways to spread kindness throughout the week.

There are many reasons for celebrating and promoting kindness! For one thing, kindness is known to have a lot of physical and mental health benefits for, both, the givers and the receivers, alike – okay, that’s two things! Regardless, something so simple, as being kind, literally changes lives – not only those of the receivers, but also those of the givers.

Science has proven many health benefits linked to being kind. Even psychiatrists agree that being kind to others empowers energy and self-esteem. According to The Science Of Kindness, being kind makes people happier; which causes a ripple effect, as it’s well-known to be good for our hearts and blood pressure, too. Those benefits help us live longer.

Like smiling, about which I wrote in June, kindness activates certain networks in our brains, positively improving feelings, attitudes, and mindsets; while reducing stress, anxiety, and tension. Being kind and receiving kindness, both, prompt the brain to reduce cortisol and produce more endorphins and serotonin, which simply makes you feel good.

‘Greatness is measured by kindness… real worth is measured by consideration and tolerance of others.’ – B.C. Forbes

Even a drop of kindness can go a long way. Random acts of kindness have been found to be an infectious and essential part of society. In every community, it helps to bridge the divide over race, religion, gender, politics and other such things. Kindness is a beautiful thing – no matter whether you’re the giver or the receiver.

While kindness doesn’t really make the world go ‘round (as that’s a gravitational thing), it does make the ride more enjoyable! Many believe that kindness is a contagious behavior that has the potential to change the whole world! It often sets off a pay-it-forward ripple effect. In that aspect, shouldn’t we all make ripples?

Mom was a big advocate for being loving and kind to others. She tried to be a positive example, lifting up others through her writings – from her Food-For-Thought syndicated columns (throughout the 1960s and 1970s) to her hundreds of self-published newsletters (January 1974 through December 2000) and over 40 cookbooks (1973- 2018).

‘THE GREATEST WASTE in the world is the difference between what we are, and what we could be!’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 10)

Mom loved to combine her unique, copycat recipes (aka: food-for-the-table) and household hints with food-for-thought articles, and food-for-the-soul inspirations – like a homemade quilt! That’s part of what made her books and newsletters stand out from all the rest!

Mom also wrote a few books that were full of just her food-for-thought editorials and inspirational ideas. Throughout, Mom would continuously emphasize the importance of being kind and loving and really caring about each other. She held a strong faith in Love and all the things it could overcome and yield. Mom would often inter-changed the word “Love” with “God”.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 30)

MAKING PEOPLE HAPPY

HAVE YOU EVER HAD your day suddenly turn sunshiny because of a cheerful word? Have you ever wondered if this could be the same world because someone had been unexpectedly kind to you. You can make today [that way] for somebody! It’s only a question of a little imagination, a little time and trouble. Think now, ‘What can I do today, to make someone happy?’

Is a single heart rejoicing over what you did or said?

Does the one whose hopes were fading, now with courage, look ahead?

Do you waste the day or lose it? Was it well or sorely spent?

Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say,

‘You have earned one more tomorrow, by the work you did today.’?

Since we were toddlers, in pre-school and Kindergarten, we’ve been taught to be nice and kind to others. According to Wikipedia’s interpretation of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Fulghum “explains how the world would be improved if adults adhered to the same basic rules as children, i.e. sharing, being kind to one another, cleaning up after themselves, and living ‘a balanced life’ of work, play, and learning.”

It’s a shame that the simple act of being kind to others is forgotten by many after they leave kindergarten. If a kindergartener can understand its importance to society, shouldn’t we all?

‘Happy is the person who has a good supply of the milk of human kindness and knows how to keep it from souring.’ –  Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 17)

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p. 15)

KITCHEN DESIGN

COOKING IS ONE OF THOSE personal accomplishments that afford us all the opportunity to express ‘talent’. We love being approved of. In fact, we eat it up! It’s the little pat on the back that gives us the incentive to continue trying. And where else, but in the kitchen, can you try to win approval with such satisfying results!

I’m very partial to my kitchen because it is the one place in our home where I feel the most comfortable! Whether I’m there alone, working on a recipe, or sitting at my desk, looking for inspiration on a new article I’m writing, or sharing a cup of coffee with a neighbor or a friend, who’s dropped by – it’s my favorite room!

I have a desk in the kitchen right next to the [sliding glass] door…that overlooks the yard. Our daughter, Debbie, and our son-in-law, Jim, gave me a flowering Crab [Apple] tree last Mother’s Day, which they planted right in the middle of the yard. I can enjoy it’s flowers each spring; also the very long bare, red branches during the autumn and it’s snow-covered limbs all winter.

It’s my sundial, by which I observed the seasons and the changes involved with this natural wonder. While the Scotch pines around this little tree never change, never go through the transition of bud to blossom to barren branches and then buds again, I can see the contrasts that are parallel to our own personal predicaments.

Some things, places – and yes, even people – never seem to change, while others go through budding and blossoming and withering away, only to come right back to life again in the sunshine of human kindness; as does my tree, in the sunshine of the seasons.

EVEN MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986,, p. 41)

SUNSHINE

SUNSHINE IN THE MORNING, moonlight at night, the fragrance of gardens, the deep silence of harvest fields, [and] the musical rattle of tea cups bring us rays of warmth, flooding through the open windows of the mind.

The laughter of happy children, the familiar tread of love [from] approaching feet, a beautiful thought, a pleasant dream, a letter, a kindly greeting, a worthwhile job to do, a joke, a song, a kindness received (and remembered) – these are things which cost us nothing but enrich us beyond all telling!

LAST THOUGHTS…

#FoodForThought

IN CLOSING…

Since tomorrow is National Scrapple Day, here is Mom’s secret recipe for Scapegoat Scrapple; as seen in her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p. 40)

#NationalScrappleDay

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some November month-long observances include… Banana Pudding Lovers Month, Diabetic Eye Disease Month, Epilepsy Awareness Month, Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, Historic Bridge Awareness Month, National Diabetes Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, National Native American Heritage Month, National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, National Pepper Month, National Pomegranate Month, National Raisin Bread MonthNational Roasting Month, Spinach and Squash Month, Sweet Potato Awareness Month (see February also), and National Vegan Month!

Additionally, as of yesterday, it’s also Dear Santa Letter Week and National Young Reader’s Week, which is always the second week of November.

Furthermore, today is also… National Cappuccino Day, National Harvey Wallbanger Day, and National Parents As Teachers Day! 

Tomorrow, November 9th is also… National Louisiana Day!

Wednesday, November 10th is… U.S. Marine Corps Birthday, National Forget-Me-Not Day, and National Vanilla Cupcake Day!

Thursday, November 11th is… National Sundae Day and Veterans Day!

Friday, November 12th is… National French Dip Day, National Pizza with the Works Except Anchovies Day, and National Chicken Soup for the Soul Day!

Saturday, November 13th is… National Indian Pudding Day!

Sunday, November 14th is… National Family PJ Day, National Pickle Day, and National Spicy Guacamole Day! It’s also my birthday! Plus, it’s the start of National Book Award Week!

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…45 down and 7 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Old Writers Never Die

Happy Monday, happy November, and happy National Authors’ Day! Personally, I always look forward to every Monday, as they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#FamilyStoriesMonth

November is, among other things, National Family Stories Month! It’s so appropriate to celebrate this in my blog posts all month, as they are always about memories I have of my mom, the ORIGINAL Secret Recipes DetectiveTM; as well as stories of our family and some of Mom’s own stories, too, in relation to random food for thought or one of the day’s “hot topics”.

#NationalAuthorsDay

Plus, as I mentioned in the opening, TODAY is also National Authors’ Day! Mom authored and self-published more than 40 cookbooks in as many years, starting in 1973. Starting in January 1974, she also wrote and self-published a newsletter for 27 years, about copycat cookery and other things that might interest the typical homemaker.

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

Relatively speaking, I should mention that November is, additionally, National Life Writing Month, National Gratitude Month, Inspirational Role Models Month, and National Novel Writing Month, too! All are awesome reasons to celebrate today and all month long! Especially to me, since I write these tributes for and about my mom, her writing talents (as well as many other talents), and her life as the pioneer who started the copycat cookery movement!

I, for one, am very grateful for the inspirational role model that Mom was to me – just as her mom was to her. I grew up, as Mom did, motivated to seize every possible opportunity (although, there were many I’ve missed over the years). Both of my parents taught me (as their parents taught them) to always put forth my best efforts, in everything I do. Everyone should have at least one good example to follow. We should also strive to be good examples, ourselves. Pay it forward!

‘I’ve had so many good examples to follow – I’ll try to be one, myself, to somebody else.’ – Gloria Pitzer (This is not a Cook Book, written and self-published by Gloria Pitzer (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)

The authoring seed was planted in Mom’s soul decades before her Secret RecipesTM business really took off in the mid-1970s. Whenever Mom was asked “how it all began”, she always found it hard to pinpoint that one single moment. However, she was initially inspired to be a writer, after watching the 1946 Warner Brothers Picture, “Devotion”, about the Bronte sisters.

Mom said that was when she began to journal, seriously – on a daily basis – usually writing about her life and faith. Mom filled journal after journal with her thoughts and feelings and observations, from the time she was 10 years old until she physically couldn’t, shortly before she passed away in January 2018.

Mom always felt that writing was her “true calling”, claiming that she made a living with her writing, but it was her writing that made living worthwhile! She had committed a little over 70 years of her life to writing – now that’s devotion!

Mom often talked about the time, after seeing the afore mentioned movie, when she had written a poem for a 5th grade writing assignment, which was published in The Detroit News. She thought that may have been the defining moment when her creative writing interests became serious. She was astonished that others found her composition to be that good! Afterwards, Mom entered creative writing contests often – and won quite a few prizes from doing so.

‘The National Essay Award, sponsored by the Daughters of the American Revolution, offered a $100 scholarship [which was a large sum in the mid-1940s] for the best essay written by a high school senior, entitled What it Means to be an American. I worked so hard on that paper – gave it my all! At graduation, I received the scholarship check and I knew, then, that I would be a serious writer after all.’ – Gloria Pitzer [My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 20)]

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 294)

[A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

DIVIDENDS

EVERY SUCCESSFUL ACCOMPLISHMENT with my writing, after high school and the one year in college, was involved with recipes and cookbooks and restaurants. But I couldn’t see that it was a kind of calling. I saw it only as an interest that temporarily kept me writing and making a worthwhile living at it.

WDEE-Radio, in Detroit, gave me a portable radio for a recipe that took 1st place in a contest they conducted – and in 1962, it was WBRB-Radio, in Mt. Clemens, that gave me a check for first place in their recipe contest. Soon after that, Better Homes & Gardens sent me a check for a recipe in a contest they had conducted.

And, in 1964, WJBK-Radio [Detroit] gave me a maple stereo and radio set for their [contest about the] most unusual experience while listening to the radio, when I wrote to them about our ‘Picnicking in the Snow’. Again, the story was food related, including recipes for having a cook-out on the beach, at Metropolitan Park [on Lake St. Clair in Michigan], in the middle of winter, with the radio going to keep us in the proper mood.

#NationalGratitudeMonth

Mom’s faith was always a part of her writing, just as writing was always a part of her faith. She wrote her own daily devotionals in journal after journal. I wish I had those journals now – or at least copies. Over the decades, Mom was greatly influenced, in her writing, by many different, talented women.

One such lady was Maya Angelou, whose story in a 1993 issue of the “Christian Science Monitor”, revealing how her devotion to writing developed with “the yellow pad”, greatly re-inspired Mom to write more about those things for which she was grateful.

Mom wrote about the inspiration on page 10 of the 1994/95 Winter issue her Secret Recipes QuarterlyTM [newsletter]. Maya Angelou was a big motivator, especially in regard to her faith-journaling. The inspiration Mom wrote about came from a 1993 interview Maya had with David Holstrom of “The Christian Science Monitor”.

As Mom wrote in her newsletter, Maya had gone “to her voice teacher in mental turmoil over having to leave her child in Europe when she returned to the States. Frightened for her sanity, she told her teacher that she thought she was going mad.”

Mom went on to tell how Maya’s teacher – instead of showing her pity – had given her a yellow pad of paper and told her to write down all of her blessings on it. Apparently Maya was frustrated, as that wasn’t what she wanted to hear. Her teacher insisted, though; suggesting she start there – with the fact that she could HEAR him! Continuing on, he pointed out that she could SEE the page and could HOLD the pen and so on!

Mom added that Maya had also said, in her interview with Mr. Holstrom, “before I reached the end of the page, I was transformed. So, everything I have written, every book, every stage play, every screenplay, was written on a yellow pad. As soon as I pick it up, I am reminded of my blessings.” Mom was eternally appreciative to Maya for renewing her own gratitude!

Happiness is a state of thought. It begins with gratitude for all we’ve already received and achieved – not with what we own or the ‘things’… – Gloria Pitzer, as seen in Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM  Newsletter, Issue #218 (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Nov. 2000, p. 5)

Born and bred in Christian Science, with some Jewish, Catholic, and Lutheran influences, as well – Mom was a very devout Christian. No matter what the problems or struggles were, she never lost faith that God had a plan for her. From her parents’ influence, Mom would always try to find something in every day from which to learn, as well as for which to be grateful.

Mom not only wrote about her faith in her own personal journals but also in all of her cookbooks and newsletters. She shared it publicly and openly, like Maya Angelou; with hopes to inspire and help others, who may be at their own crossroads of trials and tribulations.

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 22)

MY WRITING WAS NEVER A HOBBY

JOURNALISM IS A PECULIAR profession to follow. I’ve been a serious journalist [since graduating high school in 1954]. I’ve worked among writers who wrote to live, while the rest of us lived to write. We had to communicate, to reach out to someone with ideas…thoughts…reasonings and remembering.

While I live to write, I must consider that others do not. Writers never retire, not if they’re truly writers. Editors may retire and reporters may retire…at some given point. But, OLD WRITERS NEVER DIE, they just run out of words.

LAST THOUGHTS…

I never thought I’d see the day that Mom would run out of words. I miss her so much. However, her words live on forever in all of her books, newsletters, and columns! I’ve heard from quite a few people, since starting these blog posts a few years ago, who’ve told me that they still have copies of Mom’s publishings and how special they are to them.

Please email me at therecipedetective@outlook.com or contact me on Facebook (@TheRecipeDetective), with YOUR memories of my mom! I’d love to hear from you, too!

Since this is also National Deep Fried Clams Day, here is Mom’s imitation of Big Boy-Style Fried Clam Sauce/Dip; as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 7).

#NationalDeepFriedClamsDay

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some November month-long observances include… Banana Pudding Lovers Month, Diabetic Eye Disease Month, Epilepsy Awareness Month, Gluten-Free Diet Awareness Month, Historic Bridge Awareness Month, National Fun with Fondue Month, National Native American Heritage Month, National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, National Pepper Month, National Pomegranate MonthNational Raisin Bread Month, National Roasting Month, Spinach and Squash Month, Sweet Potato Awareness Month (See also February), and National Vegan Month!

Additionally, it’s… National Fig Week (which is always November 1st-7th)!

Furthermore, today is also… National Calzone Day, National Vinegar Day, National Cook For Your Pets Day, and National Cinnamon Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a re-share of Mom’s recipe for homemade Cinnamon Ornaments!

Tomorrow is… National Deviled Egg Day and National Ohio Day! For the former (plus, it’s also National Diabetes Month) here’s a re-share of Mom’s secret recipe for Sugar-Free Deviled Eggs!

November 3rd is… National Housewife’s Day, National Sandwich Day, and National Stress Awareness Day – which is always the first Wednesday in November!

November 4th is… National Chicken Lady Day, National Candy Day, National Cash Back Day and National Men Make Dinner Day (must cook… no BBQ allowed!) – which is always the first Thursday in November!

November 5th is… National Doughnut Day and National Jersey Friday – which is always the first Friday in November!

November 6th is… National Nachos Day, National Bison Day (which is always the first Saturday in November), and National Play Outside Day – which is always the first Saturday of EVERY MONTH!

November 7th is… National Bittersweet Chocolate with Almonds Day and Daylight Saving Time Ends – which used to be the last Sunday in October but is now always the first Sunday in November! It’s also the start of World Kindness Week, which is always the week of the 13th! Plus, it’s Dear Santa Letter Week and National Young Reader’s Week, which are, both, always the second week of November!

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…44 down and 8 to go!

 

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Americanized Halloween

Happy Monday to everybody – and a chilling, un-official, Halloween week (literally – burr)! As for myself, I look forward to every Monday of the year, because they’re my 52 Chances in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

It’s less than a week until Sunday, when America’s second largest commercial holiday (next to Christmas) arrives! Halloween has come a long way from its origin, as a Celtic pagan ritual, a couple thousand years ago, to the Americanized holiday that millions of people celebrate today.

The most prevalent change for observing Halloween in America started in the 1800s, with the influx of Irish immigrants that came here. Popularity grew for celebrating the day with community parties and neighborhood gatherings for local families and celebrators of all ages. The special events focused more on kinship and cooperative spirit and less on evil pranks, ghosts, and witchery; often including festive music, costumes, games, seasonal foods, and a bonfire.

By the 20th century, parades, pumpkin-carving, and neighborhood “trick-or-treating” were also added into the mix of celebration activities. Families were encouraged by their communities and the local media to take the scariness out of what was once known as “All Hallows Eve”. To learn more about the origins of Halloween and how it came to be what we celebrate now, check out History.com.

When I was growing up, in Algonac, in the 1970s, I remember going with my family to fun Halloween parties at our local Lions Club, where Dad was a member for at least a decade. They would have adult and children’s costume contests, arts and crafts projects for the kids, hayrides, games (like bobbing-for-apples and 3-legged races), music and dancing. There would also be a big bring-a-dish-to-pass smorgasbord and a classic bonfire.

Mom usually made our costumes until we were big enough to create our own. I can remember dressing up as a ghost, witch, black cat, scarecrow, hobo, Raggedy Ann, and an angel. I also remember making our own popcorn ball treats, with Mom, to take to school for Halloween parties. Did you know that food is the most common denominator in almost any commemoration or celebration, in any country, regardless of culture or religion?

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

No Laughing Matter, a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer (no date on reprint)

[Originally printed in her syndicated Food For Thought column, circa 1969]

HALLOWEEN TRICK IS FINDING WEIRD ATTIRE

EVERY YEAR, I KEEP hoping somebody will do something about Halloween costumes. Shopping for really weird costumes poses a problem when we are still offered the same monotonous choices we were given back in the Neo-Saddle-Shoe days of [my] own tarnished youth.

Somehow, I’ll locate those boxes in the attic that contain all the rain-soaked, Donald Duck outfits, Bozo suits, Frankenstein masks with missing elastics, and the gypsy attires. And if I do, I’ll be able to clothe an entire hippie colony for at least a year.

Somewhere, I also have a box of threadbare pillowcases stained with licorice and lipstick that didn’t wash out. However, if I’m lucky, I won’t have to give our 12-year-old a bag this year because he says he’s ‘going to eat the stuff right on the spot!’ And, if it’s an especially good year, he promises to save me all the chocolate Easter bunnies he gets. Mike told me not to worry about getting his sister a mask, ‘since Debi doesn’t need one!’

I’ve decided their father can take them trick-or-treating this year! I’m still quite hurt from the tactless comment made by the neighbor at the end of the block, who offered me the candy corn last year because he thought I had a sensational costume. Trouble was, I wasn’t wearing one! I looked like an accident, going somewhere to happen!

‘That’s my mom!’ Mike told the man. ‘But if you think she looks scary now, you should see her in the morning!’

That kid is going to get underwear for Christmas! In fact, a few more comments like that may turn me against honesty, altogether.

Actually, some of the costumes the kids have dreamed up, themselves, have shown more ingenuity than the manufacturers who produce kids’ costumes that are somehow programmed to self-destruct before a mother can find a safety pin to fasten the neck opening.

You’d think, for $2.98, they would at least put gripper snaps or zippers or supply you with their safety pins on those skimpy outfits. Do they care that a mother cannot locate a safety pin when she needs one, without summoning the aid of Mannix and Mr. Keane, Tracer of Lost Persons?

Trying to find safety pins for Halloween costumes in October is as likely as finding D batteries for Christmas toys in December!

Naturally, all my good suggestions went out the window, so the kids tried to put their own costumes together and I’m supposed to act surprised, when they come calling at our house Halloween night. Now, maybe I won’t be able to recognize my offspring, but one thing’s for sure… I can certainly identify my sheets!

Or, if you’ll excuse the pun – they don’t have a ghost of a chance of fooling me!

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Food For Thought, a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer [circa 1973]

EVERYDAY IS HALLOWEEN AROUND HERE!

WHERE WE LIVE, IN Halloween Heights, trick-or-treat is nothing to get excited about. I mean, explaining mischief to the kids in this neighborhood is like trying to explain sex to Dr. Reuben. With the kids on our block, Halloween is a way of life; religiously observed on any day that has the letter ‘Y’ in it!

Last year, we rushed out and bought 100 pieces of penny candy. A lot of good that did! The first kid who rang our doorbell wanted to borrow a cup of bullets. The year before that, nobody rang the doorbell… Somebody had stolen it.

And to think that when we first moved into this neighborhood, from the ‘big city’ 8 years ago; things were so dull all we had to look forward to was our dentist appointments. We couldn’t wait until some families moved in, with children for ours to play with.

Imagine our surprise when we got our wish but learned that those kids gave incentive lectures to pickpockets. They carry their BB guns around in violin cases. Even their sweatshirts are inscribed with slogans like ‘Boris Karloff is a SISSY!’ ‘The mafia wants to join you!’ And… ‘Do unto others before they do it unto you!’

Halloween to these kids is about as exciting as Girl Scout Thinking Day is to the Godfather. They don’t have time to fool around with child’s play. At least, not until they’ve finished putting up all of their signs, reading: ‘KEEP ON THE GRASS!’

I don’t understand them at all. Halloween used to be a marvelous time for masquerading and mischief when our parents would take us to the Five-and-Dime to select a costume and warn us not to fall for the first ugly face we see.

The kind of costumes we used to wear for trick-or-treat would completely turn off today’s kids. After all, they dress that way for school every day. There was always something so wonderfully scary about when we were kids. The kids in this neighborhood aren’t scared by anything.

They aren’t afraid of their parents. They aren’t afraid of the police. They’d probably run Godzilla out of town if they had the chance! For the kids in this neighborhood, doing a good deed is making a contribution in your name to local crime statistics.

Be careful! If one of them ever asks you for the time, it means they want your watch! Listen! Because of the kids in this neighborhood, my Avon lady sends me my order BY MAIL!

Remember how kids used to swallow goldfish as a teenaged prank? Well, around here the kids swallow piranhas! Fortunately, though, they haven’t bothered me much. Somebody told them the syndicate has a contract on me – and they didn’t realize that it meant my column was being carried in newspapers across the country.

It wouldn’t do any good to pass out candy to these kids this Halloween. By the time they ring the bell, we look through the peep-hole, unfasten the lock, slide back the bolt, unhook the chain, leash-up the German shepherd, disconnect the burglar alarm, and open the door – it would be Thanksgiving!

LAST THOUGHTS…

Even though winter is right on its heels, I love the fall season, with its slightly warm days and chilly nights (perfect for sleeping)! At this time of year, my memories often flood with recollections of all the fall and winter homemade holidays from my childhood – Halloween through St. Patrick’s Day. Mom was quite crafty and usually made almost everything by hand. She greatly influenced me in doing the same for my own children.

In fact, the crafty, homemade format Mom used in her newsletters and cookbooks was influenced, in part, by her favorite crafter, Carol Duvall. In the 1970s, Carol had her own “Craft Letter” (as she called it), to which Mom subscribed; and she, likewise, subscribed to Mom’s newsletter.

Mom and Carol became fast friends in the 1970s. When they first met, Carol had a 5 minute crafting segment on WDIV-TV (in Detroit), called “Here’s Carol Duvall”. Years later, she moved from the Detroit area to Traverse City. Then she was a regular on ABC’s “Home” show in California (1988-1994), on which she got Mom an interview invitation. Afterward, she hosted “The Carol Duvall Show” on HGTV (1994-2005) and then she moved her crafting talents to the DIY network (2005-2009).

Soon after Halloween, in what’ll feel like the blink of an eye, Thanksgiving will be upon us. Equally as quick, that celebration will be followed by the hustle and bustle of all the December holidays and then the new year will be here! 2022 – it’s only 68 days away, which is only about 9 and a half weeks or two and a quarter months from now. Wow! Don’t blink!

REMINDER: OCTOBER IS ALSO NATIONAL BOOK MONTH & NATIONAL COOKBOOK MONTH!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

IN CLOSING…

Since it’s still National Caramel Month, National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, and almost Halloween, here’s one of my favorite homemade treats from Mom’s copycat recipe collection – homemade Caramel Corn & Peanuts, like Cracker Jack’s; as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Second Helping Of Secret Recipes (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1978, p. 12).

#NationalCaramelMonth

#NationalPopcornPoppinMonth

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

October’s month-long drink/food-related celebrations include… Eat Better & Eat Together Month, National Apple Month, National Applejack Month, National Bake and Decorate Month, National Cookie Month, National Dessert Month, National Pasta Month, National Pickled Peppers Month, National Pizza Month, National Pork MonthNational Pretzel Month, National Sausage Month, National Seafood Month, Pear and Pineapple Month, Rhubarb Month, Spinach Lovers Month, and Vegetarian Month!

Other October observances that could be food-related include… Italian-American Heritage Month, National Fire Prevention Month, National Reading Group Month, National Go On A Field Trip Month, National Kitchen & Bath Month, Polish American Heritage Month, National Women’s Small Business Month, National Work and Family Month, and Self-Promotion Month!

Today is also… National Greasy Food Day and National Sourest Day!

Tomorrow is… National Tennessee Day, National Pumpkin Day, and National Mincemeat Day!

Wednesday, October 27th is… National American Beer Day, National Navy Day, and National Black Cat Day!

Thursday, October 28th is… National Chocolate Day and National First Responders Day!

October 29th is… National Cat Day, National Oatmeal Day, and World Stroke Day! Plus, as the last Friday in October, it’s also… National Breadstick Day !

October 30th is… National Publicist Day and National Candy Corn Day! Plus, as the last Saturday in October, it’s also… National Trick or Treat Day!

Sunday, October 31st is also… National Caramel Apple Day and National Magic Day!

#TGIM

…43 down and 9 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Michigan Map Dots

Happy Monday! If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you probably know that I always look forward to Mondays, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share, with you, Memories of My Mom!

#TheRecipeDetective

Last week, I heard a story about a fellow Michigander who’s literally been collecting map dots, traveling to every town in our state. He has an awesome Facebook page, called Scott’s Michigan adventures,  where he’s been depicting his travels. I thought it was very inspiring, as my husband and I love exploring Michigan, too! However, we’ve never physically collected the map dots.

I’ve written a number of blog posts about how much we love to hit the road, whether for a day trip or a weekend get-away; like Mom and Dad always did, especially to explore our beautiful state. In my completely Michigander-biased opinion, having been raised by two other born-and-bred, proud Michiganders, this is one of the most beautiful states in our country!

In a couple other blog posts, I’ve mentioned that Michigan has 3,288 miles of shimmering, fresh water coastline; bordering four of the five Great Lakes, which are part of the historic St. Lawrence Seaway. In fact, Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline in the U.S., and we live less than a mile from where it goes by our hometown of St. Clair. We love seeing the big ships pass through our area, which has been home to many captains of the Great Lakes’ freighters.

#PureMichigan

Moreover, Michigan is second only to our largest state, Alaska, for the greatest length of U.S. coastline; regardless of whether it’s sea or fresh water. My husband and I consider ourselves lucky to live in such a phenomenal state! Given enough time and money – and especially a better vehicle – we’d love to travel and explore the historic lighthouses and towns that dot Michigan’s shoreline. Now there’s a bucket list, all by itself.

Within its thousands of miles of shoreline, Michigan also has over 19 million acres of forests that cover 53% of the state – most of which is considered timberland. This state is home to an abundance of significant places and beautiful sights. By the way, the brilliant fall colors are in full bloom in the northern half of the state right now – and can be seen from space!

What’s more, this state is (or was) the home of many famous people, iconic foods, and renowned restaurants – past and present. Even more than that, as I’ve also mentioned in previous blog posts, it’s home to a lot of special Americana oddities!

My husband and I love to discover those little peculiarities that make each Michigan town we visit special. After all, every town has a story to tell. Rose City is a Michigan map dot we visited this summer that’s home to a phenomenon we call “gravity hill” (aka: “magnetic hill” or “ghost hill”). Have you ever experienced rolling UP a hill?

Just a few months ago, we enjoyed this peculiar experience near the end of an old gravel road, called Reasoner. A large farm sat at the end of the road, up a second, larger hill. It was truly amazing when we started rolling backwards, while in neutral, UP the small hill we just came over!

Good directions to this spot (and instructions) can be found at http://www.eureka4you.com/magnetichillworldwide/RoseCity-MI.htm. But a really good video of the same experience we had can be viewed at https://99wfmk.com/reasnerroad2018/.

We have a book, called Weird Michigan, by Linda S. Godfrey (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.; New York, NY; 2006), which has been one source of inspiration for some of our explorations. Page 182 mentions Rose City’s “gravity hill” marvel.

The book also tells about another hill, at a Michigan map dot called “Putney Corners”, in Blaine Township; which is in Benzie County, south of the Traverse City area and west of Crystal Mountain. I’ve also heard of a similar one just across the Mackinac Bridge, near St. Ignace, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Both of those are now on our new bucket list of Michigan map dots.

There are some map dots, within a couple hours’ drive from us, that we enjoy so much we visit them at least a few times each year. One such place, located near Saginaw, was also a favorite map dot of Mom and Dad’s, called Frankenmuth.

Tourists flock to this village from all around the world and stand in line for hours to get one of the world-famous chicken dinners offered at either one of the two largest establishments in the middle of town – the Bavarian Inn and Zender’s.

This town’s German heritage exudes from its many restaurants, bakeries, fudge shops, hotels, breweries and other quaint little stores that line the mile-plus length of the main street through town – from Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland to the Frankenmuth Brewery! Below is a re-share of Mom’s imitation of Frankenmuth’s famous chicken.

During the 40 years that Mom investigated different restaurant dishes, as The Recipe DetectiveTM, she came up with about a dozen imitations from some of Frankenmuth’s establishments; including some of the other world-famous dishes available at the town’s two major restaurants. Mom also imitated some of the sweet confections from the town’s wonderful bakeries and fudge shops.

After Mom and Dad became empty-nesters, their travels really blossomed. They bought a camper and toured even more – often mixing work with pleasure (as Mom’s work was her pleasure). Figuratively speaking, they collected a lot of map dots, not only in Michigan but all over the U.S. It was undoubtedly much more affordable to do, with only the two of them!

Joining the Good Sam RV club was always one of their most favorite experiences and a big source of wonderful map dot memories. Mom had many scrap books full of photos and special keepsakes from all of their trips with the Michigan and Ohio chapters of Good Sam.

Mom also wrote about the trips she and Dad took, often, in their newsletter issues – from the new restaurant dishes they tried, as they traveled, to the marvelous dishes they experienced at some of Good Sam’s “bring-a-dish-to-pass” events, during their “Samborees”. Equally notable were the great friendships they developed everywhere they went.

To the Good Sam RV Club (MI & OH Branches): “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet with and talk to people from all over the country, relative to their recipe interests and food needs… Since our camping experiences with…’Good Sam’, [Paul and I] have truly adopted their slogan, ‘In Good Sam, there are no strangers – only friends we haven’t met yet!” – Gloria Pitzer (1989)

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May-June 1987, 126th issue, p. 3)

GOOD SAM – CARING AND CAMPING

FRIENDS ARE THOSE PEOPLE who know everything there is to know about you, but like you anyhow! …Needless to say, I can’t wait until we can begin our ‘motor-home camping’ again with our Good Sam friends. It’s our weekend vacation pleasure, May through October.

Becoming part of the Good Sam organization is the best thing that has ever happened to us, where we could both enjoy mutual friendships and activities. Wonderful, caring people, who constantly remind us that ‘there are no strangers in Good Sam – only friends we haven’t met, yet!’

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Jan-Feb. 1988, pages 1 & 4)

GOOD SAM, GOOD EXAMPLE

ONE THING AMONG MANY that I have learned from Good Sam, the national RV organization, to which Paul and I have belonged for three years now [since 1985]; is that you should never ever withhold your enthusiasm for caring about others.

Never regret anything you do or say on behalf of the good it might bring to those [about whom] you care – for, if your motives are unselfish, and your intentions are to encourage or enrich or benefit others, you can’t lose. You should jump right in, adding enthusiasm to whatever it is that you are doing that might appear to be just a passive condition when enthusiasm is needed.

Try a little enthusiasm! …Enthusiasm and optimism go hand-in-hand with happiness. These provide us with an emotional springboard from which we can dive quite smoothly, into deep and troubled waters, and still surface refreshed and invigorated.

The trouble with trying to be happy all the time is that most people look for one particular condition or experience or possession, from which they hope to derive complete contentment, forgetting that happiness is a moment – not a forever!

LAST THOUGHTS…

When planning your next road trip to explore some amazing places, be open to taking a few fascinating detours and don’t forget to journal your map dots, while discovering the coolest, off-the-beaten-path places along the way! Here are a few other basic tips…

  1. Always bring a real map, as there really are places that don’t have any cell service for miles.
  2. Allow extra time and gas (or electric charge – whatever the case may be) for spontaneity. In case you decide to take a detour.
  3. Stop frequently and take breaks – smell the roses, photograph the memory, and talk to the locals.
  4. Pack a cooler with some drinks and snacks, even if you plan to eat at restaurants along the way. You know what they say about the best laid plans…

#NationalCaramelMonth

#NationalBakeAndDecorateMonth

#NationalDessertMonth

Since this is National Caramel Month, National Bake And Decorate Month, and National Dessert Month, here’s Mom’s imitation of Awrey’s Bakery Caramel Frosting for Cakes; as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 8). Awrey’s Bakery originated in Detroit – another Michigan map dot!

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

REMINDER: OCTOBER IS ALSO NATIONAL BOOK MONTH & NATIONAL COOKBOOK MONTH!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

October’s month-long drink/food-related celebrations include… Eat Better & Eat Together Month, National Apple Month, National Applejack Month, National Cookie Month, National Pasta Month, National Pickled Peppers Month, National Pizza Month, National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, National Pork Month, National Pretzel MonthNational Sausage Month, National Seafood Month, Pear and Pineapple Month, Rhubarb Month, Spinach Lovers Month, and Vegetarian Month!

Other October observances that could be food-related include… Italian-American Heritage Month, National Fire Prevention Month, National Reading Group Month, National Go On A Field Trip MonthNational Kitchen & Bath Month, Polish American Heritage Month, National Women’s Small Business Month, National Work and Family Month, and Self-Promotion Month!

Additionally…

As the third week in October, this is… National Kraut Sandwich Week! Plus, the third FULL week in October is also… National Wolf Awareness Week, National Business Women’s Week, National Friends of Libraries Week, National Free Speech Week, and National Retirement Planning Week!

Furthermore…

Today is also…National Chocolate Cupcake Day! Plus, as the third Monday in October, it’s also… National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day!

Tomorrow is… National Kentucky Day and National Seafood Bisque Day! Plus, as the third Tuesday in October, it’s also… National Pharmacy Technician Day!

October 20th is… National Youth Confidence Day and National Brandied Fruit Day! Plus, as the third Wednesday in October, it’s also… National Hagfish Day and Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day!

October 21st is… National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day! The third Thursday in October is also… National Get Smart About Credit Day! Additionally, as the third Thursday of the fourth quarter, it’s… Get to Know Your Customers Day, too!

October 22nd is… National Make a Dog’s Day, National Nut Day, and National Color Day!

October 23rd is… National Boston Cream Pie Day, National Mole Day, and National TV Talk Show Host Day (also Johnny Carson’s birthday)! Plus, as the fourth Saturday in October, it’s also… National Make A Difference Day!

October 24th is… National Food Day, National Bologna Day, and United Nations Day! Plus, as the fourth Sunday in October, it’s also… National Mother-in-Law Day!

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…42 down and 10 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Gone But Not Forgotten Eateries

Once again, happy Monday! Personally, I love Mondays! They’re my 52 Chances per year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

Detroit has been home to many famous restaurants in the past century. Gone but not forgotten are influential places like the Ponchatrain, Roma Café, and Topinka’s to name a few momentous restaurants from days of old. The Machus Red Fox was another influential, Detroit bistro; infamous for being the last place Jimmy Hoffa, former Teamsters’ Union president, was seen alive before he “disappeared”!

The London Chop House was yet another historical Detroit eatery (owned by the Gruber brothers), where many famous, elite people dined. “The Chop”, as it was called, went through some really hard times in the 1980s, finally closing its doors in 1991. However, it was re-opened in 2012 by a new owner, gambling on nostalgia to re-kindle what once was. So far, even throughout the past 19 months of Covid-based restrictions, it’s paid off!

Mom developed a few imitations from each of these famous places’ selections, but that’s not all. Department store dining rooms were another niche in the food industry, from which Mom found inspiration, imitating “famous foods from famous places”.

DepartmentStoreHistory.net claims: “The three biggest department stores in the mid-1960s, both in sales volume and physical size, were Macy’s, Hudson’s, and Marshall Field, in that order.”

The mention of Hudson’s (a former Detroit icon) particularly brought back many wonderful childhood memories of shopping and dining with my mom and sisters, in the 1970s. Hudson’s was one of Mom’s favorite department stores! In fact, she imitated about three dozen offerings from its dining room and bakery. They were famous for their Maurice Salad. Here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitation.

Likewise, Alex Witchell wrote an article (Feb. 25, 2019) about the best department store restaurants, which I found at NYPost.com. In it, she reminisced about those by-gone days of shopping and lunching with her own mom and sisters. Of course, I related to a lot of it. Another great read, about department stores with amazing restaurants, is by Katherine Martinelli (July 20, 2018), at EatThis.com.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 16)

HUDSON’S OF DETROIT – THE WAY IT ONCE WAS!

During the financial panic of 1873, Joseph L. Hudson was a young man, working with his father in a men’s clothing store in Michigan. Times were hard. Customers couldn’t pay their bills. After Joseph’s father died, partly from worrying, young Joseph struggled with the business for about three years and eventually went into bankruptcy, in spite of all he tried to do to bring the business up.

He paid his creditors 60 cents on the dollar and, with great determination, began over again! Through remarkable enterprise and ingenuity, in 12 years, he owned a store in Detroit. Even more remarkable, he located all the creditors whose claims had been erased by the bankruptcy proceedings and paid them in full – even though they did not ask it of him.

This so astounded the business world, in 1888, that Hudson’s reputation as an honest man, caring for his customers as much is his creditors, that word spread and the store became one of Detroit’s most important, not only in the state, but eventually in the entire country.

He established major shopping centers in metropolitan Detroit, beginning in 1953 with the magnificent Northland Center, the first of its kind in the country. At the time of this writing [1997], Hudson’s, merged with Dayton and with Marshall Fields, no longer offers the personal hometown touch that it used to have…

Their original building on Woodward and Farmer Street, in downtown Detroit, once controlled the shopper’s mecca with Kern’s and Crowley’s, as well, in that area. We have seen the passing of a great institution, but I am so glad I did not lose the precious recipes [for which] the Hudson’s dining room and bakery were known…

When Mom used to take me and my sisters to the malls and department stores it was an all-day “working” and shopping event, combined! Each of us girls would get a handful of Mom’s business cards and, while we shopped, we’d stick them in various places throughout the stores.

I always thought it was so fun! It was a really innovative way to advertise locally to her target audience, which then was the homemaker, like herself. Mom found her inspiration for this marketing method from an interview she heard of an award-winning car salesman from the Detroit area.

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 43)

MARKETING INSPIRATION

To make the mimeograph pay for itself, I even printed up my own business cards on it, using dime-store construction paper and then cutting the cards apart with scissors until I had neat little stacks of about 50 [each] and a total of 200-300 cards. These I distributed at the mall whenever and wherever we might be in one. Paul did not know I was doing this, at first, either, or he would’ve disapproved.

It was unprofessional and risky, but I thought anything was worth a try and what I could do ‘quietly’ until I could prove it was either a mistake or a benefit, would have to be my little secret. Well, actually, the kids were a part of that secret too.

I had heard an interview on TV or radio with ‘the world’s most successful salesman’, who was a Chevrolet salesman in Detroit and who believed heartily in business cards, placing them everywhere and anywhere that it was allowed.

From his story, I found it was easy to drop my card into the pocket of a bathrobe in the ladies’ wear [area of] the department stores and in the purses and tote bags, on public phone booth stands, [in] restaurant restrooms, even in cookbooks in the bookstores. From these, you’d be surprised, we DID hear from people who wanted to know about my recipes, which was the first experience I had with public response.

After a couple hours of shopping and “advertising”, we’d take a lunch break in one of the department stores’ dining rooms.  While doing her “investigative review”, Mom always found something new, to mimic at home. Another notable “gone-but-not-forgotten” Detroit area restaurant is Stouffer’s. Long before the company became a frozen food empire, in 1946, it was first famous for its creameries and then for its restaurants; opening one in Detroit, in 1929.

Sanders, still famous for its sundae toppings and chocolate delicacies (but which is now owned by Kar’s Nuts), is another company that once had a famous eatery in Detroit, serving more than just sweet treats. Mom loved going there as a young girl to eat at their lunch counter. She developed at least 56 imitations from Sanders’ offerings.

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 38)

SANDERS

Fred Sanders was born in Biehl, Baden (Germany) in 1848 and brought to this country at the age of one… His father, a baker, settled his family in Peru, Illinois and it was there that Frederick learned his first baking lessons, after school and in the evenings. But his hopes went beyond what he viewed as the prosaic business of baking white bread and rolls.

At 17 years, he sailed for Germany to learn the secrets of confectionery and catering. With passport in hand, personally signed by William Seward, Secretary of State in the Lincoln Cabinet, he worked his way across the Atlantic as a ship’s baker.

He learned his trade rapidly in Karlsruhe. Within three years he opened his own small shop on a narrow street in Frankfurt. The shop prospered but his young wife, Rosa, wanted to return with him to America; where, after less than successful experiences in Philadelphia and Chicago, including being burned out by the great Chicago fire of 1871, Frederick finally came to Detroit.

They started all over again. With some misgivings, he opened the shop on the northeast corner of Woodward and State Streets – where the J. L. Hudson’s block was to rise later. With limited capital drained to outfit his shop, Frederick managed a loan from W. H. Edgar, founder of Edgar’s Sugarhouse.

Within a year, Frederick’s products were recognized as quality and he moved across Woodward, just north of Michigan Avenue, where he remained for many years and prospered. He created the first ‘soda’ as we know it today – and by accident, when some sweet cream softened. It was an instant success.

Once… a fan he used to cool his foods continually broke down. He called for someone to service the fan, which contained one of the first electric motors made. The electric shop sent over a young man to repair Mr. Sanders’ fan, and it is of interest to note that the young man’s name was Henry Ford. He fixed the fan – and it ‘stayed fixed’ – without causing Mr. Sanders any further interruptions in business.

Frederick Sanders brought his son-in-law, John Miller, into the business in 1900, taking him away from Colonel Goebel, the Detroit brewer. With this, the Sanders Company’s success was certainly charted. Concurrently, the business became a partnership, shortly after the founder’s death in 1913, when John Miller and Frederick’s son, Edwin, and his grandson became the company’s chief officers and owners. In 1970, Sanders had more than 50 of their own stores and over 300 departments in supermarkets.

LAST THOUGHTS…

REMINDER: OCTOBER IS ALSO NATIONAL BOOK MONTH & NATIONAL COOKBOOK MONTH!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

IN CLOSING…

Since this is National Apple Month and National Dessert Month, plus, Thursday is National Dessert Day – here’s Mom’s imitation of “Apple Crisp, Like Holiday Inn’s” [from the 1960s]; as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 13).

#NationalAppleMonth

#NationalDessertMonth

#NationalDessertDay

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of October’s month-long drink/food-related celebrations include… Eat Better & Eat Together Month, National Applejack Month, National Bake and Decorate Month, National Caramel Month, National Cookie Month, National Pasta Month National Pickled Peppers Month, National Pizza Month, National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, National Pork Month, National Pretzel Month, National Sausage Month, National Seafood Month, Pear and Pineapple Month, Rhubarb Month, Spinach Lovers Month, and Vegetarian Month!

Additional October observances that could be food-related include, among other things… Italian-American Heritage Month, National Fire Prevention Month, National Reading Group Month, National Go On A Field Trip Month, National Kitchen & Bath Month, Polish American Heritage Month, National Women’s Small Business Month, National Work and Family Month, and Self-Promotion Month!

Moreover, as the week of October 16th, this is also… National Food Bank Week!

Today is also… International Day of the Girl Child and National Sausage Pizza Day! Plus as the second Monday in October, it’s… Native American Day and Columbus Day, too! Plus, it’s the start of… National School Lunch Week! In honor, here’s a re-share of Mom’s secret recipes for Lunch Box Brownies With Fudge Cake Icing!

Tuesday, October 12th is… National Savings Day, National Vermont Day, National Freethought Day, National Farmer’s Day, and National Gumbo Day!

October 13th is… National Train Your Brain Day, National Yorkshire Pudding Day, and National Take Your Parents To Lunch Day (which changes annually)! Plus, as the second Wednesday in October, it’s also… National Curves Day!

Friday, October 15th is… National Shawarma Day, National Cheese Curd Day, National I Love Lucy Day, National Grouch Day, and National Boss’s Day!

October 16th is… National Sports Day, National Liqueur Day, National Dictionary Day, Global Cat Day, and Department Store Day! Plus, as the third Saturday in October, it’s also… National Sweetest Day!

Sunday, October 17th is… National Mulligan Day and National Pasta Day!

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…41 down and 11 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Original Secret Recipe Detective

Happy Monday and happy October to everybody! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalWomensSmallBusinessMonth

#NationalWorkAndFamilyMonth

#SelfPromotionMonth

October is chucked full of wonderful, month-long observances. Among them, in relation to Mom, are… National Women’s Small Business Month, National Work and Family Month, and Self-Promotion Month! Additionally, this is also National Book Month and National Cookbook Month!

When Mom left her job at the newspaper, in the early 1970s, she went home to start her own business; incorporating our whole family into her dining room table operation. Call it fate or whatever – Mom carved out a unique niche in the food industry that people, like herself, needed and wanted!

She called her concept “copycat cookery”! She also described it as “eating out at home” and “taking the junk out of junk food”, among other things. Mom was determined to discover how to imitate America’s favorite, famous fast food & restaurant dishes at home, as well as frozen and shelf-stable grocery items.

If it saved her household money, she wanted to share it with others, because, she believed, great recipes were meant to be shared! She was an innovator in the 1970s – developing her own copycat recipes and marketing her talents, herself, through the media – which, then, consisted only of newspapers, magazines, television and radio talk shows. No internet!

In the early years of her business, Mom sold her recipes individually, printed on 4”x6” index cards from a mimeograph she kept in our laundry room. She began with a small catalog that quickly grew to about 200 recipes. Then she expanded, publishing her own monthly newsletter and blazing that trail of uniqueness through all the “Betty Crockers” and “Julia Childs” of that time.

It didn’t seem to take long before Mom’s recipe library grew even more through requests from her growing fan-base. She then began self-publishing multiple cookbooks (at least one a year for over 30 years!) She was getting national, as well as international recognition for being the Secret Recipe DetectiveTM – the title given to her by her fans. Here’s Mom’s story in her own words…

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 292-293). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

BEHIND THE SCENES

PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR OF SECRET RECIPES or ‘The Recipe Detective’ are the names that my friends in radio and newspapers have given to me, and I enjoy living up to that assignment! I enjoy working with these recipe secrets, but most of all, I enjoy writing about them.

I’ve been writing all my life… Going way-back to when I was in grade school. I was always writing a book, or a poem or a short story. It was a way of life from my earliest memories – a way over which I seem to have no personal control! I had to write… Preferably about what I knew best at the time. Little did I know that what I would come to know best would be cooking!

The one year that I spent at Michigan State (when it was still a college, mind you…) was one year in which I learned 2 important things – I could not pass my Creative Writing course and I was ‘kicked out’ of Home Economics!

My Creative Writing instructor told me that I typed a neat looking paper and probably should be a secretary, for I would never make it as a writer. My Home Economics instructor advised me to spend the rest of my life having my meals delivered, for I was always finding fault with the way so many cookbooks were written.

I took a position with the J. Walter Thompson Advertising company in Detroit, working as a secretary to the copywriters. I met my husband, Paul, there when he returned from a 4-year tour of service with the Air Force. We started dating and one year later we were married. That was 1956.

Bill was born over a year later, and then Mike came 20 months after that, and Debbie came along 20 months after that. I lost 3 babies in the next 3 years, but Laura was born in 1964 and Cheryl came 20 months after that. During those years, Paul was working for a sign company in Mt. Clemens, Michigan – where, in the 20 years he spent with them, he did everything from drafting to purchasing agent to account rep!

I kept up with my writing, always working for one of the suburban papers and constantly free-lancing to magazines. When Redbook sent me $500 for my ‘Young Mother’s Story’ submission in February 1963, called ‘We’ll Never Live with In-Laws Again’, I put part of the money into a typewriter, as I had always had to borrow one before that.

I wanted a typewriter more than Reagan wanted to be president! I put a lot of miles on that $39.95 machine – I designed a column for weekly newspapers and mailed out samples to over 300 newspapers. Within a year, I had acquired 60 regular papers for my ‘No Laughing Matter’ column and another column I called ‘Minding the Hearth’.

Columbia Features in New York offered me a contract, and, for a year, I allowed them to syndicate the column in competition with a new humorist, Erma Bombeck! (Right church, wrong pew for me!) When a big city paper carried Erma’s column, Columbia placed mine in their competing paper. I split with Columbia on a 60/40 basis (I took 40) and finally, by mutual agreement, we broke the contract. I was on my own.

HOW SECRET RECIPESTM BEGAN

When Columbia Features and I parted company, they had acquired only 2 additional papers from me and lost several more. Within 6 months, I had regained all my original papers and was syndicating the column from our dining room table, where we then lived in what my friend, Bob Allison, called ‘beautiful downtown Pearl Beach’…

We had a 9-year old station wagon at that time. It burned oil and barely got Paul to work and back without something breaking down! I rode a bike to and from the Pearl Beach post office every day where I mailed out my columns and… looked for responses to ads I had placed in the Tower Press and Grit magazines for recipes on 4×6-inch cards that enabled you to imitate famous dishes at home.

BOB ALLISON’s ‘ASK YOUR NEIGHBOR’

I was a regular participant on Bob Allison’s ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ radio show that aired 5 days a week for 2 hours in the morning. I used Bob’s program for asking for food information that I needed for my weekly columns. Bob’s audience was very helpful in supplying me with answers. To reciprocate, I would reply to some of the requests made by his audience when they called into Bob’s show.

It was a unique format in that one could not simply call in a recipe or information simply because they wanted to share it with others. The information or the recipe had to, first, be requested by a previous caller. Many of my first ‘Secret Recipes’ were developed because of requests made specifically by Bob’s callers for such dishes as The Colonel’s secret spices, Arthur Treacher’s fish batter, Sander’s hot fudge, Win Schuler’s bar cheese and so on.

At the suggestion of one of Bob’s callers that I should put all my [Cookbook Corner] column recipes into a book, I wrote my first edition [1973] called ‘The Better Cooker’s Cookbook’. In less than a month, I had sold 1000 copies… I didn’t reprint it – but decided that it might work out better if I could do those recipes monthly.

So, in December 1973, I put together my first issue of what came to be my ‘Secret Recipe Report’, a newsletter that… brought me in contact with the many so-called secrets of the commercial food and restaurant industry… That afternoon, I put out my charter issue, sending samples of it to those whose names and addresses I had on file from having written to me at the paper. That was the beginning of ‘Secret Recipes’!

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 295). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

WE WANTED OUR CAKE AND WE WANTED TO EAT IT, TOO!

We wanted to eat out at a price we could afford; and, when we couldn’t afford to eat out, we wanted to dine-in as if we were eating out! At the time, there were few recipes for this kind of cooking. We wanted to spend less time preparing the foods and less money on the ingredients and still serve a dish to those who shared our table with us that would be equal to – if not better than – anything we could buy in a restaurant or from a supermarket. For all of these reasons, I have pursued the investigations of the food industry with the greatest joy and the utmost care, translating into recipes, those secrets that I have been able to decipher.

LAST THOUGHTS…

REMINDER: OCTOBER IS ALSO NATIONAL BOOK MONTH & NATIONAL COOKBOOK MONTH!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

IN CLOSING…

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

#NationalChiliWeek

#NationalChiliMonth

Since this is National Chili Week, as well as this being National Chili Month, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Chili Mignon, Like Chasen’s Chili”; as seen in her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 63). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

October’s month-long drink/food-related celebrations include… Eat Better & Eat Together Month, National Apple Month, National Applejack Month, National Bake and Decorate Month, National Caramel Month, National Cookie Month, National Dessert Month, National Pasta Month, National Pickled Peppers Month, National Pizza MonthNational Popcorn Poppin’ Month, National Pork Month, National Pretzel Month, National Sausage Month, National Seafood Month, Pear and Pineapple Month, Rhubarb Month, Spinach Lovers Month, and Vegetarian Month!

Other October observances that could be food-related include… Italian-American Heritage Month, National Fire Prevention Month, National Reading Group Month, National Go On A Field Trip Month, National Kitchen & Bath Month, and Polish American Heritage Month!

Additionally…

Today is… National Cinnamon Bun Day, National Taco Day, and National Vodka Day! Plus, as the first Monday in October, it’s… National Consignment Day and National Child Health Day! Also, as the first full Mon.–Fri. work week in October, this is… Customer Service Week! And as the first Mon.-Sun. week in October, it’s also… Financial Planning Week!

Tomorrow, October 5th is… National Rhode Island Day, National Do Something Nice Day, and National Apple Betty Day! Plus, as the first Tuesday in October, it’s also… National Eat Fruit At Work Day! 

October 6th is… National Orange Wine Day, National Plus Size Appreciation Day, National German-American Day (this is also German-American Heritage Month), and National Noodle Day! In addition, as the first Wednesday in October, it’s also… National Pumpkin Seed Day and National Walk to School Day (plus, it’s International Walk To School Month)!

Thursday, October 7th is… National Chocolate Covered Pretzel Day, National Frappe Day, and National Inner Beauty Day!

Friday, October 8th is… National Fluffernutter Day, National Hero Day, and National Pierogi Day!

October 9th is… National Moldy Cheese Day! And, as the second Saturday in October, it’s also… National Costume Swap Day and I Love Yarn Day!

Sunday, October  10th is… National Angel Food Cake Day, National Cake Decorating Day, National Handbag Day, and World Mental Health Day (speaking of which, it’s also… Positive Attitude Month!) Additionally, as the week of the 16th, Sunday is also the start of… National Food Bank Week (likewise, it’s Tackling Hunger Month, too!)

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…40 down and 12 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Happy Fall And Family

Happy Monday and happy fall y’all! I always look forward to Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalFallFoliageWeek

I LOVE fall – it’s definitely my favorite season! I adore the crisp, cool nights and lukewarm days. I love seeing the trees change colors. Incidentally, yesterday was the start of National Fall Foliage Week! I also love going to the cider mill for fresh apples, donuts, and (of course) cider. Plus, Octoberfest jubilees are popping up everywhere!

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Speaking of which… October is almost here! Thus, we’re rounding the bend, this week, for September’s finale. However, it is still September for a few more days, so there is still time left to celebrate some of its many wonderful observances – such as…

…National Fall Hat Month, International Update Your Resume Month, National Little League Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, National Chicken Month, National Courtesy Month, National Honey Month, National Italian Cheese Month, National Library Card Sign Up Month, National Mushroom Month, National Potato Month, National Rice Month, National Sewing Month, and National Whole Grains Month! But that’s not all…

Moreover, since this is the last week in September, it’s also… National Keep Kids Creative Week! Additionally, relative to that, since this is the fourth Monday in September, today is also… National Family Day; which promotes making and sharing meals together, as well as family bonding around the kitchen table.

#NationalFamilyDay

#SelfImprovementMonth

September is also Self-Improvement Month! Family meals, prepared and eaten together, provide vast opportunities for strengthening ties, building better relationships, and creating a sense of belonging, which leads to better self-esteem.

When my siblings and I were growing up, Mom always made our meals family-style! We’d fill our plates and talk about our days, passing the serving dishes around the table while elbowing each other whenever Mom and Dad weren’t looking. We’re far from being the Brady Bunch or Walton’s family!

We ate together because that’s how our meal was served. The food may have been like that in a restaurant, but Mom would always remind us that our kitchen wasn’t a restaurant where you could drop in any time and place an order for whatever you’d like. In our household, you ate what was made and when it was served, or you would probably have to go hungry until the next meal.

However, I can’t remember any of us even being willing to miss one of Mom’s meals, so that was never really an issue in our household. Mom would always joke about being a bad cook in her many editorials but, even before she became famous for being the Secret RecipesTM Detective, she really was a great cook!

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1983, p.6)

COOKING IS MORE THAN TURNING ON THE STOVE – IT’S PLEASING PEOPLE!

As often as we put things off, in life, it’s a shame that we don’t care more about the ‘now’, the ‘todays’, the here-I-am and here-you-are, and what can we do for each other to make things as good as possible for [both of] us! I know! There are people who can’t be bothered with such nonsense. They have jobs to work and bills to pay, things to worry about and goals to achieve.

‘If you’re going to talk about cooking and foods… what are you going off on tangents for, talking about people and their feelings?’

This is a question I’ve been asked over and over by inquiring reporters, wanting to know why we’re successful at what we do, why people go to such trouble to locate us and order our books! I think they answer their own question. Don’t you?

After all, cooking is not for robots! The way we present our food to those who share our table with us takes into account more than plopping the pot roast onto a platter and announcing, ‘Supper’s ready!’ Is that where it ends? When a meal is presented, there are many considerations for the cook.

Besides the balance, nutritionally, there’s the effort to please those who will hopefully enjoy the food. And trying to please those you’re feeding is a direct appeal, a definite effort, to consider someone’s feelings, the feelings of enjoyment and consequently of approval – approval of the food and… the one who prepared it.

Every day, the homemaker, with a family to feed, meets the challenge of proving they can be proficient, both, in the selections of foods, [as well as] the preparation and presentation of it and the management and the management of the cost.

Cooking is more than turning on the stove and opening the refrigerator. It’s pleasing people! It’s caring about what they might like to eat. It’s doing your best to prepare and present the dishes so that mealtime is not just a daily routine – but an occasion.

The cookbook industry has offended us… as if the recipes were designed for mindless bodies – not for folks with feelings! Food fanatics continue to advise us on how to feed the body while we let the famished affections go hungry.

The critics’ smoking guns right now are aimed at curing physical maladies with food administered medicinally. Food, as medication, is used as both a preservative and a cure. But what heals the broken spirit – the sensitive, the distressed, the lonely, the shy and withdrawn?

It takes more than adequate fiber intake; minimum daily nutritional needs being filled to cure the body of ills created by stress and anguish. It takes loving, caring and being loved and cared about in return!

There was a time, not very long ago, when the average family’s busy lifestyle made it difficult to eat a single meal together, let alone three – with both parents working outside the home and the kid’s after school activities and weekend sports.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck and, unexpectedly, families were, more or less, confined together, 24/7 – for all the meals and everything else in between, as well! Our homes suddenly became our hubs, encompassing the office, school, gym, salon, cinema, eatery and so much more!

‘The divine principle of good cooking is not a secret! It is taking pleasure in the activity; in the information previously retained and called upon through the facilities of memory. The spirit of good cooking is individualistic. It is not shrouded in mystery – but in love, for what you are doing and for whom you are doing it!’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen on the front page of the 128th issue of Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Sep-Oct 1987).]

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1983, p.10)

HAVING A GOOD ATTITUDE TOWARD COOKING

Having a good attitude toward cooking, is the most positive way to approach the experience. Some folks really LOVE to cook, and they consequently do it well. But many of them can only turn out a handful of dishes perfectly and, therefore, limit their cooking practices, as well as their opportunities to eat foods that are unfamiliar to them.

Cooking is one of those skills that improve with practice, as does anything we undertake. But most of us are so conditioned to living in a world of instants that if a dish requires more of us than to add water – or to defrost and heat – we’re at a total loss in the kitchen!

Our life styles are changing more and more each day. We’re living in the age of fast food, instant coffee, Minute Rice, … one-step floor cleaners, quick breads, split-second decisions, rapid transit travel and planes that go 700-MPH – so why shouldn’t cooking be hurried along as well?

When you don’t really like to cook, it’s hard to imagine that it does have a positive side to the experience. Gourmets live to cook, while the rest of us cook to live – and just as often, would prefer it if we didn’t have to cook at all. This attitude toward getting the whole thing over with as soon as we can, is a reflection of the pride we fail to take in our accomplished dishes. When you thrive on compliments for your culinary skills it’s different.

When you do not have a positive interest in good cooking practices, you, likewise, don’t expect your creations to warrant compliments. The best thing for you to do is start ‘small’ – working with only a few ingredients at a time, until you get the feeling of how certain foods go well together, what flavorings compliment them, the best way to present the food when you serve it, so that it looks even better than it will taste.

Long, complicated recipes that require numerous ingredients and pampering are not always as good as those dishes that require only a few ingredients and a short time to prepare. We have made the mistake of believing that ‘fast’ food is totally without merit, therefore cannot be wholesome, nutritious, nor worth the time and cost, but ‘fast’ can be good if it is properly prepared.

LAST THOUGHTS…

One more thing I love about fall is my “fall cleaning” ritual. Just like in the spring, I actually get a little giddy about flipping the mattress, rotating the seasonal clothes, and moving the living room furniture around – just some of the things I usually do in the fall (and spring) season. I know I’m strange – this is me – I’m okay with it!

This time of year also harvests more Americana nostalgia, decreased stress levels, and increased creativity. It’s time to put away the summer essentials and tidy up our homes to usher in the fall seasonal holidays. Furthermore, on average, Americans spend about six hours per week cleaning their homes.

The American Cleaning Institute estimates that over half of Americans dread cleaning the bathroom, while almost a quarter hate cleaning the kitchen, one-fifth dislike dusting and mopping, and about one-sixth loathe doing the laundry. Sorry, Mom – your most hated housekeeping task, making the bed, did not make it onto this list! Personally, dusting is my least favorite, mostly because it impacts my allergies more than anything else.

#NationalCornedBeefHashDay

In honor of TODAY, being National Corned Beef Hash Day; plus, this is still National Americana Month and Better Breakfast Month – here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Glorified Hash, which I thought, when I was growing up, was a lot like the Libby’s product but better. This recipe was among Mom’s “Original 200” recipe cards collection and appeared in her very first, self-published cookbook… The Better Cooker’s Cookbook (Happy Newspaper Features, Algonac, MI; 1973, p. 35).

COMING SOON…

OCTOBER IS NATIONAL BOOK MONTH & NATIONAL COOKBOOK MONTH!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Other celebrations for this week include:

Today is also… National Chocolate Milk Day!

Tomorrow, September 28th is… National Drink Beer Day, National Good Neighbor Day (which used to be on the 4th Sunday), National Strawberry Cream Pie Day, and National North Carolina Day! The fourth Tuesday in September is also… National Voter Registration Day!

September 29th is… National Coffee Day and VFW Day! The last Wednesday in September is also… National Women’s Health & Fitness Day

Thursday, September 30th is… National Love People Day, National Chewing Gum Day, National Mud Pack Day, and National Hot Mulled Cider Day

Friday starts the month of October, which observes, among other things (pictured below)…

October 1st is also…  National Homemade Cookies Day! Plus, as the first Friday in October, it’s… National Manufacturing Day, National Body Language Day, and World Smile Day, too! The week of October 1st is also… Active Aging Week!

October 2nd is… National Fried Scallops Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of the month, it’s also… National Play Outside Day!

Sunday, October 3rd is… National Techies Day and National Boyfriend Day! As the start of the first FULL week in October, it’s also… International Post Card Week and National Newspaper Week!

#TGIM

https://nationaldaycalendar.com/national-thank-god-its-monday-day-first-monday-in-january/

…39 down and 13 to go!