Mondays & Memories of My Mom – A Labor of Love

I was going to continue from the end of last week’s blog, regarding Mom’s experiences from being on the Phil Donahue Show. Then, I decided I needed to write more about Mom’s back story first – who she was before becoming that “Secret Recipes” “trail blazer in the 70’s.”

The best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry. No matter how carefully a project is planned, something may still go wrong with it. The saying is adapted from a line in “To a Mouse,” by Robert Burns: “The best laid schemes o’ mice an’ men…” [from https://www.dictionary.com/browse/the-best-laid-plans-of-mice-and-men-often-go-awry]

Mom used to tell me, “life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.” In other words, while we’re busy making plans for how we’d like our lives to be, life changes and all we can do is hop on the wave and go with the flow…”re-calculating” as we go.

Mom’s first love was writing. As a girl, she dreamed of writing a great American novel one day. She loved to write short stories and poetry. In high school, she pestered her school’s newspaper “sponsor”, Mr. Rosen, to let her be on the staff. She told me that he had no hope for her as a reporter, but she set out to prove him wrong anyway. From her love for writing, she also became Secretary of her January 1954 Senior class at Royal Oak High School in Michigan. Sharing that love of writing with Mom was Judy Guest (who became the author of “Ordinary People” about 20 years later.) Mom said Judy had also worked on the Royal Oak High School paper and everyone knew that she was destined to be a great author – it was in her genes. Judy, like Mom, was also Secretary of her Senior class (June 1954 – 6 months after Mom’s class.)

However, Mom’s own dream of writing “a great American novel” never came to fruition, as “life” took her in a slightly different direction. Every successful accomplishment that Mom had with her writing efforts in and after high school and college involved cooking and recipes in some manner. In the 50’s and 60’s, she won multiple contests on radio shows and in magazines for recipes; as well as for food-related stories, articles and essays that she wrote and entered. With the prize money from one contest in 1963, she bought her first typewriter, as she had always borrowed one before then.

As a wife and mother, Mom found her ‘family life’ to be the best subject about which to write. She was very creative and funny. She designed a few columns for weekly papers on that new typewriter, mailing out samples to over 300 newspapers. Within a year, she was writing two different columns (“No Laughing Matter” and “Minding the Hearth”) for 60 regular papers. She even created her own cartoons (similar to “Family Circle”), which she called “Full House – as Kept by Gloria Pitzer”. They depicted her life as a wife and mother of 5 in the mid-60’s to mid-70’s. Yet, Mom still did not see recipes as a “calling” – to her, it was merely an interest that kept her writing and making a living from it.

Then, when she was writing a regular food column, syndicated through Columbia Features, she realized there was a niche – no cookbooks on the market took the monotony out of meal time for her. There wasn’t even a single recipe in the newspaper’s food section that didn’t come off, to her, as “down-home dullness.” She approached the editors with an idea to change things up from the usual meatloaf and chocolate brownies recipes. They told her to write the recipes that she thought would excite the readers, and so she did! The readers loved it! However, the food industry advertisers of the paper were not so happy with her inventive ways to make family-favorite, “fast-food” meals like you were “eating out at home.”

So, the editors asked her to go back to the monotonous meatloaf and chocolate brownies recipes or “pick up her check.” But, it was too late…the bug had bitten her, and she realized this was her calling. She told them to mail her the check, and she went home to start her own paper! She knew someone needed to give homemakers, like herself, something more. The food industry was so much bigger than what was being offered in the colored, glossy magazines and the cookbooks of those days. Fast food recipes weren’t found in any cookbooks back then – and these were the types of restaurants that struggling, middle class families would frequent when they wanted an affordable meal out. What were they to do when they couldn’t afford to take their family out for such a treat? Mom knew! Make it at home! And she couldn’t wait to investigate all the possibilities there were to offer from this new platform!

 

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – A Legacy of Love

To blog or not to blog? That is the question…and I’ve been asking myself that for a while now… as well as, about what should I blog?

Hi! I’m Laura Emerich, and Gloria Pitzer is my mom!

I’ve always loved to write, draw and craft things since I was very young. The arts (on so many different levels) seemed to run in my blood. If there’s an artistic gene, our family seemed to be blessed with it… and it was something my parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles would always encourage and nurture further in us whenever we created something.

Over the years, my mom has personally inspired me in so many ways…as a writer, artist, crafter, homemaker, cook, mother, teacher, aide, etc. How she managed to juggle all of these same hats with a husband and 5 kids for which to take care always amazed me (except for a few of my teen years, when I thought I knew better than she.) When I became a mother, myself, (and got a little older and wiser) it all made so much more sense – about why she did things the way she did. However, I had only 3 kids and a husband to contend with while doing that hat juggling act; so, I was still amazed at all of her accomplishments. I was always asking her for advice and I loved to learn from her. To me, she was just Mom; but, to the world, she was Gloria Pitzer, “The Secret Recipe Detective”.

She was very gifted in her own right as a writer, publisher, artist, crafter, homemaker, cook and so on. Her taste buds and culinary skills, combined with her creative writing skills and sarcastic sense of humor, developed into their own super power. In a time, not unlike what we are in now – with political upheaval, low wages and high costs of living – she found a niche that people wanted – “eating out at home”, she called it – and she set to work, discovering how to mimic fast food & restaurant dishes at home; as well as, shelf-stable grocery items. If it saved her household money, she wanted to share it with others to help them save money too.

She was a trail-blazer in the 70’s – writing her own recipes and marketing her talents through newspapers, magazines, local television talk shows…but, especially through radio talk shows. For nearly 40 years she was a regular on a few local radio talk shows such as “Ask Your Neighbor”, hosted by Bob Allison on WWJ-Radio, which still airs out of the Detroit area today and “Listen to the Mrs.”, which is still hosted by Art Lewis on WSGW-Radio in Saginaw, MI. Mom said Warren Pierce of “The Warren Pierce Show” put her “in touch with some of the most responsive and enthusiastic listening audiences.” That show also still airs out of the Detroit area on WJR-Radio. Mom did radio shows all over the country – mostly by phone, from the comfort of home.

In the early years of her “Secret Recipes” business, Mom sold recipes for a quarter each, printed on 3”x5” index cards from a mimeograph she had in the laundry room. She started with an index of about 200 recipes. She promoted these mostly through radio programs. But, newspapers and magazines also picked up on it quickly, as she blazed that trail of uniqueness among all the ‘Betty Crockers’ and ‘Julia Childs’ of that time, and they wrote articles about her, as well. It didn’t seem to take long before her recipe library grew through requests from fans of her writing. She went from index cards to newsletters and multiple cookbooks in the blink of an eye. Soon, she was getting national, as well as international, recognition. Mom only did a few TV appearances – the first was on “Kelly & Company” in the mid-70’s – a local talk show on WXYZ-TV in Detroit. Later, in the early 80’s, “PM Magazine” created new interests in Mom’s recipes, sending their Detroit television crew to our house (then, in St. Clair, MI) to film Mom doing what she does best…creating “art” in the kitchen! However, it was her first appearance on “The Phil Donahue Show” that created the most overwhelming response to her talents than she could have ever expected… More to come on that next week!

“Gloreos” The Oreo-Style Cookies

 

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"Gloreos" The Oreo-Style Cookies


Author Gloria Pitzer's Secret Recipes Newsletter

Ingredients

  • 18 oz. package devil's food cake mix
  • 2 eggs eggs
  • 2 tbsp oil
  • 1/2 cup Nestle's Quik cocoa powder

The Filling:

  • 1 envelope unflavored gelatin
  • 1/4 cup cold water
  • 1 cup Crisco
  • 1 lbs + 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Cookie: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Combine cake mix, eggs + water, oil and cocoa powder. Blend well until you can form it into a ball. Let stand 20 minutes. 

  2. Form dough into 1/2-inch balls placed 2 inches apart on lightly greased baking sheet Flatten each ball with bottom of a greased once drinking glass that has been dipped in Nestle's Quik powder to deepen the color of the cookies to resemble the originals. 

  3. Bake 8 minutes. Immediately out of the oven, flatten each cookie with the back of a pancake turner. Let cool 20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling

  1. Soften the gelatin in 1/4 C cold water and place in a pan of hot water until clear. Meanwhile, beat the Crisco until fluffy, adding the powdered sugar a little at a time. 

  2. Add the vanilla and cooled gelatin and beat 6 minutes. Shape into 1-inch balls and place between the bottom sides of two cookies, pressing them gently but firmly together until the filling becomes nicely rounded at the edges. 

  3. Chill about one hour to set the filling.

Recipe Notes

AboutOreos®

The Oreo cookie was developed and produced by Nabisco in February 1912 at its Chelsea factory in New York City (now Chelsea Market). It was created mainly to target the British market, whose biscuits were seen by Nabisco to be too 'ordinary'. Originally, Oreo was mound-shaped and available in two flavors; lemon meringue and cream. In America, they were sold for 30 cents a pound in novel tin cans with glass tops, which allowed customers to see the cookies.

A newer design for the cookie was introduced in 1916, and as the cream filling was by far the more popular of the two available flavors, Nabisco discontinued production of the lemon meringue filling during the 1920s. The modern-day Oreo was developed in 1952 by William A Turnier, to include the Nabisco logo.

What a lot of people don't know is that over 491 billion Oreo cookies have been sold since they were first introduced, making them the best selling cookie of the 20th century.

Check outwww.nabiscoworld.com/Oreofor more information about Nabisco and their entire line of great snacks.

A1-Style Steak Sauce

 

A1-Style Steak Sauce


Keyword A1, Steak Sauce
Author Gloria Pitzer's Eating Out At Home Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Dark Molasses
  • 2 Green Onions chopped
  • 3 Tbsp Kosher Salt coarse
  • 3 Tbsp Dry Mustard
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • 1/4 tsp Cayene
  • 1 clove Garlic crushed -- or, 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 Anchovy Filet chopped -- or, 1 Tbsp Anchovy Paste
  • 6 Tbsp Taramind Fresh -- or, 1 Tbsp Taramind Extract
  • 1 tsp Pepper
  • 1/2 tsp Fenugreek
  • 1/2 tsp Powdered Ginger
  • 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1 tsp Powdered Cloves
  • 1/2 tsp Caradamen Seeds
  • 3 drops Tabasco
  • 6 oz. Rhine Wine
  • 2 oz. Rose Wine
  • 1 pint White Vinegar
  • 1 Tbsp Kitchen Bouquet
  • 1 Tbsp Postum Pwder

Instructions

  1. Put all spices (except last 6 ingr.) through blender till fine powder. Place over low heat with half vinegar and simmer 1 hr; adding rest of vinegar alittle at a time as mixture is reduced in bulk.

  2. Stir in tabasco, wines, kitchen bouquet. cook 3 min to dissolve. Remove from heat.

  3. Pour into crock or tuperware container (2qt) let stand covered for 1 week. Then strain thru cheese- cloth, six times.

  4. Bottle and cap tightly. keep refrigerated indefinetly. Freeze to keep for years.

Recipe Notes

About A1 Steak Sauce®

In the early 1800's, Henderson William Brand was chef to King George IV of England where he created a special sauce that the king is so liked, he proclaimed it "A1". By 1831 Brand had left the Royal Court to start Brand &Co. where he created meat extracts and essences. Brand was a better chef then he was a business man going bankrupt in 1850 forcing him to sell his business to W.H. Withall who knew that Brand's products were England's very best.

In 1862, Withall enters Brand's Steak Sauce in the International Exposition in London, England. The sauce is again proclaimed "A1". Thirty years later, A1 Steak Sauce® had made its way to U.S. and Canadian dinner tables. Over the next several decades, people start using A1 Steak Sauce® for a variety of other meats as well as vegetables.

In 1999, A1 Steak Sauce® is purchased by Renée's Gourmet Foods Inc. and the company begins to refocus this A-1 back to its "Royal Roots".

For more information, check out www.A1Sauce.com It has a variety of information including nutrition, their history, and what's new.

Sanders-style Hot Fudge Sauce

 

Sanders-style Hot Fudge Sauce

Here's Gloria Pitzer's amazing make-a-like recipe for "Sanders-style Hot Fudge Sauce".  It is truly decadent and delicious!

Author Gloria Pitzer's Secret Recipes Newsletter

Ingredients

  • 14 oz. Eagle Brand Milk can
  • 14 oz. Karo Syrup light
  • 12 oz. Nestles Chocolate Chips not the semisweets
  • 1/4 lbs. Butter

Instructions

  1. Combine ingredients in top of double boiler over simmering water and stir until chocolate melts.

  2. Continue to cook and stir a few times for 30 minutes. Remove from heat, then beat with a mixer until smooth.

  3. Cool, pour into jar, then tightly cap. Refrigerate.

  4. Serves 32

Recipe Notes

About Sanders Candy Co.®

Sanders first opened in Downtown Detroit in 1875. Over the years, they expanded to over 57 stores covering the Detroit area. These stores not only sold candy, fudge toppings, and baked goods, but also had fountain counters serving light lunches, as well as an assortment of desserts including the popular Ice Cream Sodas, Sundaes and Hot Fudge Cream Puffs.

Sanders soon became the leading purveyor of candies in the Greater Detroit area and began to sell directly to national supermarket chains and other retailers in the area. Many of the national stores were outfitted with Sanders in-store bakery stations for cake decorating and more, while others featured the full line of Sanders products in their bakery departments.

Sanders still uses the finest quality ingredients in all of their chocolates, candies and fudge toppings following strict formulas created by Fred Sanders over 100 years ago.

For more information, check out www.SandersCandy.com It has a variety of features including information on parlor locations, career opportunities, and an online store so you can order these truly amazing products if you can't find them in your area of the country.

Sara Lee’s-style Carrot Square Cake

 

Sara Lee's-style Carrot Square Cake


Servings 6
Author Gloria Pitzer's Eating Out At Home Cookbook

Ingredients

  • 2 Eggs
  • 1 tsp Vanilla
  • 6 oz. Oil
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 2 tsp Cinnamon
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 1 1/4 cup All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 cup Carrots grated fine
  • 1 cup Walnuts well-chopped
  • 1/2 cup Light Raisins optional

Cream Cheese Icing

  • 6 oz. Cream Cheese softened
  • 1/4 lbs. Butter
  • 1 lbs. Powdered Sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp Orange Extract
  • 1 tsp Spice Island Orange Peel
  • 1 Tbsp Light Corn Syrup or Pancake Syrup
  • 1 Tbsp Cornstarch or Flour

Instructions

  1. Combine first 8 ingredients with electric mixer on medium-high. Beat 3 minutes scraping down sides of bowl often. Remove beaters. Stir in last 3 ingredients. Grease and flour 9" square pan. Spread batter evenly in pan. 

  2. Bake at 325 degrees F about 50 minutes. Cool in pan about 30 minutes. Frost with Cream Cheese Frosting and sprinkle with additional walnuts.

Icing

  1. Cream the cream cheese with the butter until light and fluffy, using med-high speed of electric mixer. Add half of the sugar, increasing speed to high. Add extract and peel and beat about 1 minute. 

  2. Scrape down sides of bowl often. Resume beating adding remaining powdered sugar. Beat smooth. Frost sides and top of cake.

Recipe Notes

About Sara Lee's®

Sara Lee, often known for the long-running slogan "Nobody doesn't like Sara Lee" is often misquoted as "Nobody does it like Sara Lee". As companies go, so do theme lines. In 2006, Sara Lee announced a new company wide campaign: "the joy of eating." The campaign was part of a restructuring of operations.

Today, Sara Lee sells food, beverage and household products in over 180 countries and has some 50,000 employees worldwide.

For more information, check out www.SaraLee.com It has a variety of information including nutrition, their history, and what's new.

Schlotzsky’s-style Sandwich Rolls

 

Schlotzsky's-style Sandwich Rolls


Servings 5
Author Gloria Pitzer's Secret Recipes Newsletter

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup Warm Water
  • 1 Tbsp Granulated Sugar
  • 1 package PapidRise Dry Yeast
  • 6 oz. Milk very warm
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 1/4 Tbsp Baking Soda softened in 1 Tbsp water
  • 2 1/2 cups All-Pupose Flour

Instructions

  1. In large mixing bowl combine warm water, sugar and yeast. Let stand about 5 minutes till very bubbly. With wire whisk add the rest with only 1 cup of the flour, beating to smooth dough. Beat in rest of flour until batter is thick and sticky but smooth, all flour being dissolved.

  2. Divide dough between 5 ovenproof, Pam-sprayed, cornmeal dusted (let excess shake out) soup bowls (each 5 inches in diameter). Cover each one in a square of Saran wrap sprayed in a bit of Pam and that side down. Let rise almost an hour or till above rim of bowls or cans. Discard Saran pieces.

  3. Bake on center rack of 375º F oven about 20 minutes or till golden brown. Let cool in containers on rack, spraying tops each in a bit of Pam while they cool to keep crusts soft.

  4. To use for sandwiches - slice in half horizontally and grill on lightly buttered hot griddle as you would for grilled cheese sandwich or broiler toast till golden. Then fill with lettuce and assorted lunch meats and cheese or sandwich fillings.

Recipe Notes

About Schlotzsky's®

In 1971, Don and Dolores Dissman opened a small shop on South Congress Avenue in Austin, Texas, home to a single, one-of-a-kind sandwich &mdash– The Original® made on Muffuletta bread. One delectable sandwich composed of a unique combination of premium meats, cheeses, and marinated black olives.

40 years later and from humble origins, the chain grew to 759 stores in 2001 with over $400 million in sales. Today, Schlotzsky's is an international franchise restaurant chain with locations in 35 states and six foreign countries. The Original® sandwich is still the mainstay of Schlotzsky's, but today you can also enjoy fresh baked bread, delicious hot sandwiches and panini, specialty pizzas, toasted wraps, freshly tossed salads, gourmet soups, and more!

For more information, check out www.schlotzskys.com It has a variety of information including nutrition, their history, what's new and some great franchise opportunities.

Source: schlotzskys.com &wikipedia.com

“Wednesday’s Chili” the Wendy’s-Style Chili

 

"Wednesday's Chili" the Wendy's-Style Chili


Servings 6
Author Gloria Pitzer, Secret Recipes Newsletter

Ingredients

  • 2 Tbsp Oil
  • 1/2 lbs Ground Round
  • 10 oz. French Onion Soup can
  • 1 Tbsp Chili Powder
  • 2 tsp Ground Cumin
  • 1/2 tsp Pepper
  • 3 to 6 drops Tabasco
  • 21 oz. Red Kidney Beans can - undrained
  • 6 oz. Tomato Paste can
  • 8 oz. Tomato Sauce can

Instructions

  1. Brown the ground beef in the vegetable oil. Break the beef into tiny rice size pieces.

  2. Blenderize soup in blender and add to browning meat.

  3. Combine the blended beef with the unblended beef into 2-1/2 qt saucepan. Then add the rest of the ingredients and let simmer.

Recipe Notes

About Wendy's®

Founded by Dave Thomas in 1969, Wendy's is the third largest hamburger fast food chain with approximately 6,700 locations and more than 46,000 people in its global operations recording $9.45 billion (USD) in annual sales.

Wendy's menu consists primarily of hamburgers, chicken sandwiches, French fries and beverages but does not have a signature product such as the Whopper or the Big Mac. What is unique is that their burger patties are square. The burgers are also made from fresh ground beef, not frozen.

For the complete story of Wendy's, visitwww.Wendys.com Here you can find out everything you could possibly want to know about this amazing restaurant concept.

White Tassel Burgers (like White Castle’s)

 

White Tassel Burgers (like White Castle's)


Author Gloria Pitzer's Secret Recipes Newsletter

Ingredients

  • 4 Tbsp Minced Onion
  • 1/4 cup Hot Water
  • 2 lbs. Ground Sirloin
  • 3 oz. Babyfood Strained Beef jar
  • 2/3 cup Clear Beef Broth or prepared Bouillon

Instructions

  1. Soak 4 T. dry minced onion in 1/4 c. hot water till soft. Mix 2 lbs. ground sirloin & 3 oz. jar babyfood strained beef, 2/3 c. clear beef broth or prepared bouillon.

  2. Make patties uniform in size, flattening to 1/4 " thick. Fry each one quickly in 1 T. oil on a hot griddle. Make 3 or 4 holes in each pattie, with tip of knife during frying to ensure even doneness. Cut hot dog buns in half and cut away the rounded ends.

  3. Fry 1 t. of softened onions under each patty when turning to do other side. Slip into half piece of buns. Serve with pickle chips, mustard & ketchup.

  4. Freeze what patties not fried right away.

    Serves: That depends on how many Slyders™ you can eat...

Recipe Notes

About White Castle®

Founded Billy Ingram and cook Walter Anderson, White Castle is the oldest American hamburger fast food restaurant chain with its first locations openning in 1921 in Wichita, Kansas. It is known for square burgers, sometimes referred to as "sliders" (officially spelled and trademarked as "Slyders") that were priced at five cents until the 1940s, and remained at ten cents for years thereafter.

Besides a being a great concept, with a killer little burger, White Castle aslo set some amazing records. First fast-food hamburger chain ever. First industrial-strength spatula. First mass-produced paper hat. First to sell a million hamburgers. First to sell a billion hamburgers. First frozen fast food for sale.

And something for all of the guys to remember, every year on February 14, White Castle offers to reserve a candlelit table for two, complete with a server for Valentine's Day.

For more information, check out www.whitecastle.com It has a ton of information including nutrition, White Castle history and terminolgy, locations, what's new and some great promotions.

Source: whitecastle.com & wikipedia.com