Happy 2020 and happy Monday! In fact, happy National Thank God It’s Monday!
As NationalDayCalendar.com claims: “Mondays are often full of new beginnings.” This being the very first Monday of 2020, makes it an extra special, national day celebration all about new beginnings! Beyond today, the website suggests, “Not only does the observance focus on the first Monday in January, but on every Monday throughout the year.” I LOVE that! Especially since I write these blog posts, in memory of my mom, every Monday and they always energize and inspire me for the rest of my week’s workload (paid and unpaid.) I can only hope that they energize and inspire others as well.
Since I started these blog posts, writing has become very therapeutic for me, just as it always was for my mom. I’ve written, at least, a few blogs about Mom’s love for writing ever since she was a young girl and how it bloomed into a legacy of love, as the Recipe Detective; investigator of the secrets of the food industry. Mom loved to tell everyone that, for her, writing made a worthwhile living, but it also made living worthwhile.
NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives… of meeting new people.” This year, I will see it as 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story, again; hopefully, re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world… for, as Mom loved to recite: “Let there be peace on Earth and let it begin with me.”
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in excerpts from…
My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989)
EXPERIENCES & MAKING A DIFFERENCE
The experiences, [which] we have encountered in building this family enterprise of ours, this cottage industry that has been our [family’s] only source of income since August 1976, have occurred while distributing recipe secrets through radio broadcasting, [TV] and newspaper exposure and our own publishing efforts. If someone can benefit from our experiences, all the better! Mostly, though, this is just a story of our family… and how we made a dent in the hard shell of the publishing industry… (p. 2)
All of this should have started somewhere, at a particular place in my life, because most important things DO have MEMORABLE BEGINNINGS. But I’m hard put to come up with that one event, that singular moment, when I knew that our Secret RecipesTM would touch other people, not just across the country but [also] across the world. And, in doing so, would make a difference. That’s what really counts – doing something that will make a difference for the good of others. (p. 7)
EXPERIENCES & PLAGIARISM
There are paperbacks that attempt to imitate what we are doing and some that down-right plagiarized our recipes; [every] period, paragraph and semi-colon. It appears that the publishers who started out to ‘borrow’ my work, and even those who deliberately swiped it from me, didn’t give me much credit for knowing how to stop them. After all, a housewife in a [small] town in Michigan…who mimeographs her [own] books in her laundry room [and sells] them at [the] dry cleaners and neighborhood butcher shop, couldn’t be a threat.
This is all perfectly true! I did, indeed, mimeograph my books in the beginning; and I did, indeed, sell them at the Algonac Meat Store and the dry cleaners, in the Quonset hut down the road from us. At least once a week, maybe more often than this, I am asked how I got into this business, how it all started and how somebody can write their own book and get it published.
If there were a formula for our kind of success… I would be most happy to share the information; but, since there is no clear-cut formula, I can only give you some of the memorable highlights of our life since our Secret RecipesTM became our only means of income and, if from these personal and special recollections, somebody can derive some good, all the more power to them! Isn’t that why we are all here anyway – to bare each other’s burdens, to help and to care? I hope so! (p. 14)
‘I felt as if the hand of Providence had poured me out a blessing and it was pressed down, shaken together and running over.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 15)
EXPERIENCES & SUCCESS
The experiences that comprise the success and longevity of our Secret RecipesTM include some very wonderful people who have gone out of their way to make it easy for us to present our work to the public…[as] over the years it has been, not a job but a joy to continue investigating the secrets of the food industry, combining this information and recipes with the logic of the heart, the food for thought [and] food for the table. It continues to arouse interest and delight [among], both, our readers and radio listeners all over the country, as well as the world. (p. 15)
Michigan Supreme Court Justice, Dorothy Comstock Riley said, best, what I feel about my own past when she… described hers: ‘…by nature, I am not inclined to look back and second guess why things happened. Guessing other people’s motivations exhausts your energy but, by working hard and becoming passionately involved, you might be able to succeed at what you want.’ (p. 17)
‘While I always spiced [my] columns with humor, I tried to make a point in each that would emphasize that we [should] care about each other [and] be more forgiving too. Whether it is cooking or companionship, my newsletters… carry articles, good thoughts and even suggestions on how to best show that we care about others.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 20)
EXPERIENCES & PREPARATION
The exact chronological order, in which each of my writing experiences have occurred, are not clear in my memory now. However, each step [and] each experience was, on second thought, [neither] a delay nor a setback, as I used to believe. It was, instead, only preparation and the gathering of experience…
[Other than I, myself,] there has been no ‘real’ publisher, no public relations agent or the expensive efforts of professional promoters. [Their] ideas of how to publicize what I have to offer would only conflict with what I felt should be done. My cup runneth over because I have been blessed with an enthusiasm for promoting my own work and have been twice-blessed with the support and partnership of, probably, the most honest man in the world; who knows, from his own valuable working experiences, exactly how to manage and protect this enterprise.
All of the blessings I derived from having stumbled my way through the [not so] meaningless jobs of the many newspapers for which I once worked, eventually paid tremendous dividends, as I was able to put those learned skills into practice with this family enterprise of ours. Each bit of experience contributed to what I would, later, be able to do without the help of professionals.
EXPERIENCES & RADIO
I am blessed many times over but, when I count my blessings, I count my radio friends twice. [Even] as I share our story, with you, in these pages; you will not be able to fully appreciate the generous support that we received from radio personalities and their listeners.
While the critics snickered that my fast food imitations would run its unhealthy course in a short while [and] that my ability to turn out copy would, soon, be exhausted; I continued to look to a Divine Source for [my] daily supply of, both, energy and ideas. I have never, yet, been disappointed or without something good to share with our family of readers and our radio listeners. My cup does, indeed, run over! (p. 21)
Making every Monday as my memorable beginning to each week is how I plan to proceed through this new year. Remember, it’s “52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives… of meeting new people.” This year, for me, it’ll be 52 memories of my mom and 52 CHANCES to tell her story, again. I hope you’ll be back for each one of them!
This year in honor of “52 Chances for Memorable Beginnings”, I want to offer you a recipe each week from Mom’s “Original 200” Secret RecipesTM collection – as these are the memorable beginnings of the Recipe DetectiveTM. The following recipe, which is a copycat of the Detroit area’s famous Greenfield’s Restaurant’s pumpkin pie, also happened to be among Mom’s “Free Sheet” recipes that she gave out in 1988.
P.S. Food-for-thought until we meet again, next Monday…
Among my plans for the new year, I want to start a mini email newsletter of Mom’s “Food-for-Thought”, food-for-the-soul and food for the table. So, stay tuned, as I will be starting an email list soon!
Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective is available for sale, at $20.99 each, through the publisher, Balboa Press, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062252; it’s also available in eBook form, for $3.99, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253