Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Working From Home

Happy Monday to all! #TGIM – every week, I long for each Monday to arrive, as they are my #52Chances per year to share my “Memories of My Mom”!

For years, breakfast has received a lot of attention, as it has been considered by many health professionals to be “the most important meal of the day”. However, as families’ schedules got busier and more hectic, they started enjoying more and more “quick” breakfasts on-the-go.

Thus, dinner – the EOD (end-of-day) meal – became the most important meal for many families because that’s when they, all, could usually get together. I remember, when my siblings and I were growing up, Mom always made a big deal out of dinnertime for our family. That was usually when we would all get to discuss our day’s activities and events and make plans for the next day or the coming weekend.

Dinner at the Pitzer’s

What about the under-praised lunch break? That thing we sometimes get, somewhere amidst the events of our workday. It’s the time we take to replenish ourselves, if we’re lucky. Sometimes it’s a rushed, 10-minute protein bar occasion or a brown-bagged, eat-while-you-work sandwich. Sometimes employees, who are extremely busy with their workday, don’t even realize they’ve missed their “break” entirely until it’s hours past due.

#NationalMakeLunchCount 

Today is National Make Lunch Count DayNationalDayCalendar.com accredits TGI Fridays – a popular, countrywide, restaurant chain – for this national celebration. TGI Fridays created a study, four or five years ago, through which they found that the majority of the American workers they studied suffered from what they considered “FOLO” (aka: Fear Of Lunching Out). They observed that many office employees “eat lunch at their desk at least twice a week (73%) while one-third have lunch at their desk every day of the week.”

However, as this was probably written before the pandemic and “Stay-At-Home” orders, they went on to say – most likely, in order to promote eating out, such as at one of their restaurants – “Don’t fear lunching out any longer!” Of course, we can’t do that now, in our current atypical norm of physical distancing and no-contact food deliveries or curbside pick-ups due to the highly contagious Covid-19 virus that has overwhelmed the whole world.

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

TGI Fridays suggests that taking a break AWAY from the workday improves productivity. But now, most of those Michiganders who can are working from home and staying at home as much as possible, following “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders. We can still include taking an actual lunch break during our workday by LEAVING our home office or work area for at least 20-30 minutes. Step away from it all in order to refuel and refresh – body, mind and soul. Both, our brains and our bodies, need to have a few physical breaks throughout our workdays. You’ll find it improves your focus, creativity and productivity.

NationalDayCalendar.com asks us to share our creative ways to “Make Lunch Count” today and any day! Promote your ideas on social media, using #NationalMakeLunchCount.

Since today is National Make Lunch Count Day, make it a point, especially today, to not only not skip lunch but to also focus on enjoying every minute of it! Stop what you’re doing and step away for a little while – take a BREAK to really appreciate your lunch and all it has to offer you – body, mind and soul. Make yourself a “Chef’s Salad” or “Dagwood-Style Sandwich” – anything – but take the time to enjoy the making of it, as well as the consumption of it!

#DoingMIPart

Since we’re still staying home and staying safe, get creative with how to “eat out at home”! Mom was a big inspiration for how to make our favorite fast food and junk food choices at home. If the weather is nice, have a picnic in your yard, or dress your dining room up to “feel” like your favorite restaurant and copycat your favorite dish from there. Anything to get away from the workday, for a little while at least.

Pitzer’s St. Clair House, 1978

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, pp. 65-66)

WORKING FROM HOME: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE RECIPE DETECTIVETM

AN ORDINARY DAY for us begins at 6:30 AM. Even though, I may have had a midnight or middle of the night radio show to do, the alarm still goes off at the crack of dawn. I realized some time ago that I could not roll out of bed and go directly to the stove to make the coffee and scramble the eggs and then, upon cleaning up after all of that, still go directly to my drawing board and my IBM composer for the rest of a long day.

I COULD but I would not have had a good attitude. So, Paul and I go, instead, to the restaurant in the mall downtown and let THEM make the coffee and scramble the eggs for us. Then we stop by the post office and pick up the mail and, by the time we are back home, I feel like a normal working person who leaves the house every morning to go to their office.

#NationalMakeLunchCount

Depending on how swamped we are with mail and subscriber contacts, book orders and government papers to be filled out and filed, we will try to take a break around noon for either a sandwich at our desks or, better yet, will run down the street to the Burger King for an orange juice and fish sandwich or over to The Voyageur [restaurant] for half of a ‘Captain’s Salad’ or a croissant special and a view of the St. Clair River, with freighters passing up and down stream that we can feel truly inspired and refreshed when we leave there. A break like that will renew our creative energies and also give us a chance to ‘visit’ with each other – a practice that few married couples really seem to enjoy much anymore – if they ever did at all.

These breaking off periods of getting away from the house and our office within, look to others, I suppose, as if we really aren’t that busy that we can frequent the local restaurants as much as we do. What they don’t see, however, is the kitchen where, for three or four solid hours, I was testing and trying to develop a particular recipe – making it perhaps three or four times before either giving up on it or feeling victorious and happy to print it in the next newsletter.

We take a lot of kidding about how often I am seen pushing a cart in the local supermarket and how often I am seen ‘eating out’ that you’d ever guess I cooked at all. It is, because I try to maintain and encourage a happy balance between the recipe testing and our normal life with friends and family, that we have never found the enterprise in which we are engaged, a burden to us. So many people we know do nothing but complain about their jobs, their work and regret. My cup runneth over and over and over! I WOULDN’T GIVE IT UP FOR THE WORLD!

By five or six o’clock in the evening, we’re ready for another break; and, in between, I have probably talked to two or three radio stations, answering questions for their listeners as they call into the station; which, by the miracle of telephone, puts us in touch with each other as if the host, the listener and I were all in the same room!

The radio visits that began with [our] good friend, Bob Allison, and his very successful show [‘Ask Your Neighbor’], with nearly 30 years, opened so many interesting and helpful doors for us. All of the other radio stations since, with whom I work, became a part of our schedule after years of providing listeners with the right information, with entertaining ideas and friendship and concern for their needs.

Sometimes I have received calls from hosts of radio shows who heard me on another station than their own and asked to set up an hour with them. Some of the programs run two hours. Many of them only use 15 minutes in which to discuss a healthy menu on the latest restaurant dish to imitate at home. No two radio shows are ever exactly alike, yet in one respect they are all incredibly enthusiastic and inquisitive…

Photo by Susan L. Tusa for an article about Mom in People Magazine (May 7, 1990; p. 81)

I know I’m doing something important… But I’ve had my moments of despair, when I’ve felt, ‘What am I doing?’ – Gloria Pitzer

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. 119)

IN MY KITCHEN, where all of these famous recipes are developed and tested and prepared for publishing, I have one significant problem. The ‘Good Hands People’ are about to declare my kitchen an accident going someplace to happen! My sense of organization is not what Heloise would enthusiastically endorse. So, even when my cup runneth over and over and over, I can’t always find my mop!

It is with appreciation that, in spite of my lack of organization, Mary Ellen Pinkham, the famous household hints author, took an interest in our recipes just recently. I really should get together with Mary Ellen and learn exactly how to become better organized but, somehow, time keeps getting away from me.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

I am either in the kitchen, cooking up something for the next book [or] the next issue of the newsletter; or I’m writing about what I’ve been cooking – with time in between to do two, sometimes three, radio shows a day, on a regular basis, running anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours. No two shows are ever alike – with the exception of the [wonderful] hospitality and warm response from the listeners.

I have had very few unhappy experiences on the air… Some of the highlights of these radio broadcasts will probably remind you of the first time you heard of me, through one of these shows, for this is where most of our family of readers have come and they continue to listen with as much enthusiasm and as many challenges [for me to decipher] today as they did the day I spoke to my first radio audience and became affectionately dubbed by them ‘The Recipe Detective’. I thank them!

#NationalPecanDay

In honor of National Pecan Day, which is tomorrow, here is another favorite fan-choice of Mom’s “Original 200” copycat recipes…

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

#NationalGardeningDay

Tomorrow is National Gardening Day! So, if you haven’t gotten out in the garden since my blog post last week – regarding #LawnAndGardenMonth , #NationalGardenMonth and #KeepAmericaBeautifulMonth – tomorrow is still as good a time as ever!

After all, April showers bring May flowers – but, first, you have to get the soil ready before you can even plant the seeds. That is, if you’re lucky enough to have the seeds before they were deemed “non-essential” (in Michigan) and banned from being sold, which I don’t understand! How can seeds, which are the source of most foods AND medicinal herbs, be “non-essential”? I’m glad I already have seeds and bulbs from our last planting season!

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

REMINDER: 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…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world…

…15 down, 37 to go!

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