Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Don’t Call Me Late For Dinner!

Hello everyone and happy Monday! I don’t know about you but, personally, I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#SundaySupper

Yesterday was the observance of national Sunday Supper day – which celebrates family-togetherness, around the dining table (no phones or other electronics allowed)! The point is to just eat one meal together, at least one day a week; as well as to connect and conversate with each other. That’s the way it used to be, in the olden days, when I was growing up… or the even older, olden days when my parents were growing up (and their parents before them, as well).

With the onset of the industrial age and the soaring costs-of-living, more and more Americans, of both sexes, began working outside the home. Similarly, less and less importance was given to dining together, while more was given to “on-the-go”, “on-your-own” eating elsewhere.

Along the way families became too easily entwined with their own individual lives with jobs, school, homework, friends, sports (plus other after-school activities), and so on. Most families have become too busy to even sit down together for at least one meal a day (except for Sundays, maybe).

I was inspired by something Ronnie Koenig wrote (May 5, 2019) in “Sunday Dinner – The Tradition We Need To Bring Back”, as seen at NBCNews.com: “We all have busy schedules – errands to run, work to do, kids to shuttle around – but for a few hours that Sunday evening, we decided to take a break from it all. The best part was that it was for no other reason than it being Sunday. It wasn’t anyone’s birthday or graduation, but we were all gathered around the table together.”

As I’ve written in previous blog posts, when I was growing up, our family-meals weren’t just a few times a year, such as on holidays and birthdays. When she could, Mom liked to make our meals seem like special occasions! Don’t get me wrong. We certainly weren’t the Brady Bunch or Walton’s family, by any means. We ate together because that’s when the meal was served!

Even though she made GREAT imitations of our favorite restaurant foods, Mom regularly reminded us that the kitchen wasn’t a restaurant, in which you could drop by at any time and place an order for whatever you want. You ate what was made and when it was served, or you went hungry until the next meal. But, honestly, I can’t remember any of us willing to miss one of Mom’s meals.

She would jokingly say otherwise, in many of her editorials; but even before Mom became famous as the Secret RecipesTM DetectiveTM, she was always a great cook! I miss those days, myself. Even as my own children were growing up (basically after elementary school age), we didn’t have a lot of family meals together because of the classic “busy lives” scenario. My husband and I are empty-nesters now, and even we don’t often sit down to eat a meal together.

SPECIAL SHOUT OUT to the “Sunday Supper Movement”!

I recently discovered, through NationalDayCalendar.com, that Isabel Laessig forged the “Sunday Supper Movement” and has a website by the same name at https://sundaysuppermovement.com/.  This is such a wonderful thing! I highly recommend you check it out for yourself. I can’t wait to try Isabel’s “Candied Bacon” recipe – YUM!

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 113)

GRATITUDE

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, was always my mother’s advice to me when I would try to bend a sympathetic ear, imploring her to comfort me and keep me company in my occasional misery. And, of course, misery does love company!

But counting my blessings was the last thing in the world I felt up to doing when the world seemed to be so hopelessly bleak, and whatever problem I had at the time, seemed so devastating to me. Now here I am telling my own children the same thing. Only I tell my own children to count their opportunities, for an opportunity is just a blessing in disguise!

I wish I had known this years ago. What frustrating disappointments I could have avoided, or at the upmost, handled better. I would’ve used the enthusiasm and the optimism that I acquired during the last two years or so to work off those petty resentments that separate us from folks whom we could really care about, if we’d only get to know them better, and perhaps understand why we’re in conflict.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer (circa 1968)

Naturally, if we judge everything by what we see on television, we’d know that’s impossible – that people in conflict can’t resolve their differences, or so the reports indicate in those real-life fantasies that exaggerate greed, envy and contempt as if the motivation for these traits were purely justified. I don’t think they ever are!

Preparing your assortment of thoughts and feelings in a compatible mixture, in order to produce successful relationships, is really no different than preparing an assortment of compatible ingredients in a recipe for a dish that promises to be a stunning success on the dinner table.

Whether it’s a recipe for preparing a very good dish, or a very good relationship, the basics are still the same – compatible ingredients, attention to detail, thinking about what you are doing, and making logical adjustments as you go!

For all the bad things associated with the Covid-19 pandemic, over the past year, there has been at least one silver lining – that is the closeness that the family unit has gained from quarantining together. In a way, they’ve been sort of forced into putting their outside-the-home, demanding routines on hold; as the pandemic restrictions have given them the extra time together that they’ve always wished they had, if not for their busy lifestyles.

Bam! All of a sudden, the busy-lifestyles-rug was pulled out from underfoot and families have had an abundance of time together. Even their pets have been benefitting from the togetherness. Subsequently, more families have also discovered new-found joys in the simple things, such as going for walks together, as well as preparing and eating meals together! In fact, the whole month of January is now recognized as national Sunday Supper MONTH (among other things)!

Mom and daughter, Danielle and Misty, at BorrowedBites.com, also have a great article about the Sunday dinner tradition, which I highly recommend reading, as well! It’s called “Why Sunday Dinner Tradition Is So Powerful”. I especially love the following passages that they wrote:

‘Who doesn’t love the idealistic picture of everyone gathered around a table, plates piled with good food, and laughter interrupting bites? …Recipes can be seen as just food, or they can be seen as the bait to get people to sit and linger. To tell stories of their week, share what’s on their heart, and utter the latest joke. That’s why we are passionate about sharing recipes that bring family to the table.’

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

You can call me anything, just don’t call me late for dinner! – Author Unknown (circa 1800’s)

Dining habits have changed over the past century, as have the somewhat interchangeable terms of “dinner” and “supper”. Many people consider “dinner” to be the heavier/full meal of the day that was usually consumed in the early afternoon (aka: lunchtime) and “supper” was the lighter meal, served in the late afternoon/early evening.

Yet, we’re also told that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, When do you eat your biggest meal – morning, afternoon, or evening? Do you say “dinner” or “supper”? The answers vary greatly among everyone, depending on one’s age and even where they grew up. I typically call our full, evening meal “dinner” (breakfast and lunch are usually light, if not skipped all together). Mom, also, called our evening meal “dinner” and it was, likewise, the biggest meal of the day.

Why did the full meal change from the afternoon time to the evenings? Many believe it’s because people’s schedules became so busy during the day with the rise of industrialization coupled with more Americans working outside the home (usually including both spouses working). It wasn’t feasible to go home in the middle of the day to eat the big, main meal; thus, they ate their lighter meal around noon-time and their heavier meal in the evening, after work and such.

#SlowCookingMonth

On a related side-note, I want to mention that January is also recognized as national Slow Cooking Month. That along with the national Sunday Supper month celebration makes a superb combination! Almost every American household has at least one slow cooker (aka: crock pot). Mom always had several, as do I, in a variety of sizes and shapes!

For some unknown reason, my husband seems to take more of an interest in what I make for dinner when its simmering all day in a slow cooker – more so than anything I make on the stove-top or in the oven. I’ve asked him about it and even he doesn’t know why.

I made chili in one of my slow cookers for last Sunday’s supper and my husband made a point of “checking on it” (to smell it, taste it, and stir it) about twice an hour for me, he claimed, even though I was sitting less than 10 feet away from it, all day, while I did some work on my laptop at the dining room table. I have to giggle at him sometimes!

Illustration by 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. 67)

WASTING TIME – WHATEVER HAPPENED TO THE SIMPLE JOYS?

Unfortunately, we’re waiting for that golden day, that one lovely moment in which we feel everything is finally grand – everything is finally just the way we have always wanted it to be! Everything we’ve been working for and moving toward has been attained.

We can relax! We’ve lost the weight we wanted to lose. The house is finally in ‘company-is-coming’ order. The bills are all paid. The bank account is adequate. Our children are living productive, useful lives.

Everything will be wonderful – and then, and probably only then, do we feel we have the right to be happy! Until we achieve that perfect moment, that ideal existence, however, we’re looking forever ahead to it, not even seeing the opportunities – small as they might be – to be happy, now, with what we already have, with who we are [and] with what we’re already doing.

Everyone, at one time or another, seems to go through such trying times; carrying burdens we can’t seem to shake, with no one to help us make the load seem lighter. And in doing so, we end up making our mishaps more important than our smallest achievements.

How easily we waste the time we have now, entertaining false pride as if it were the honored guest at our table of regrets. We try to avoid being natural, being ourselves, because it is usually less than we think we should be, or what others expect us to be.

So we look toward the moment when we’re sure everything will fall into its proper place. We finally have the time to call a relative we’ve been meaning to visit. We’ll write that newsy letter to the friend [with whom] we somehow lost touch… We’ll take that cake to the neighbor, [for whom] we haven’t had the chance to call on but meant to. But we can’t do those things now – not while were working out important problems and have so many things to worry about. Worrying takes time!

I’m nearly convinced that there is no such perfection toward which to work and for which to wait. Waiting seems an idol waste when there are so many things I want to do that have been pushed aside because obligations and commitments came first. Instead of looking ahead two years from now, days from now, hours from now, I look to the next moment. Human beings are not immortal, but some of us put off the wonders of living, as if we had forever to realize them.

For each moment that I didn’t enjoy as much as I could have, I’d like to be ready just in case I have a second chance at having them again. I would like to have all of our children with us around the dinner table once more, and really enjoy it, to make up for all of those times that I took their being there for granted. That would be a perfect moment, a perfect day!

IN CLOSING…

#NationalPizzaWeek

In honor of National Pizza Week,  here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for imitating Detroit’s famous #BuddysPizza; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 82)

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some other fun celebrations to recognize this week (for the 2nd full week of January) include: National Mocktail Week, National Folic Acid Awareness Week, and Universal Letter Writing Week. Additionally…

Today is also National Milk Day and National Arkansas Day!

Tuesday is National Marzipan Day and national Curried Chicken Day!

Wednesday is national Peach Melba Day and Korean-American Day!

Thursday is national Hot Pastrami Sandwich Day!

Friday is national Strawberry Ice Cream Day

…and National Bagel Day!

Saturday is National Fig Newton Day, national Religious Freedom Day and International Hot And Spicy Food Day!

Sunday is national Hot Buttered Rum Day!

It’s also the start of National Handwriting Analysis Week, Hunt For Happiness Week, National Healthy Weight Week, and National Fresh Squeezed Juice Week, which is Jan. 17th-23rd for 2021!

https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/

#TGIM

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

…2 down and another 50 to go!

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Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Mondays, Motivations, And Mentors

Happy Monday to one and all, plus a very joyful 2021! I always look forward to Mondays. It’s my favorite day of the week because it represents the #52Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#CelebrateEveryDay

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

Every single day is a new beginning – each one being a celebration, in and of itself. But today is particularly celebrated, as it’s the first Monday of the first month of a brand new year! Thus, today has been declared “Thank God Its Monday Day”!

As NationalDayCalendar.com claims: “Mondays are often full of new beginnings.” Adding… “Not only does the observance focus on the first Monday in January but on every Monday throughout the year.” Suggesting we should… “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…”

Personally, I love all of that – especially since I write these blog entries, in memory of my mom, and post them every Monday! In the process, I’m always learning new things, as well as teaching them to others. Since I started writing Mondays & Memories of My Mom in September 2018, it has always energized and motivated me for the rest of my week – much the same way writing always energized and inspired my mom. I can only hope that these blog posts about Mom’s legacy energize and inspire you as well.

#NationalMentoringMonth

January is also, among other things, National Mentoring Month and, again, while it is celebrated throughout the whole month, it should also be practiced continually throughout the year! In fact, I have made a #MondayMentor resolution – to try to be a positive mentor, teacher, or influencer for someone each Monday throughout the year!

Mom has been my mentor in so many ways since I was a small child. She was a “creative master” at whatever she attempted. I’ve always wished I had half of her creative talents. Mom wore SO many hats in our family, as well as in the “family enterprise” (as she called it). For our family, she was the cook, maid, chauffer, nurse, seamstress, secretary, teacher, counselor, mentor, and still more.

In her dining-room-table cottage operation, Mom was the recipe developer, author, illustrator, layout creator, publicist, promotion specialist, public speaker/lecturer and more. Mom was a “Wonder Woman” who tried to devote herself to balancing all of it! Mom especially loved to mentor those who shared her love for writing! She had many mentors and influencers, herself, throughout the years.

My mother is another good example I’ve followed. Her best gift and her greatest asset is that she’s always been a patient listener and a wise advisor. She was absolutely loyal to my father…The world could turn [its] back on her children, but she would always be there for them when we needed her. She’s given me an example that’s going to be tough to equal.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)

I grew up, as my mom did, motivated by my parents to seize opportunities (although, there were many I missed) and to always put across my best efforts in everything I do. Everyone should have at least one good example, if not a few good examples, to follow. Additionally, we should all strive to be a good example, as well.

‘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)

Mom, herself, was greatly influenced to write throughout her life by many talented women. From the Bronte sisters, whose family story she saw in the 1946 film, “Devotion”, to Maya Angelou, whose story in a 1993 issue of the “Christian Science Monitor” told of how her devotion to writing developed with “the yellow pad”

Mom journaled about her life and that of her family ever since she was about 10 years old. She felt that writing was her “calling” and continued to compose daily, until she physically couldn’t – which was over 70 years of journaling!

Shout-out to screenwriters, as tomorrow is #NationalScreenwritersDayTheir significant influence on us, as a society, is a story for another day.

Devotion” screenplay by: Keith Winter & Edward Chodorov

Comedians and writers like Carol Burnette, Mary Tyler Moore, and Lucille Ball top the list of Mom’s “Woman-Power” influencers. Other talented ladies to whom Mom looked up include Erma Bombeck, Betsy Masterton, Peg Bracken, and Irma Rombauer; just to name a handful.

In fact, a lot of the crafty format Mom used in her newsletters and cookbooks was largely influenced by her own favorite crafter, Carol Duvall; who, in the 1970s, had a “Craft Letter” (as she called it) and a 5 minute crafting segment on WDIV-TV (Channel 4 in Detroit), called “Here’s Carol Duvall”. The two became fast friends.

That was long before Carol had moved from the Detroit area to the Traverse City area, then on to ABC’s “Home” show in California (1988-1994), which was before she began hosting “The Carol Duvall Show” on HGTV (1994-2005), and prior to moving to the DIY network (2005-2009).

In later years, Mom was also largely influenced to continue in her passion for writing by Maya Angelou. In one of Mom’s writings (as seen below), she recounted an inspiring interview Maya had with David Holstrom, “Christian Science Monitor” (1993), as she told of her experience with “the yellow pad”.

Maya said she went 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. He gave her a yellow pad and told her to write down her blessings.

She said she didn’t even want to hear that, but he insisted that she start with the fact that she could hear him, that she could see the page, that she could hold the pen. ‘Before I reached the end of the page,’ she [Maya] said, ‘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.’

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 113)

GRATITUDE

COUNT YOUR BLESSINGS, was always my mother’s advice to me when I would try to bend a sympathetic ear, imploring her to comfort me and keep me company in my occasional misery. And, of course, misery does love company!

But counting my blessings was the last thing in the world I felt up to doing when the world seemed to be so hopelessly bleak, and whatever problem I had at the time, seem so devastating to me. Now here I am telling my own children the same thing. Only I tell my own children to count their opportunities, for an opportunity is just a blessing in disguise!

I wish I had known this years ago. What frustrating disappointments I could have avoided, or at the upmost, handled better. I would’ve used the enthusiasm and the optimism that I acquired during the last two years or so to work off those petty resentments that separate us from folks whom we could really care about, if we only get to know them better, and perhaps understand why we’re in conflict.

Naturally, if we judge everything by what we see on television, we’d know that’s impossible – that people in conflict can’t resolve their differences, or so the reports indicate in those real-life fantasies that exaggerate greed, envy and contempt as if the motivation for these traits were purely justified. I don’t think they ever are!

Preparing your assortment of thoughts and feelings in a compatible mixture, in order to produce successful relationships, is really no different than preparing an assortment of compatible ingredients in a recipe for a dish that promises to be a stunning success on the dinner table.

Whether it’s a recipe for preparing a very good dish, or a very good relationship, the basics are still the same – compatible ingredients, attention to detail, thinking about what you are doing, and making logical adjustments as you go!

Devotion, as well as many other events and people, (family, friends, co-workers, & influential strangers) empowered Mom to be a pioneer and a trailblazer in her chosen field; as a writer, satirist/humorist, cartoonist, publisher, marketer, and more. Mom was proud to be a homemaker and yet also have a “paying” career (from home), where she could cleverly combine them, both!

Regardless of the Women’s Liberation Movement, Mom set to work, focusing her writing and food-for-thought subject matter toward the fence-sitting, semi-liberated homemakers and pantry-cupboard cooks like herself; as she wrote, published and marketed her own newsletter for more than a quarter of a century – January 1974 through December 2000 (as well as her 40+ cookbooks).

Two of Mom’s first and biggest influences in homemaking were, of course, her own mom; as well as my dad’s mom – since Mom and Dad lived with Dad’s parents for a short while when they were first married. Below is a picture of the “inspiration” story that Mom wrote many decades ago and re-printed in one of the last issues of her newsletter.

LAST THOUGHTS…

I really consider myself lucky to have “The Recipe Detective” as my mom and that I (as well as everyone else) can continue to enjoy and learn from her timeless writings – her legacy of love. That’s what I enjoy most, sharing those memories, discoveries, and lessons with all of you! Furthermore, I love to hear stories from others whose lives Mom has touched, as well.

Since starting the blog and some social media pages in Mom’s honor, I’ve received many emails, comments, and messages from people who remember the joy Mom brought them and their families through her cookbooks, newsletters, TV appearances, and radio interviews. That motivates me to continue carrying Mom’s torch and sharing and writing about the legacy of love she left for all of us!

What motivates or inspires you? I’d love to hear from you! Please write to me at: therecipedetective@outlook.com.

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Something else in which Mom inspired me is my passion to continually learn new things. Besides being grateful for something every day, Mom would also promote learning something new every day. From that, I’ve resolved that every day is a defining moment for me (as well as for each and every one of us) in which a combination of experience, faith and knowledge influence my/our personal evolution(s).

We should seize those moments and days that challenge us and do our best to make the most of them! I am going to strive to Learn Something New Every Day and to share/teach something new, here, every week! As an unpaid and unofficial “non-spokesperson”, I’d like to share some links from one of MY favorite go-to sources of inspiration, besides Mom’s writings, which is NationalDayCalendar.com. They offer such a wide array of information on such a wide array of subjects to learn about and celebrated throughout the year!

IN CLOSING…

#NationalSpaghettiDay

Today is also National Spaghetti Day! In honor, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” (and one of our family’s favorites) for imitating Big Boy’s popular spaghetti dinner at home, Mom called her version “Beg Bouy” Spaghetti. [As originally seen in her self-published book, The 2nd Helping of Secret Recipes Cookbook (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1977, p. 9).]

P. S. Food-For-Thought until we meet, again, next Monday…

Some other fun celebrations to learn more about this week include: Celebration Of Life Week (January 1st-7th), Diet Resolution Week (January 1st-7th) , & New Year’s Resolution Week (January 1st-7th). Additionally,…

Today is also National Missouri Day!

Tuesday is National Bird Day, national Whipped Cream Day & National Keto Day!

Wednesday is National Cuddle Up Day, National Shortbread Day, national Technology Day, & National Bean Day!

Thursday is National Tempura Day and Mom’s birthday (she would’ve been turning 85)!

Friday is national English Toffee Day & National Joy Germ Day!

Saturday is National Apricot Day!

Sunday is the start of National Mocktails Week, National Folic Acid Awareness Week, National Pizza Week, and Universal Letter Writing Week. Sunday is also national Bittersweet Chocolate Day, national Cut Your Energy Costs Day, National Oysters Rockefeller Day, & national Sunday Supper day!

In fact, all of January is celebrating national Sunday Supper month! Other January month-long celebrations include: National Blood-Donor Month [or #DonateBlood], National Hobby Month, National Hot Tea Month [also: #HotTeaMonth or #TeaTime], National Oatmeal Month, national Slow Cooking Month, & National Soup Month.

#WHBY

#TGIM

…1 down and 51 more, to which I happily look forward!

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