For now, my blog writing is more of a hobby than a vocation since I don’t make any money from it. However, like I wrote last week, regarding Mom’s love for writing, “It was her profession, career, and livelihood; but it was never her ‘work’ – not to Mom – and certainly never a hobby!” Mom felt like writing was, above all else, her purpose, her function, and her role in life.
Mom’s passion for writing began when she was about 10 years old, after watching a 1946 Warner Brothers movie about the Bronte sisters, called “Devotion”. That was when she started journaling daily. In fact, throughout the rest of her life, Mom continued journaling, which amounted to more than 71 years of chronicles – now that’s DEVOTION!
My passion for writing began around the same age as Mom, when I first fell in love with poetry, essays, and other creative writing. Actually, I’ve written hundreds of poems, myself, but I’ve never tried to publish them (other than a few, in some contests I entered as a teenager).
Like Mom, when I was young, I often thought about writing “the great American novel”. For me, it came about after reading the “Little House” series by Laura Ingles Wilder. However, that’s as far as it went. I started to write a book a few times but always failed to follow through with it. I was never confident enough to put myself out there – to believe in myself or my abilities.
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. 66)
CONFIDENCE COMES FROM WITHIN
THERE IS A CERTAIN amount of confidence that comes with every risk we take and are able to turn the risk into a success. When I began my newsletter some 12 years ago or more , there were at least 20 newsletters like mine on the market, with which I did compete in a neighborly and mutually helpful way.
Today [in 1986], not one of these remains in print or in circulation. I feel it depends on how badly you really want to do something, how deeply you truly want to succeed whether or not you will make it. In the last pages of this collection, I take you ‘Behind-The-Scenes’ of our operation as a family enterprise and cover some of the ground we had to break, some of the rugged way that we had to follow in order to continue with our work.
There was always a new and more stunning publication being introduced into the mail-service marketplace, giving me one more reason to wonder if what I was offering could survive on the merits of my loving what I was doing more than I loved the money it would bring or the recognition it might merit.
Just this week, I received a letter announcing that one more of the [other] recipe newsletters would be going out of print after March of next year  so that the editor could compile and publish a cookbook. It was like a message to me from a Divine Source to whom I had been recently appealing for help to give our readers what they could not find anywhere else and to do it with the spirit of friendship, rather than customer appeal.
I was putting the finishing touches on this collection, knowing it had to be at the printer within the week, had about 50% of a new cookbook ready to offer in time for Christmas and the next two issues of the newsletter on the drawing board, not to mention a collection of my mother’s recipes; which she was presenting in a folder, for sale by the holidays, and we were publishing for her.
So many irons in the fire and still it would never occur to me to put any of it away, or put it aside, even temporarily, as we were forced to do after the one MILLION letters we received from the Donahue TV show [five] years ago . The confidence that comes to those who have the desire to offer their very best to the public, comes from within, from the desire to do their best, and to do it happily.
Mom re-kindled my passion for writing almost seven years ago, when she asked me to help her re-write one of her self-published cookbooks. In fact, the whole re-write collaboration put our mother-daughter relationship on a whole new level, in more ways than one.
Mom once compared writing and publishing her own books to going through all the highs and lows of pregnancy and then giving birth. Even after having my own children, I didn’t completely understand what she meant. Not until I actually went through the whole process with her, in re-writing one of her books..
I helped Mom re-format and re-write her favorite, self-published cookbook, The Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; 3rd Edition, Nov. 1983) for a new digital generation to enjoy; because she couldn’t re-write it, herself, in the Microsoft Word format that’s required for publishing these days, nor could she go the self-publishing route again.
With some help from my brother, Mike, and after doing a lot of research on the internet, we chose Balboa Press to publish it. To Mom’s surprise, the company only wanted to change a couple of things – one of her illustrations and the title, itself. They made some suggestions, but Mom and I came up with our own version. The book went to press shortly before Mom passed away, under the new title, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, Jan. 2018).
TheRecipeDetective.com website was developed years ago by my brother, Mike, to help bring our parents’ Secret RecipesTM business into the digital age. I remember when Mom got her first (and only) computer. She tried to learn how to operate it (with lessons from one of her grand children), but she couldn’t even get open her email. Frustrated by the “new technology”, she just gave the computer to her grandchild. My brother, Mike, managed TheRecipeDetective.com website for Mom and Dad, from where he lived, on the west coast; including their online orders and emails.
Even though she didn’t understand the internet, herself, Mom was so happy about reaching a whole new generation of people with her recipes and stories again! It’s ironic that it took Mom a couple years to write the original book (which she first self-published in May of 1982) and it took me a couple years to re-write it and re-format it for her!
After Mom passed away, in 2018, Mike passed the website on to me that summer. I had begun learning how to blog so that I could write about Mom, in an online forum, reaching as many people as I could. I wanted to get her the recognition I thought she deserves for having been the pioneer (and the GOAT) of copycat cookery.
Since this is the second Monday in January, it’s also… National Clean Off Your Desk Day! This is something I would celebrate but not Mom. In fact, any given Monday, I’m usually cleaning the weekend’s accumulated pile of stuff off my desk!
In honor of January’s observance for National Slow Cooking Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Apple Butter, using a slow cooker; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 279). [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…
Some of January’s other observances include… National Blood Donor Month, National Hot Tea Month, National Mentoring Month, National Oatmeal Month, National Soup Month, and National Sunday Supper Month!
Sunday, January 16th is… National Fig Newton Day, National Nothing Day, and National Religious Freedom Day! It’s also the start of the third week of January, which celebrates, among other things… World Kiwanis Week, Hunt for Happiness Week, National Healthy Weight Week, and National Fresh Squeezed Juice Week!
…2 down and 50 to go!