Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Summer Soars

As always, #HappyMonday to one and all! Personally, I always look forward to every Monday because they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#SummerBegins

#NationalCampingMonth

#GreatOutdoorsMonth

In the northern hemisphere, it’s National Summer Begins Day; called the Summer Solstice, it’s the longest day of the year. Unlike the Winter Solstice, which is the shortest day. Lately, the days and nights, here, have been growing hotter as well as longer. At this time of year, almost every living thing is more active and energetic than at any other time of the year – plants are growing bigger and faster, and people (as well as animals) are “on the go”, doing more outdoor activities.

Schools are out of session for the next few months and families are planning their summer activities and vacations. Summer vacations create some of the most wonderful memories! In fact, the month of June is still celebrating National Camping Month and National Great Outdoors Month, as well.

During the summer months [unofficially, Memorial Day through Labor Day], is usually the best time for special events like company picnics, graduation parties, class/family reunions, and weddings. These are always the busiest months, especially as Michigan’s tourism is on the rise. There’s so much to do in Michigan’s great outdoors, especially May through September!

The summer activities and entertainment venues vary slightly, by region – but usually, throughout the summer, you can find, somewhere nearby, a botanical garden, flea market, farmer’s market, petting zoo, classic car show and/or “cruise”; as well as thespian renaissance, art, craft, and/or music festivals. Pools, beaches and water parks are also open now, everywhere you look. Additionally, you’ll find seasonal amusement parks, small-town carnivals, and 4-H/county fairs.

Some of the outdoor, summer sports and other such activities that Michiganders enjoy include baseball, softball, soccer, track, golf, disc golf, putt-putt golf, tennis, volleyball, and horseshoes (the game). Then there’s the backyard games like cornhole, ladder toss, washer toss, and so on. Many table-top games have been made into large lawn versions for people’s backyard enjoyment (or to take them to a park or camping).

Many in-land summer activities include picnicking, camping, hiking, biking, motor sport racing, motorcycling, motocross, dirt biking, “4-wheeling”, “mudding”, dune buggy riding, horseback riding, and more. Popular water sports and other such activities include kayaking, canoeing, sailing, boating, jet skiing, water skiing, parasailing, swimming, scuba diving, snorkeling, and fishing – even building sand castles at the beach.

#PureMichigan

Michigan has 3,288 miles of fresh water coastline that borders four of the five Great Lakes, giving it the record for being the longest in the U.S. In fact, regardless of water type (sea or fresh), Michigan is second only to Alaska in total length of coastline.

That’s a lot of beaches – and there are even more beaches along the state’s many in-land lakes and rivers, as well. It’s no wonder that water sports and activities are among Michiganders’ favorites, fishing possibly being number one. Our fantastic blue water surroundings are what attracts most of the tourists who visit here.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May-June 1987, 126th issue, p. 3)

GOOD SAM – CARING AND CAMPING

NEEDLESS TO SAY, I can’t wait until we can begin our ‘motor-home camping’ again with our Good Sam friends. It’s our weekend vacation pleasure, May through October. Becoming part of the Good Sam organization is the best thing that has ever happened to us.

Where we could both enjoy mutual friendships and activities. [Plus,] wonderful, caring people, who constantly remind us that ‘there are no strangers in Good Sam – only friends we haven’t met, yet!’

After all of us kids moved out, on our own, Mom and Dad bought a camper and traveled a lot during the summer months – often mixing work with pleasure (although, Mom’s work was also her pleasure). It was undoubtedly much more affordable, with only the two of them than when they took us kids along, renting cabins or motel rooms!

Joining the Good Sam Club was always among Mom and Dad’s most favorite experiences and a huge source of wonderful friendships and memories. Mom kept many scrap books full of photos and special keepsakes from their many trips with the Michigan and Ohio chapters of Good Sam.

Mom often wrote about those trips her summer newsletter issues – from the new restaurant dishes they tried as they traveled (of which Mom imitated when they went home) to all of the great people they met everywhere they went. Mom and Dad especially looked forward to Good Sam’s big “Samboree” events! Mom would sometimes lecture at these about her short-cut cookery concepts and recipe imitations, such as those in her Mostly 4-Ingredients cookbook.

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. 100)

MORE THAN FRIENDS

FRIENDS ARE A TREASURE and, when we count our blessings, we count our friends twice! It’s not possible to have a full and happy life without others to share with, to help when help is needed, to be helped when help is offered…

Since our camping experiences with the national RV organization, ‘Good Sam’, we have truly adopted their slogan… ‘In Good Sam there are no strangers – only friends you haven’t met yet!’ How very true. What would we have done had we not been blessed with meeting Irv and Helen Henze [or] Helen and Chuck Mogg? How much we miss Chuck since he passed away. Friends are those people who know everything there is to know about you, but like you anyhow!

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, p. 22)

IF I WERE AN ARTIST…

… I would cover my walls with pictures that would recapture the beauty of all the lovely places I’ve been to and would miss once I had left them. I would recapture a restful sunset over the wooded hills of northern Michigan sloping toward the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes, or I would relive the blazing colors of autumn that shroud the clusters of trees along the uninhabited backgrounds of the countryside surrounding Grand Traverse Bay.

But, alas, I cannot put such places into paintings, so I’ll have to paint them with words in order to revisit them in my memory whenever the thoughts of which John Ruskin must have written – those secret places of the happy mind, ‘nests of pleasant thoughts’…‘houses built without hands for our souls to live in’.

Perhaps the food for thought, of finding these restful places in our memories, is just the elixir we often need; one more sufficiently nourished with sustenance to keep us physically fit, while we let our famished affections go hungry!

LAST THOUGHTS…

Join me again, next week, as I further discuss popular summer activities like camping, graduations, reunions, and other types of potluck-style gatherings; as well as celebrating the many food-related holidays that are being observed nationally.

IN CLOSING…

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

In honor of Wednesday, being National Onion Rings Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Onion Rings, Like BK Used to Serve”; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 112). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].

#NationalOnionRingsDay

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of June’s observances include… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Soul Food Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!

Today is also… National Vanilla Milkshake Day, National Ice Cream Soda Day, and National Seashell Day! As the third work week in June (20th-24th for 2022), it’s also… National Boys & Girls Club Week#BGCWeek!

Tomorrow is… National Peaches ‘N’ Cream Day, National Daylight Appreciation Day, National Selfie Day, and National Arizona Day!

Wednesday, June 22nd, is… National Chocolate Eclair Day!

Thursday, June 23rd, is… National Detroit-Style Pizza Day, National Hydration Day, National Pink Day, and National Pecan Sandies Day! In honor of the latter, here’s Mom’s short-cut, secret recipe from her self-published cookbook, My Personal Favorites – Limited Edition (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Nov. 2000, p. 3).

#NationalPecanSandiesDay

June 24th, is… National Pralines Day! Plus, as the Friday after Father’s Day, it’s also… Take Your Dog to Work Day!

June 25th, is… National Strawberry Parfait Day and National Catfish Day! Additionally, as the Saturday after Summer Solstice, it’s also… National Summersgiving Day!

June 26th, is… National Coconut Day, National Beautician’s Day, and National Chocolate Pudding Day!

#TGIM

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

…25 down and 27 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Clumsy Cook Or Gourmet

As always, #HappyMonday to one and all! Personally, I always look forward to every Monday because they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#KitchenKlutzesOfAmericaDay

Today is, among other things, National Kitchen Klutzes of America Day! For many years, Mom loved to joke about being a kitchen klutz, herself. She always said, “If God had intended for me to cook, He’d have given me Teflon hands!” To me, she was a gourmet cook!

As I’ve mentioned many times, Mom wrote and self-published hundreds of newsletters and at least 40 books filled with not only thousands of her own “secret” recipe imitations, but also with her humorous stories and anecdotes, helpful kitchen and household tips, as well as some history or background information about many of the companies and products she imitated.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 306)

[A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

AFTERTHOUGHTS ON BETTER COOKERY

IF THE GOOD LORD HAD INTENDED for me to be a gourmet cook, I would’ve been born with Teflon hands! Don’t misunderstand – I like to cook! But I do not wish to spend more time in the preparations as is necessary.

No one appreciates good food as much as I do. Don’t ask me how I know – I just do. It does not concern me how a dish has been prepared, if it tastes great and looks good on the table! A gourmet cook would never agree with this philosophy. However, anyone can become a gourmet cook, that is, if that is what you wish.

All you need are numerous ingredients of good quality, a lot of time and patience and twice as much money – not to mention, and unblushing candor for admitting without modesty you are a ‘gourmet’ cook. This admission will intimidate many people just as easily as being faced with the admission that somebody is a terrific dancer, a great singer or an exceptional parent.

And while it is perfectly acceptable and not the least bit conceited to say one is a ‘gourmet’ cook, there is still a tendency to back off from them because you know how many failures you have experienced and how skilled you would like to be in the kitchen, if only you had the time and the energy – and a generous allowance with which to buy all the right ingredients.

‘BETTER COOKERY’ is my answer to the ‘gourmets’, who insist that ‘fast food’ tastes like cardboard – and, sometimes, the various menu selections really do! But there are many family-type restaurants within the division of the fast food industry that turn out exceptional meals for very reasonable prices, even giving senior citizens discounts and paying careful attention to how children are serviced.

When you’re a gourmet cook, you naturally have a throbbing desire to enjoy perfection with every dish, whether you’re preparing it, or someone else! To a gourmet cook, compliments go with the territory – failures don’t! They expect EVERY dish to be perfect enough to warrant a complement!

What can I say – Mom knew how take the monotony out of meal time! She designed her publishings like patchwork quilts, with a piece of this and a piece of that, sewn together with love, faith, and humor; offering a variety of things that would interest her readers. She intended them to be “coffee-table-reads” just as well as recipe collections for the kitchen.

There were no other cookbooks or newsletters on the market, back then, that offered what Mom did! Her compositions stood out and captured a lot of attention that spread like wildfire! It was a perfect storm – from the subject matter and unique layout to the media exposure she received – mostly through radio but also via newspapers, magazines and TV – all of which generated Mom’s reputation as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM of the American food industry.

Mom was greatly influenced by comedians and writers like Carol Burnett, Mary Tyler Moore, and Lucille Ball. Other talented ladies who inspired Mom, include Erma Bombeck, Elsie Masterton, Peg Bracken, and Irma Rombauer – just to name a handful.

In fact, a lot of the crafty format that Mom used in her newsletters and cookbooks was also 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, Detroit), called “Here’s Carol Duvall”. The two became fast friends.

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

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)

MAKING FRIENDS

LUCK, as the critics said, really had nothing to do with our success, unless the definition of LUCK is when preparation and experience meet opportunity. That is, indeed, a blessing worth counting twice, also. However, I have learned from my very wise mother, whose advice was always inspiring and encouraging, that rather than count my BLESSINGS, I should carefully count my OPPORTUNITIES!

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.

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!

LAST THOUGHTS…

Merriam-Webster.com says that gourmet is “of, relating to, or being high quality, expensive, or specialty food typically requiring elaborate and expert preparation” – but also, simply, as “one who takes pleasure in eating and drinking”; being a connoisseur in food and drink and the discriminating enjoyment of them. Mom agreed, in that…

IN CLOSING…

In honor of June, being National Country Cooking Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for “Marie Calendar-Style Cornbread”; as seen in her self-published cookbook… Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 100).

#NationalCountryCookingMonth

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of this month’s observances include… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Camping Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, and National Soul Food Month!

Today is also… National Weed Your Garden Day and National Sewing Machine Day! Plus, as the second Monday of June, it’s… National Etiquette Week (13th-17th for 2022)!

Tomorrow is… U.S. Army Birthday, National Strawberry Shortcake Day, National Bourbon Day, National New Mexico Day, and National Flag Day! Plus, Sunday began the week-long observance of… National Flag Week (12th-18th for 2022)!

Wednesday, June 15th, is… National Smile Power Day and Nature Photography Day!

Thursday, June 16th, is… National Fudge Day! Here’s Mom’s imitation of “Mackinac Island Light Fudge”!

#NationalFudgeDay

June 17th, is… National Eat Your Vegetables Day, National Stewart’s Root Beer Day, National Apple Strudel Day, and National Cherry Tart Day! Plus, as the third Friday in June (for 2022), it’s also, National Take Back the Lunch Break Day! Additionally, as the Friday before Father’s Day, it’s also… National Wear BLUE Day!

June 18th, is… National Go Fishing Day and National Splurge Day! Speaking of which…

#NationalSplurgeDay

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

June 19th, is… National Garfield the Cat Day, Juneteenth, and National Martini Day! As June’s third Sunday, it’s also Father’s Day and Turkey Lovers’ Day (plus, it’s National Turkey Lovers Month, too)!

#TGIM

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

…24 down and 28 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Gardening For Health & Groceries

Happy Monday and happy June! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalGardeningWeek

#GardeningExerciseDay

#GreatOutdoorsMonth

Since yesterday was the first Sunday in June, this is National Gardening Week! In fact, today’s also National Gardening Exercise Day! Plus, since gardening is usually done outdoors, I also wanted to point out that it’s National Great Outdoors Month, too! That’s a win-win-win! It’s like a “hat trick” for gardening!

With the rising costs of groceries and the continued broken links in supply chains, many people have started growing some of their own food. Others have also taken up raising chickens, fishing, and hunting to supplement the rising costs of eggs and meat, as well. You could say that homesteading has found a new regeneration, especially in the last few years!

There are so many groceries you can make at home, from the garden to the kitchen. First, plant the seeds; then you also have to weed, mulch, compost, water, and repeat until harvest time. However, the editors of Publications International, Ltd. claim in their article, 20 Everyday Activities and the Calories They Burn (as seen on HowStuffWorks.com), that two hours of gardening burns about 648 calories or more!

Gardening is very healthy in more ways than one! There’s the obvious nutritional value from growing your own food. In addition, it provides a lot of essential Vitamin D; since, as I mentioned earlier, it’s mostly an outdoor activity, where the sunshine is a natural source for Vitamin D!

According to an infographic, 6 Wonderful Health Benefits of Gardening, on OrganicLesson.com, gardening also strengthens the immune system, relieves stress and elevates happiness; providing a physical workout, stimulating the brain and encouraging a healthier diet! No broken links in that supply chain of winning benefits to gardening!

Mom had a raised garden bed, when we lived in Algonac, about 8-ft square. I remember helping her plant strawberries, pickling cucumbers, tomatoes, and peppers! I also recall picking rhubarb, apples and pears (from our little orchard and along our driveway) for her pie and cobbler recipes.

During the first couple years of writing and self-publishing her newsletter, Mom included gardening tips each month. Eventually that went to the wayside, along with some other “segments”, to make room for more “secret recipes”. As Mom’s recipe business grew in the mid-1970s, she had a lot less time to spend on a garden.

I enjoyed learning how to garden from Mom! I always loved harvesting the fruits and vegetables, from which she created so many wonderful dishes and desserts. Her strawberry-rhubarb pie was one of my favorites! [NOTE: There’s a copy of her sugar-free recipe near the end of this post.]

After we moved to St. Clair, she couldn’t devote anymore time to a garden again, but she did continue to, at least, have a couple of tomato plants in patio pots every spring to fall. Mom had a very green thumb with all the plants, in the house and the garden.

I think Mom picked up a lot of her gardening skills from Dad’s mom, who always had a wonderful tomato garden, when she lived on French Road in Detroit. Mom learned a lot about canning from her, too. I remember Mom always using coffee grounds and grounded egg shells in her gardens and patio pots to help her tomato plants flourish.

While most of Mom’s recipes focused on imitating fast food, junk food, and restaurant dishes at home; many covered duplicating convenience foods, grocery products and “extenders” at home, as well. She even published a collection of them in her cookbook, The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979).

When Mom described that cookbook for advertisements, she said “this exceptional cookbook includes some basic principles of canning and freezing foods, as well as making your own mixes, sauces and seasonings for a great financial savings compared to buying them!”

She learned the basics from my Grandma Pitzer and continued learning on her own, through trial and error – and some advice from Better Homes & Gardens and other such magazines. Mom loved to save money on the family budget and, whenever she discovered such ways, she also loved to share her secrets!

I still save my coffe grounds and egg shells for my own garden. My Christmas deer, lawn ornaments (lights removed) are repurposed as “trellises”, during their off-seasons, for my vining cucumbers and summer squash – then I don’t have to worry about storing them!

People are regaining interest in growing and making their own food, as well as DIY health and beauty products. Many have started small, online business, especially in the past few years; selling their products from home to those who may not have the time or talents for making it, themselves.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; August 2000, Issue 215, p. ?)

INSPIRATION

MY OWN INSPIRATION to become a better cook than I was came originally from the two most important influences in my young life, my mother and my mother-in-law. From my mom I learned the elegant, artistic presentation of even the most humble leftovers and the joy of making any meal an occasion rather than a ritual.

From my mother-in-law, I learned (while we were living with Paul’s parents), the art of practical food preparations, preserving and canning techniques not always found in the popular cookbooks… How to make your own ingredients when you were out of something.

And so, by combining the lessons learned, from both women, I became an accomplished cook (and much against my better judgement)!

Since then, inspiration has come to me from various other sources, including the big, boring, generic cookbooks. These recipes are always a challenge to try and “Pitzerize”, condensing the lengthy number of ingredients into only a few and arrive at a similar result.

It’s something you will become accustomed to doing once you have used Secret RecipesTM for a while. Whatever requires, for instance, tomato sauce, vinegar, and a little sugar makes use of ketchup, instead – a good replacement of 3 ingredients. Likewise, others will occur to you as you continue to cook. If inspiration doesn’t come to you immediately, give it time and, with practice, I promise it will.

LAST THOUGHTS…

Now’s a great time for getting outdoors and gardening! The weather is getting nicer, and the daylight hours are getting longer. If you don’t have your own garden, or room for one, you can plant a few seeds in patio planters; or check your area for a community garden, in which to participate!

When planting vegetables, some seeds are better to start indoors, like tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, and broccoli. After 6-8 weeks of growth, the “seedlings” can be transplanted in the garden, when the weather conditions are more optimum for your planting zone.

Some seedlings don’t transplant well and should be sown right into the ground when weather allows. Examples include corn, beans, and peas. Cover them at night, with a sheet, if frost conditions are possible.

IN CLOSING…

In honor of TODAY, being National Applesauce Cake Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for “Applesauce Cake”; as seen her self-published cookbook – Eating Out at Home (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; September 1978, p. 32).

#ApplesauceCakeDay

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of June’s observances include… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Camping Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Soul Food Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!

Today is also… National D-Day and National Drive-In Movie Day!

June 7th, is… National Chocolate Ice Cream Day, National VCR Day, and National Oklahoma Day!

June 8th, is… National Best Friends Day and National Upsy Daisy Day!

June 9th, is… National Donald Duck Day and National Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day! Here’s Mom’s secret recipes for [Sugar-Free Strawberry] Rhubarb Pie AND [Sugar-Free] Strawberry Jam & Ice Cream Topping; as seen in her self-published cookbook, Sugar-Free Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1987, pp. 6 & 10).

#StrawberryRhubarbPieDay

June 10th, is… National Egg Roll Day, National Ballpoint Pen Day, National Iced Tea Day, National Black Cow Day, and National Herbs and Spices Day – here’s Mom recipe for imitating “the Colonel’s”, as seen in her last book – Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – Best Of The Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 90)!

#HerbsAndSpicesDay

Oven Fried Kentucky-Style Chicken – available on this website, in the “Recipes” tab. HUNDREDS more recipes in…

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

June 11th, is… National Making Life Beautiful Day, National Corn on the Cob Day, and National German Chocolate Cake Day! Plus, as the second Saturday in June, it’s also… National Rosé Day!

June 12th, is… National Red Rose Day [it’s also National Rose Month], National Jerky Day, National Peanut Butter Cookie Day, and National Loving Day! Plus, as the second Sunday in June (for 2022), it’s also… National Children’s Day!

#TGIM

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

…23 down and 29 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Vacations Make Memories

As usual, happy Monday to everyone! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays; as they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

Today is the last Monday in May, which is, among other things, always Memorial Day! It’s the dawn – or unofficial start – of summer. It’s the eve of June Eve! After all, April had showers that brought us May flowers, but the month of June can’t come too soon!

Friday was National Road Trip Day and National Cooler Day! It was also the start of our first “extended weekend” of the year. A lot of people (me and my husband included) packed up coolers (and some other things) and hit the road for our first long getaway of 2022.

#NationalCampingMonth

#GreatOutdoorsMonth

Outdoor activities are on the rise again, especially as the weather is getting warmer and more summer-like; plus, the days keep getting longer. As such, June celebrates, among many other things, such as National Camping Month and National Great Outdoors Month! Two of my husband’s and my favorite things – (like Mom and Dad) especially since we became “empty-nesters”!

Not that it wasn’t fun camping as a family. In fact, very soon, the kids will be out of school for a few months, thus June is when a lot of families start taking road trips and vacations. Whether it’s to a favorite somewhere they’ve been before or exploring someplace new, vacation times are some of the best memory-making times!

Below is a story Mom wrote for her syndicated column, No Laughing Matter. I think, from the descriptions of us on the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes, it’s from a long summer vacation we took in 1971, to West Virginia, to see our relatives from Dad’s side of the family.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

No Laughing Matter, by Gloria Pitzer (circa 1970s)

HOW TO TRAVEL WITH YOUR KIDS (And Live to Tell About It!)

I HAVE NOTHING AGAINST traveling with our kids – as long as we can go in separate cars. A current poll, taken among the mothers of the Sears Sandbox symposium shows 10 to 1 in favor of going around Harsens Island on a skateboard, as opposed to traveling anywhere by car with their kids – even to the mailbox at the end of the [200-foot long] driveway.

For one thing, any trip is going to be automatically rated ‘X’ when, before you can get out of your own driveway, you must first settle which child is going to sit next to a window and which child won’t. Before the trip is scarcely underway, we can always depend upon the child who rolls the window down, because they need some air, to be sitting next to the child who wants the window up because they’re cold.

The Sunday supplement ads for vacation-minded families, who want matching luggage, are a waste of time. Who wants matching luggage, when it should, by all rights, be packed in a U-Haul truck and immediately be disorganized the minute you unlock the motel room [or cabin] door…

Because this is usually the exact moment I have to find a clean shirt and slacks for the one who spilled their Dairy Queen [treat] all over themselves. If I told him once, I told him a hundred times: ‘let me hold the shake for you while you drive, Honey!’

The real trouble with packing, I feel, is that you usually end up taking all the wrong kind of clothes. When you leave home in the middle of a driving snow and the skies are icy grey and bleak, it doesn’t occur to you that 450 miles south you’ll be shedding the snow jackets and galoshes; wishing you had brought those shorts and tennis shoes, after all.

It is completely ridiculous to allow any child to pack their own suitcase. Chances are, they will try to convince you that one change of underwear is going to be adequate for a 10-day vacation – and that’s when I visualize myself spending all of my time sitting out the duration of our trip, watching my enzymes and bleach race their way to the dirt and grime in some out-of-the-way, ‘coin-op’ laundry [facility].

Some of the motel rooms we’ve stayed in, have been pretty nice; but then, there are some others that left us feeling we could have had the same conveniences, for which we were paying $50 per day, for free had we stayed at home. If [I] can’t wash 6 days [worth of] dirty underwear in the wash basin, [we] can’t stay there!

Not one of the lovely travel brochures I read showed ‘the happy family’, as they pull up to the Pennsylvania turnpike gate without realizing that the baby ate the toll card along the way. I can say, with all honesty, that we intimately know every public restroom on the Ohio and Pennsylvania turnpikes… not to mention, 3 plazas in West Virginia and several in Niagara Falls.

Another thing about traveling with the kids is that, invariably, the best restaurant is always just around the bend, after you’ve [already] stopped at the worst [one]. We are further engaged in the constant inquiries of the children who will, at annoying intervals, in the perfect unison of an acapella choir ask: ‘When are we going to get there?’

The remainder of the trip is spent… painfully telling them that I never wanted to read the roadmap for [Daddy] in the first place; and how was I to know that he wanted Exit 7, not 11! And how do you explain to the service station attendant that you were foolish enough to let your wife read the map and now you’re lost?

I’ll be darned if I know – but, before we take another trip with the kids, we’ll have a bumper sticker on our car that reads: ‘Approach with caution – driver under the influence of children!’

#NationalPhotographyMonth

I have so many great, childhood memories of summertime vacations with my family. We frequented many Michigan tourist destinations like Tahquamenon Falls, Sault Ste. Marie, Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, Alpena, and Tawas. Other nearby, one-tank, map dots that we often enjoyed included Toronto (Ontario), Niagara Falls (Ontario), and Cedar Point in Sandusky (OH).

Mom took most of the pictures we have of our family vacations. However, every once in a while Dad took a few shots of us with Mom. That was long before the digital age – back when we used rolls of film, which had limited numbers of pictures that could be taken. Additionally, you never knew whether any or all of the shots were good or not until you had them developed into hard copy pictures.

I’ll always best remember one particular summer vacation that we (Mom, Dad, me and my younger sister, Cheryl) took in 1979. We were staying at the Grand Hotel, on Mackinac Island. That same week, a movie crew happened to be there, filming “Somewhere in Time”; starring Christopher Plummer, Christopher Reeve, and Jane Seymour!

We actually got to meet and talk to the stars. What a special treat that was for all of us to experience! Unfortunately, a lot of our pictures from that vacation didn’t come out very well – over exposed or something.

IN CLOSING…

In honor of May, still being National American Cheese Month for a couple of days, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Macaroni & Cheese, like Beefeater’s; as seen in her self-published cookbook, Eating Out At Home (National Home News, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1978, p. 22)!

#AmericanCheeseMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of May’s observances include… Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Today is also… National Creativity Day, National Water a Flower Day, and National Mint Julep Day!

Tomorrow is… National Macaroon Day, National Utah Day, and National Smile Day!

Wednesday begins the month of June, celebrating, among other things… National Fresh Fruit and Vegetables Month, National Candy Month, National Caribbean American Month, National Country Cooking Month, National Dairy Month, National Iced Tea Month, National Papaya Month, National Pollinators Month, National Soul Food Month, National Rose Month, and National Turkey Lovers Month!

June 1st, is also… National Olive Day, National Say Something Nice Day, National Pen Pal Day, and National Hazelnut Cake Day!

Thursday, June 2nd, is… National Rotisserie Chicken Day and National Rocky Road Day! Plus, it’s also National Leave The Office Early Day – unless June 2nd falls on a weekend, then it’s celebrated on the nearest business day!

June 3rd, is… National Egg Day, National Repeat Day, and National Chocolate Macaroons Day! Plus, as the first Friday in June (for 2022), it’s also… National Doughnut Day! In honor of the first two, here’s a repeat of Mom’s “Deviled Eggs” recipe from her self-published cookbook, Sugar-Free Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1987, p. 68).

#NationalEggDay

#NationalRepeatDay

June 4th, is… National Cheese Day, National Cognac Day, and National Hug Your Cat Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in June (for 2022), it is also… National Trails Day, National Bubbly Day, National Prairie Day, and National Play Outside Day [which is the first Saturday of EVERY month]!

June 5th, is… National Gingerbread Day and National Veggie Burger Day!

#TGIM

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

…22 down and 30 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Dawn of Summer

Hello and happy Monday to all! I personally look forward to Mondays, each and every week! They’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

The year is almost half-way through and the dawn of summer (aka: Memorial Day, which is considered the un-official start of summer) is only a week away! Memorial Day was originally established as a day of remembrance, set aside to honor our veterans who died, serving in the U.S. military.

Our hearts go out to their surviving families, as those veterans gave their lives, protecting our country and our freedoms. Therefore, while we enjoy celebrating our freedoms this coming weekend, keep in mind at what cost we have them, in the first place! Likewise, let us also commemorate those veterans for the ultimate sacrifice they all made for us.

Traditionally, many towns honor their local veterans with floral wreaths and small American flags on their graves, as well as with community parades and special memorial services. Afterward, many of us will celebrate the extended weekend with pot-lucks or family picnics or backyard barbecues [as it is National Barbecue Month, too]!

#NationalBarbecueMonth

For some reason, Americans always like to find ways to “celebrate”, even the most somber of days, with optimism, happiness, and hope – and, of course, food! As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this is one of those holidays that didn’t make Wikipedia’s top 10 celebrated Public Holidays in the United States. But it’s still noteworthy as being celebrated with a lot of food!

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. 4)

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS…

WE ALL EXPECT life to be good to us – most of the time. That isn’t too much to ask, now, is it? But when things don’t work out the way we had planned or [as we had] hoped… the tendency is there to feel [that] life gave us lemons. The best experiences often come out of the biggest disappointments. So, when life gives you lemons, you have to make lemonade – turning a ‘let-down’ into a ‘set-up’…

Norman Vincent Peale once said that God never closes a door that he hasn’t opened a window. But the opportunities that are available to us aren’t always the most obvious when we’re in the throes of self-pity or weary from overwork… You certainly won’t hear opportunity knocking at the front door if you’re in the backyard, looking for four-leaf clovers.

To seize every opportunity to express your very best effort is the kind of motivation with which I grew up and have passed on to our five, now-adult, children. When they all lined up for this Memorial Day snapshot [in 1969 (below)], before we left to march in the big parade in beautiful, downtown Algonac; little did we know how beautifully our [lives] would turn out. How little did we know what big challenges would tempt us to give up [and] to succumb to defeat.

#RoadTripDay

#NationalCoolerDay

Additionally, this coming Friday will also be National Road Trip Day and National Cooler Day! It’s one of those times, with the extended weekend, when hundreds of thousands of people (me and my husband included) will hit the road for a long weekend getaway – or maybe just a one day journey with a picnic somewhere.

After my parents became empty-nesters and needed a break from their long work week, they often chose to go on a road trip somewhere. It didn’t matter if it was a planned route or the “other scenic route” (that’s what Dad called it when he got lost). They were together and away from “it all”, just enjoying each other and the beautiful Michigan scenery!

#PureMichigan

Sometimes, however, work would always manage to creep back in whenever they stopped for a bite to eat, as Mom usually managed to find something good that she wanted to analyze and duplicate when she got back home. My husband and I can relate to the road trip getaway. We love taking road trips like my parents did. Michigan, and the whole Great Lakes area, is a wonderful place to explore and unwind from a hectic work week.

Needless to say, I can’t wait until we can begin our ‘motor-home camping’ again with our Good Sam friends. It’s our weekend vacation pleasure, May through October. Becoming part of the Good Sam organization is the best thing that has ever happened to us, where we could both enjoy mutual friendships and activities. Wonderful, caring people, who constantly remind us that ‘there are no strangers in Good Sam – only friends we haven’t met, yet!’ – Gloria Pitzer, from Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May-June 1987, 126th issue, p. 3)]

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Jan-Feb. 1988, p. 1)

GOOD SAM, GOOD EXAMPLE

One thing among many that I have learned from Good Sam, the national RV organization, to which Paul and I have belonged for three years now [since 1985]; is that you should never ever withhold your enthusiasm for caring about others.

Never regret anything you do or say on behalf of the good it might bring to those [about whom] you care – for, if your motives are unselfish, and your intentions are to encourage or enrich or benefit others, you can’t lose. You should jump right in, adding enthusiasm to whatever it is that you are doing that might appear to be just a passive condition when enthusiasm is needed.

Try a little enthusiasm! …Enthusiasm and optimism go hand-in-hand with happiness. These provide us with an emotional springboard from which we can dive quite smoothly, into deep and troubled waters, and still surface refreshed and invigorated. (p. 1)

The trouble with trying to be happy all the time is that most people look for one particular condition or experience or possession, from which they hope to derive complete contentment, forgetting that happiness is a moment – not a forever! (p. 4)

MANY PEOPLE FEEL THAT life is uphill all the way. They fail to look at the things that are good, enjoyable, and worthwhile. They are conscience only of the climb. No road is ever uphill forever! We should soon learn the importance of being able to also come downhill without fear and be able to notice the scenery along the road, too.’ – Gloria Pitzer, The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979)

LAST THOUGHTS…

Here are four basic tips for planning road trips that I shared last year…

    • Always bring a real roadmap, as there are places that actually don’t have any cell service for miles.
    • Allow extra time and gas (or electric charge – whatever the case may be) for spontaneity. In case you decide to take a detour or two to other map dots along the way!
    • Stop frequently and take breaks – “smell the roses”, photograph the memories, and talk to the locals.
    • Pack a cooler with some drinks and snacks, even if you plan to eat at restaurants along the way. You know what they say about the best laid plans…

I hope you enjoy your extended weekend and 2022’s dawn of summer!

IN CLOSING…

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

In honor of May, also being National Salad Month, here is Mom’s secret recipe for Seven Layer Salad – from her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 37), a revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).

This was always a popular dish that Mom to took to many summer pot lucks. I also shared this recipe with Kathy Keene’s “Good Neighbor” audience, on WHBY (in Appleton, WI), around this time last year.

#NationalSaladMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of May’s observances include… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month,  National Inventor’s Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Today is also… National Lucky Penny Day and National Taffy Day!

May 24th, is… National Yucatan Shrimp Day, National Brother’s Day, National Escargot Day, and National Wyoming Day! 

May 25th, is… National Brown-Bag It Day and National Wine Day!

May 26th, is… National Blueberry Cheesecake Day!

May 27th, is… National Grape Popsicle Day! Plus, as the Friday before Memorial Day (for 2022), it is also… National Don’t Fry Day! 

May 28th, is… National Brisket Day, National Beef Burger Day, and National Hamburger Day! [NOTE: It’s also National Hamburger Month!] In honor of the latter three, here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitation of White Castle’s sliders…

#NationalBeefBurgerDay

#NationalHamburgerDay

#NationalHamburgerMonth

Sunday, May 29th, is… National Coq Au Vin Day!

#TGIM

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

…21 down and 31 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrate Your Neighbors

Happy Monday! I always look forward to Mondays! They’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#DoSomethingGoodForYourNeighborDay

Today is National Do Something Good for Your Neighbor Day! A neighbor was once defined as being near or next door to another. That has since expanded broadly to include any fellow human being.

Key traits of good neighbors include being friendly, available, and approachable. Other good traits are being respectful, mature, helpful, and trustworthy. Friendly neighbors always welcome new residents, introducing themselves, as well as other neighbors; always maintaining relationships and being sociable.

Generations ago, it was commonplace to know most, if not all, of your neighbors! However, according to a great article by John Anderer (Dec. 27, 2019), Sign Of The Times: 75% Of Adults Aren’t Friends With Any Of Their Neighbors, “1 in 4 people are living somewhere with ‘no sense of community spirit’ in their neighborhood.”

Over the decades, people have withdrawn from socializing with their neighbors. Furthermore, John wrote that “56% say they have no interest in getting to know those who live next door any better than they already do. But the survey did find that people living in rural areas (18%) are more likely to have friends in their neighborhood than city dwellers (15%).”

Mom celebrated “neighbors” (in the broader meaning) over the radio airwaves for many decades, 1974 to 2014, starting with Bob Allison and his Detroit area Ask Your Neighborshow’s audience, who were the first to call her “The Secret Recipe Detective”.

Bob and Mom formed a fast friendship, and she soon became a regular guest on his show every Monday for decades, sharing her secrets for imitating famous foods.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Secret Restaurant Recipes Book (National Homemaker’s Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; Jan. 1977)

ASK YOUR NEIGHBOR

FOR NEARLY TWO YEARS, we had only a hundred readers or so. Then, because some good folks in the media took a liking to the newsletter and mentioned it, subscriptions picked up. Bob Allison of Detroit’s WWJ-Radio [show], Ask Your Neighbor, probably gave us the most enthusiastic reception, which led to our becoming a sponsor of the show and caught the attention of the ‘Detroit Free Press’ ‘Newsweek’, ‘National Enquirer’ and many others until we found our circulation had jumped…to nearly 4,000 in a little more than a year.

The duplications of the famous name recipes stirred the [public’s] interest. It was a service that apparently had not been offered to the public yet, and one we were most happy to supply. The humorous columns I had [been syndicating] to newspapers just a few years before became a popular attraction in the monthly newsletter…

The operation grew so quickly that it had the whole family working seven days a week, just to keep up with the orders. All of our five children helped to assemble, staple, address, and mail out the copies under my husband’s supervision, until we reached about 3,000 readers and then we found it [to be] such a full-time activity that my husband resigned from his position of 20-some years as an account t executive for a sign company… just  to devote all of his attention to running my ‘office’. 

It was such a joy to be doing something for people that brought them so much happiness and our own family such a sense of unity. When our oldest son, Bill, went off to college… and our [other] son, Mike… we had to replace them. It was pure luck [or Divine intervention] that one of my friends, and the wife of one of the Little League coaches that Paul had worked with in baseball, here, in town, was anxious to help us out.

Sherry Ellis joined us, and I can only describe her as ‘bubbling like a happy brook’ – the best thing that this office could have hoped for. Debbie, our oldest daughter, continued to help us after school and our two younger daughters, Laurie and Cheryl… It even included my mother’s assistance and, you’ll note, I have used some of her recipes. Without her, I never would have learned to boil water properly. She’s a superb cook!

[As of] January 1977, we will publish our 37th monthly issue of the ‘National Homemaker’s Newsletter’ and we [now] have close to 5,000 readers. We say that getting the newsletter is just like getting together once a month for coffee with friends!

It was a bittersweet day when Mom published her last newsletter (Issue #219) in December 2000 – after 27 years of “getting together” with her thousands of readers, who she always thought of as her neighbors and friends. But she reveled in keeping in touch with them through her radio “appearances”.

By the way, Mom also celebrated neighbors for almost 13 years (June 1992 through December 2005), as did I for 13 months (April 2020 through May 2021), with radio talk show host, Kathy Keene, and her “Good Neighbor” show’s audience, on WHBY in Appleton, WI. I’m honored to have been able to share that with her.

According to a consensus of online advice, a few great ways to make friends with your neighbors, new or otherwise, include taking the initial step (if they haven’t come to you) and knocking on their doors, with a greeting and introduction.

Sometimes organizing a housewarming party or backyard barbecue can create a great ice-breaker event between neighbors, in which they can get to know each other. Such gatherings help neighbors and neighborhoods find common ground on which to connect.

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, from…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, pp. 50 & 59)

DON’T GIVE UP!

PEOLE NOWADAYS GIVE UP too easily. They’ll donate a dollar to an anonymous recipient of any given charity but won’t give two words to an offended neighbor – the two most important words of successfully living side-by-side – ‘I’m sorry.’

You don’t throw away the patient because the bandage needs changing. You try again, and again, and again for some common ground of understanding. Otherwise, how will we, as a society, ever be able to love our neighbors across the world, until we’ve first learned to love those across the street? (p. 50)

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED

IT’S GOOD TO HAVE good neighbors! I guess that’s why I never want to move from this house. We don’t even know all of our neighbors by name, but we recognize their smiles and respond to their waving when we passed by or see each other in town.

The other day I asked one of the older neighbors on the block where he got his lovely outlook on life, which he said he borrowed from Khalil Gibran: ‘I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind.’ (p. 59)

LAST THOUGHTS…

IN CLOSING…

Today is National Barbecue Day AND it’s National Barbecue Month! In honor, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for sugar-free “Barbeque Sauce” AND FOUR MORE – #DoSomethingGoodForYourNeighborDay – related recipes including sugar-free versions of Apple Sauce, Ketchup, Apple Butter, and Catalina Dressing; all of which are found in her self-published cookbook, Sugar-Free Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1987, pp. 12, 50, 54 & 67).

#NationalBarbecueDay

#NationalBarbecueMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of May’s observances include… American Cheese Month, National Asparagus Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Other celebrations this week include… National Bike to Work Week, which began yesterday; with National Bike to Work Day observed on Friday!

Today is also… National Love a Tree Day, National Mimosa Day, and National Biographer’s Day!

Tomorrow is… National Pack Rat Day, National Cherry Cobbler Day, National Walnut Day, and National Idaho Day!

May 18th, is… National Visit Your Relatives Day, National No Dirty Dishes Day, and National Cheese Soufflé Day! Plus, as the third Wednesday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Juice Slush Day! In honor, here’s a re-share of Mom’s “Orange Brutus” recipe that is 3-in-1; from her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 32)!

#NationalJuiceSlushDay

Thursday, May 19th, is… National Devil’s Food Cake Day!

May 20th, is… National Pick Strawberries Day [plus it’s National Strawberry Month] and National Quiche Lorraine Day! Plus, as the 3rd Friday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Pizza Party Day!

May 21st, is… National Strawberries and Cream Day! Did you pick strawberries yesterday? Plus, as the 3rd Saturday in May(for 2022), it’s also… National Armed Forces Day and National Learn to Swim Day! 

Sunday, May 22nd, is… National Craft Distillery Day, World Paloma Day, National Maritime Day, National Solitaire Day, and National Vanilla Pudding Day!

#TGIM

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

…20 down and 32 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrating Food And Foodies

Once again, happy Monday! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays; as they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#MothersDay

I hope everyone enjoyed their Mother’s Day celebrations, yesterday, with their families! It’s been five years since I celebrated it with my mom. I still miss her, so much! However, I do love celebrating it with my own kids (now adults), just as Mom did with us – at a restaurant, or with carry-out, or having a backyard cookout – as long as it doesn’t involve me having to cook or clean-up for one day! On the other hand, I actually enjoy doing all that for any other celebrations!

Did you know that Mother’s Day is America’s third most celebrated holiday? The top 10 celebrated Public Holidays in the United States, according to Wikipedia, are as follows:

    1. Christmas
    2. Thanksgiving
    3. Mother’s Day
    4. Easter
    5. Independence Day
    6. Halloween
    7. Father’s Day
    8. Valentine’s Day
    9. Patrick’s Day
    10. New Year’s Day (& Eve)

Other noteworthy, unofficial “holidays”, celebrations of which embrace food (and/or drinks) in some way, include Major League Baseball’s opening day, Super Bowl Sunday, Spring Break Week, Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend!

There are also special milestones that we celebrate with food, as well – engagements, weddings and anniversaries, along with pregnancies and birthdays are most common. Additional fetes include confirmations, bar/bat mitzvas, graduations, family reunions, retirements, job promotions, and house-warmings.

People usually celebrate almost every special day or event with some kind of food (and/or drink) – except for a few religious holidays, as they focus on “fasting”. New Year’s Day through New Year’s Eve, all the big holidays and special events in our lives are, in some fashion, marketed in the food industry as much as they are commemorated in the greeting card industry!

As I’ve said before,Any reason to celebrate, is a reason to celebrate with food(Feb. 24, 2020) would make a great ad slogan – but remember, I coined it first! No matter the occasion, even for something as simple as a Sunday supper, nothing amasses people together more than food. All-in-all, we love food almost as much as we love each other.

Sharing food is how we celebrate, make friends, nurture relationships, and mend conflicts. I remember when I was young, crying to Mom that I didn’t have any friends. The next day, she sent me to school with a lunch bag full of cookies to share with the other kids. Mom firmly believed that the way to the heart is through the stomach. Thus, friendships can be formed through the sharing of good food – and cookies are great ice-breakers! It worked for me!

Food brings us comfort, happiness, and joy. It makes us feel welcomed and connected, bringing out the best in us. Common interests in food allow us to bond with others, creating a sense of fitting in. Humans, by nature, seek pleasure and they often find it in food. Certain “comfort foods” – sugar, salt, and fat based foods are the three basic culprits – trigger pleasure censors in our brains, making us feel good (emotionally).

Food obviously provides nutrients for energy, growth, and health. However, in many cultures, certain foods and drinks symbolize status, power, and wealth. Food, as well as cooking, connects people – to each other, events, and places –crossing all borders, both, literally and figuratively. “Foodie” is the modern term given to the artisan who is passionate about food (& cooking).

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipe Report (Secret Recipe Report, St. Clair, MI; Issue 85, January 1981; p. 2)

COOK’S HORROR-SCOPE

NOT MANY FOLKS KNOW, and even fewer folks care that cooking habits and preferences give a clue to others about your hidden characteristics and secret personality ingredients.

If you look closely at the kind of cooking that people enjoy, you can tell a lot about their disposition and attitudes toward life. Like an astrological reading – only in some cases it’s more like a ‘horror’-scope, the experts tell us what to expect of folks who choose the following cooking preferences:

THE GOURMET COOK – Is a perfectionist in theory – but not always in practice. They set high standards for themselves – and for others, making it difficult to please them. They’re conscientious about improving their present position, never completely satisfied with what they have and always secretly desiring to identify with the refinement and good taste that purports to accompany elegance.

THE JUNK FOOD COOK – Is a person who can make instant decisions and not be upset by an exhilarated lifestyle. They are a bit reckless in their choices, usually preferring total freedom and personal happiness even if there is a risk to be considered. They don’t like to waste time and cannot be troubled with unimportant details or pretensions. They like short-cuts because they are usually impatient – but extremely thrifty.

THE HEALTH FOOD (OR NATURAL FOODS) COOK – …Is pre-occupied with sound, physical health and well-being to the extent of sometimes sacrificing emotional well-being for disciplined decisions. How one feels physically and what makes the body operate and function properly is more important than how one thinks to this cook. They are basically apprehensive, fearful and suspicious. They insist upon facts – not assumptions. Hardly careless and extremely dedicated, they are dependable people.

DOWN-HOME COOKS – …are usually content with whatever sufficiency is assigned to them in life. They make the most of what they have, ‘making-do’ and ‘doing-without’ when necessary. They’re inventive and creative and appreciative.

ETHNIC COOKS – […are] proud of their heritage – are very family-oriented and serious about tradition, home life and moral obligations. Stable and sometimes stubborn people, but loyal!

When you enjoy cooking, spending time in the kitchen eases stress and restlessness. Cooking engages all of our senses. It also generates pleasant memories, which relieves anxiety and boosts attitudes. The immersion enhances the cook’s mood and improves happiness.

Mom turned creative cooking into a new art form when she pioneered the copycat cookery movement over 45 years ago. Cooking can be like any art form in that the artist – or the cook, in this case – finds harmony in the process of creating and satisfaction in seeing the finished product, as well as the joy it brings others.

When I was growing up, it seemed like every gathering Mom (and Dad) hosted or to which she took a dish-to-pass, Mom was a combination of David Copperfield and Da Vinci; creating, both, magic and art with her delightful, culinary cuisines! Check out a great, timeless article that I’ve recommended before, called Cooking is an Art: What Makes a Chef an Artist, Craftsman and Visionary by Colt Taylor (July 3, 2014), at EliteDaily.com!

LAST THOUGHTS…

Even if you’re not a “foodie”, here are some ways to help you fall more in love with cooking:

    • Get familiar with the basics by watching videos and/or taking a beginner’s cooking class.
    • Start with searching (online) for individual recipes that you’ll enjoy before investing in collections (i.e. books).
    • Experiment with different ingredient combinations to customize to your tastes.
    • Get family and friends involved with your new passion – share the love!

IN CLOSING…

In honor of May, being National Strawberry Month, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Aunt Jenny’s Strawberry Chiffon Pie; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p.5).

#NationalStrawberryMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of May’s observances include… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Additionally, as the second full week in May (8th-14th of 2022), it’s… National Salvation Army Week and American Craft Beer Week!

Today is… National Moscato Day and National Butterscotch Brownie Day! Plus, it’s the start of National Etiquette Week (9th-13th for 2022)!

Tomorrow is… National Clean Up Your Room Day, National Shrimp Day, and National Washington Day!

Wednesday, May 11th, is… National Eat What You Want Day and National Foam Rolling Day!

Thursday, May 12th, is… National Limerick Day and National Nutty Fudge Day!

May 13th, is… National Crouton Day, National Apple Pie Day, and National Fruit Cocktail Day! Plus, as the first “Friday-the-13th” of the year (for 2022), it’s also… National Blame Someone Else Day!

Saturday, May 14th, is… National Buttermilk Biscuit Day! In honor, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for Kentucky Biscuits, as seen in her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 101).

#ButtermilkBiscuitDay

Plus, as the 2nd Saturday of May (for 2022), it’s also… Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day!

Sunday, May 15th, is… National Chocolate Chip Day! Plus, it’s the start of Bike to Work Week [15th-21st for 2022], which is always the week of National Bike to Work Day [3rd Friday in May (the 20th for 2022)]!

#TGIM

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

…19 down and 33 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrating Mom

Happy Monday and happy May! I always look forward to Mondays! They’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalInventorsMonth

Mother’s Day is coming soon but there are also many other reasons for me to celebrate my mom this week! For one, it’s National Inventor’s Month! In the early 1970s, Mom broke new ground in the food industry, with her “invention” of “copycat cookery”, by imitating Americans’ favorite fast foods, restaurant dishes, and grocery products right at home!

Mom took the junk out of the junk foods that the critics warned us not to eat. For 40 years she wrote and self- published 40+ cookbooks, as well as hundreds of newsletter issues. Over the decades, her recipe catalog grew from a couple hundred imitations to tens of thousands! I’m still working on a master index list of all of her recipes.

Mom was on many TV and radio talk shows, locally as well as nationally and even internationally, promoting her copycat cookery concept that was taking the world by storm. As the food industry grew and evolved, so did Mom’s recipes! She also covered recipes for different needs such as sugar-free and low-carb diets and special, homemade, grocery products.

On top of all that, Mom also invented a new concept with-in her copycat cookery. She called it short-cut cookery – using 5 ingredients or less to accomplish the same end result as a longer list would achieve. For example, Mom discovered that mayonnaise made a great substitute for eggs and oil, while cake and pudding mixes contained many of the long list of dry ingredients found in things like from-scratch-cookies.

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. 70)

HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR OWN RISKY BUSINESS

LET ME ASSURE YOU, there is no formula for furthering a business like ours. Many people have asked for advice in writing and publishing a cookbook or putting out a newsletter like ours and have seemed so disappointed when I also assure them that I cannot convey to them in a brief letter conversation, what it has taken me nearly 20 years to learn, mostly through experience, through trial and error – sometimes a lot of error!

But it is always a learning experience, as was the case with Thomas Edison when he was trying to invent the dry cell battery. After 200 tests and all failures, somebody else came out with the invention. Reporters asked Edison how he felt about his 200 failures, to which he replied: ‘Those weren’t 200 failures, at all. They were 200 things I found that wouldn’t work!’

#SmallBusinessWeek

Additionally, it’s also National Small Business Week! I’ve shared Mom’s story so many times, about how she quit her job at the newspaper and went home to start her own cottage-style, dining-room-table, recipe-publishing business, with her copycat cookery concept of “eating out at home”.

Mom definitely broke new ground, in the food industry, with her concept of imitating famous fast food fares and popular restaurant dishes at home, without any fancy gadgets or ingredients that waste money. If it saved her family’s food budget, Mom wanted to share it with the world!

‘THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE I know are those who discover that what they should be doing and what they are doing are the same thing!’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 19)

Mom had a knack for branding and promoting herself, her cooking concepts, her writings, her drawings, and her recipes. She was a very talented “Jill-of-many-trades”. I fondly remember when she used to take me and my sisters to the various shopping malls and department stores for a day of “working” and shopping, combined with lunch, too!

Each of us girls would get a handful of Mom’s business cards and, while we shopped, we’d stick them in various places throughout the stores; such as in the pockets of clothes and purses and inside the covers of books, just to name a few. We’d often take a lunch break in a Hudson’s dining room – one of Mom’s favorite places, as she imitated almost three dozen of their dishes (eight of which are in her last book)!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

I always thought it was so fun! Looking back, it was a very innovative way for Mom to advertise, locally, to her target audience; which, at that time, were other homemakers, like herself. Mom found her inspiration for this marketing method from an interview she had heard of an award-winning car salesman from the Detroit area.

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. 43)

MARKETING INSPIRATION

To make the mimeograph pay for itself, I even printed up my own business cards on it, using dime-store construction paper and then cutting the cards apart with scissors until I had neat little stacks of about 50 [each] and a total of 200-300 cards. These I distributed at the mall whenever and wherever we might be in one. Paul did not know I was doing this, at first, either, or he would’ve disapproved.

It was unprofessional and risky, but I thought anything was worth a try and what I could do ‘quietly’ until I could prove it was either a mistake or a benefit, would have to be my little secret. Well, actually, the kids were a part of that secret too.

I had heard an interview on TV or radio with ‘the world’s most successful salesman’, who was a Chevrolet salesman in Detroit and who believed heartily in business cards, placing them everywhere and anywhere that it was allowed.

From his story, I found it was easy to drop my card into the pocket of a bathrobe in the ladies’ wear [area of] the department stores and in the purses and tote bags, on public phone booth stands, [in] restaurant restrooms, even in cookbooks in the bookstores. From these, you’d be surprised, we DID hear from people who wanted to know about my recipes, which was the first experience I had with public response.

LAST THOUGHTS…

Last month, we celebrated National Hug a Newsperson Day and National Columnists’ Day! Thursday is National Cartoonists Day! Mom wore each hat proudly in her lifetime – and she really did wear a lot of hats! I miss her a lot, especially as we approach next Sunday, which is Mother’s Day! Hug your mom if you can!

#NationalCartoonistsDay

IN CLOSING…

Today is National Truffle Day! In honor, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for homemade Truffles, from her self-published cookbook, The Joy Of NOT Cooking – Any More Than You Have To (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1983, p. 199).

#NationalTruffleDay

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of May’s national observances include… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Stroke Awareness Month, Older Americans Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Photography Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Additionally, as the first full week in May (1st-7th of 2022), it’s also… National Wildflower Week and National Pet Week (1st-9th of 2022)!

Today is the first Monday in May (for 2022) and as such it’s also the start of… Teacher Appreciation Week!

Tomorrow is… National Garden Meditation Day, National Chocolate Custard Day, National Raspberry Pop Over Day, and National Montana Day! Plus, as Tuesday of the first week in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Teacher Appreciation Day!

Wednesday, May 4th, is… National Bird Day, National Orange Juice Day, National Candied Orange Peel Day, and National Star Wars Day!

#StarWarsDay

May 5th, is… National Totally Chipotle Day, National Hoagie Day, and Cinco de Mayo! Plus, as the first Thursday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Day of Reason!

Friday, May 6th, is… National Beverage Day and National Crepe Suzette Day!

May 7th is… National Packaging Design Day, National Paste-Up Day, and National Roast Leg of Lamb Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Scrapbook Day, National Homebrew Day, Join Hands Day, and National Play Outside Day (which is on the 1st Saturday of EVERY month)!

Sunday, May 8th, is also… National Coconut Cream Pie Day and National Have A Coke Day! [NOTE: This is also the anniversary of Jeopardy referencing Mom & “The Colonel” (in 1986), as well as her second appearance on the Kelly & Company show (in 1991, on WXYZ-TV; channel 7, Detroit).]

Plus, as the start of the second full week in May (8th-14th of 2022), it’s… National Salvation Army Week and American Craft Beer Week!

#TGIM

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

…18 down and 34 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Stories Of Our Lives

Happy Monday, once again! I think Mondays are fabulous and I always look forward to every one of them, as they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#TellAStoryDay

#NationalHumorMonth

Wednesday is celebrating National Tell a Story Day! That’s just what I try to do, here, every Monday. I love telling stories about my mom – and it’s become one of my favorite things to do every week! Likewise, Mom always loved to tell up-lifting and humorous stories in her columns, newsletters, and books – even through her cartoon panels.

By the way, for the rest of this week, it’s still National Humor Month, too! Similar to some of her favorite comedians, Mom found her “family life” to be the best source, on which to draw inspiration for her cleverly witted, food-for-thought stories and cartoons. She was creatively gifted as an artist, writer, and story-teller – among many other things.

#CoupleAppreciationMonth

Additionally, April is National Couple Appreciation Month! And, when you think about it, none of us would be here, with stories to tell, if it weren’t for our parents getting together – and their parents (pictured above) getting together – and so on! Therefore, as far as couples go, I have to say that I really appreciate my own parents – as well as each of their parents, etcetera.

However, I would think this national observance could be better celebrated in August (rather than April) – especially in this context – as that’s when most family reunions are held, especially on Labor Day weekend, to honor the families’ elders. Otherwise, wouldn’t it make better sense to hold family reunions in April, in honor of Couple Appreciation Month? This could be the new trend for “Spring Break” events!

Mom and Dad were together for 58 years, before Dad passed away in October 2014. The first 20 years of their marriage, Dad worked in various positions at a sign company. He retired in 1976 to help Mom with her business, which had grown a lot in its first couple of years, alone; and it was taking all of his attention, when he wasn’t working at the sign company, as it was. The last 38 of those years, Mom and Dad lived and worked together, side-by-side, 24/7.

#MarriageAndCompatibility

[NOTE: I shared this in one of my February blog posts, Marriage And Compatibility, along with Mom’s story of “Compatibility And Forgiveness”, from her own self-published book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 62-64).]

It takes a very special bond – and, as Mom claimed, a lot of forgiveness – to be practically inseparable, day-in and day-out. Many couples discovered that in the early months of the “pandemic shut-down”, when most states were issuing “stay-at-home” orders to try to curb the spread.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St, Clair, MI; June 1997, pp. 28-30)

HOMESPUN AFFORDABLE & EASY TO WORK WITH

When the recipe cards became so popular that we were packaging them, sometimes in complete [$40] sets of the full 200 selections, I began to look at the possibilities of doing my own recipe books – less-expensive to the customer, surely, and less work for us considering all of the myriad choices one can have with 200 individual cards.

I assembled several single page books that I could mimeograph, remaining independent in the production of them, and came up with several workable ideas. It was very shortly thereafter, [from] a printer Paul was dealing with, at the company he worked for in the city, that we learned how to layout our own camera-ready copy and provide the recipes quite inexpensively. It was such a relief to be rid of the messy mimeograph machine.

SELF-SUFFICIENT & SUCCESSFUL

Self-publishing is a hard row to hoe, but worth all efforts when the final product is the result of your dedication and determination not to fail. We hope to now be able to accept QVC’s offer to let them sell our books in a series of six, as they asked us to do just two weeks after we signed with Guthie-Renker [1993]. With that now long behind us, we are finally free to fix things the way they were before we fixed them!

BLESSING IN DISGUISE

It was a blessing in disguise that Paul’s assignments at the company where he worked had given him the job of purchasing agent, for it certainly prepared him strongly for the responsibilities that would come our way in branching out into self-publishing our books.

Every department he worked in at Willey Sign Company gave him a basic foundation for being able to structure our business into a self-sufficient operation, from advertising to marketing and bookkeeping.

It was right after the ‘National Enquirer’ and ‘People’ magazine and ‘The Washington Post’ interviewed us and [printed] stories about our work, that he found himself spending every evening after he got home from his job, every weekend and his two-week vacation time, as well, working on our recipe business, that he knew he had to make a choice.

He had to give up his 20-year job and the benefits and such in order to devote full-time to Secret RecipesTM. It was a decision we have never regretted. With only $1000 in the bank and all of the bills that continued to come in day after day, we launched our ship of dreams and have never once had any regrets. Nor have we ever gone one day [as of this printing] since that date, August 13, 1976, without an order!

‘The experiences we have encountered in building this family enterprise of ours, this cottage industry…has occurred while distributing recipe secrets through radio [and television] broadcasting and newspaper exposure… I have met some of the nicest people in the world, some of the most generous people who want to share their good ideas with me as much as I want to share mine with them. Of these good people, I will speak often and lovingly.’ – Gloria Pitzer [My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 2)]

LAST THOUGHTS…

I have a sign, hanging proudly, near my dining room table that reads: “There’s a room in every home where the smallest events and biggest occasions become the stories of our lives.” The table is the same one I grew up with in the 1960s and 1970s. It always seemed to be my family’s favorite spot in which to gather, eat, laugh, and talk about our lives. Those were, at least for me, great times; inspiring many, humorous, family stories.

IN CLOSING…

In honor of TODAY, being National Zucchini Bread Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Zucchini Bread, Inspired By Bill Knapp’s”; as seen in her self-published cookbook… Secret Knock-Off Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Nov 1996, p. 35).

#ZucchiniBreadDay

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of April’s observances include… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, and Scottish-American Heritage Month!

Today is also… National Telephone Day and National Poem In Your Pocket Day (which changes annually – April 25 for 2022)!

Tomorrow is… National Kids and Pets Day, National South Dakota Day, and National Pretzel Day! Plus it’s also… National Soft Pretzel Month! Here’s another re-share of one of Mom’s imitations!

#NationalPretzelDay

#SoftPretzelMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

Wednesday, April 27th is… National Devil Dog Day and National Prime Rib Day!

April 28th is… National Blueberry Pie Day, National Great Poetry Reading Day, and National Workers’ Memorial Day! Plus, as the fourth Thursday in April, it’s also…  National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day and National Teach Children To Save Day!

April 29th is… National Shrimp Scampi Day! Plus, as the last Friday in April (for 2022), it’s also… National Arbor Day!

April 30th is… National Oatmeal Cookie Day, National Raisin Day, and National Hairstylist Appreciation Day! PLUS, being the last Saturday in April (for 2022), it’s also… National Sense of Smell Day!

May begins on Sunday, observing, among other things… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Stroke Awareness Month, Older Americans Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

May 1st, is also… National Loyalty Day, National May Day, and National Chocolate Parfait Day! Plus, as the first Sunday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Lemonade Day! Additionally, as the first full week in May (1st-7th of 2022), it’s also the start of… Small Business Week, National Wildflower Week, and National Pet Week (1st-9th of 2022)!

#TGIM

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

…17 down and 35 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Columnist & Cartoonist

Happy Monday everybody! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

A couple of weeks ago was National Hug a Newsperson Day and today it’s National Columnists’ Day! I used to think they’re the same but learned they’re not. A newsperson reports news stories objectively, fairly, and accurately, without opinion or viewpoint. Columnists write narratives to provoke and produce particular feelings and/or beliefs. Mom did both, preferring the latter. For many years, she was a proud member of the Federation of Press Women, in Michigan.

Before authoring and self-publishing over 200 newsletter issues and more than 40 cookbooks, Mom wrote and syndicated many journalistic columns with satirical viewpoints of current events and hot topics, particularly as they related to homemakers and their families, during the Women’s Liberation era.

Mom’s columns ran under various titles, such as The Pitzer Patter, Minding the Hearth, The Cook’s Corner, Food for Thought, and No Laughing Matter. Mom also created a series of cartoon panels, many of which I’ve shared in these blog posts, called Full House, as kept by Gloria Pitzer; which also focused on the humorous side of the not-so-liberated-life of a homemaker, like herself.

Mom always had a cynical sense of humor – not just in her writings and drawings, but also in her outlook on life. Fifty years later, I’m still amazed by the timelessness of some of the issues, about which Mom wrote. I guess the old adage is true, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.

History continually tends to repeat itself in new forms of old events. We still need to fix the roads and there’s still corruption in politics. Every now and then, we still face a food crisis or flood or drought or some kind of seasonal/regional natural disaster. There continues to be reoccurring rises in unemployment, interest rates, the cost of living, and general inflation. These were topics Mom covered as, both, a newsperson and columnist.

‘It was all leading to my eventual work in the food industry – but I couldn’t see that at the time – I could only see that I had to write and with any luck at all, luck would be when preparation and experience met opportunity. The opportunity was close at hand.’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 294).]

About fifty years ago, Mom left her newspaper job and began her family-owned-and-operated, cottage-style, dining-room-table business; releasing her first, self-published, cookbook, The Better Cooker’s Cookbook, in early 1973. It was compiled from a collection of recipes she had developed while writing her syndicated, recipe column, Cookbook Corner.

Mom faced major challenges, personally and professionally, when she suddenly switched gears, going from a syndicated columnist to a self-published author. In addition, during the 1970s, there were food shortages, paper shortages, sky-rocketing unemployment, and more.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 6)

IT ALL STARTED WITH THE STROKE OF A PEN

IN THE EARLY 1970s, I was trying to juggle marriage, motherhood, homemaking and a newspaper column syndicated through Columbia Features, when it seemed obvious to me that there wasn’t a single cookbook on the market that could help me take the monotony out of mealtime. There was not a single recipe in the newspaper’s food section that did not smack of down-home dullness!

‘Okay,’ they said at the newspaper I worked for, ‘YOU write the column on foods and recipes that YOU think would really excite the readers and make them happy!’ I did, but that didn’t make the Editors happy, because it made their [food industry] advertisers miserable.

When I was told that I’d have to go back to monotonous meatloaf and uninteresting side-dishes that made mealtime a ritual rather than a celebration or ‘pick up my check’, I told them to ‘MAIL it to me!’ I went home to start my own paper!

It was probably a dumb thing to do, amid an economic recession with the highest rate of unemployment I had ever experienced, but it was worth the risk. I was a dedicated writer that knew someone had to give homemakers something more than what they were being given in the colored glossy magazines, where a bowl of library paste could even be photographed to look appetizing!

Fate seemed to guide Mom in a particular direction, and she faithfully followed, trusting that this was God’s plan for her. In the fall of 1973, Mom put together her first newsletter, titled Gloria Pitzer’s Homemaker’s Newsletter, which she launched in January 1974.

She also sold her growing copycat recipes collection, through the mail, printed individually on 4” x 6” index cards, for 25-cents each or five for a dollar. These are the recipes she later referred to as her “Original 200 Plus Recipes” and she self-published a book of them in 1997.

After a couple years of success with her recipe cards and newsletters, Mom decided to discontinue her growing catalog of cards (some of which she already had to discontinue to make room for newer ones) and start putting her collections into a series of various cookbooks.

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. 22)

ON JOURNALISM…

JOURNALISM IS A PECULIAR profession to follow. I’ve been a serious journalist [since 1954]. I’ve worked among writers who wrote to live, while the rest of us lived to write. We had to communicate to reach out to someone with ideas, with thoughts, with reasonings and [remembrances].

Somehow, we had to make a difference, touching others with some good – like the single stone tossed into the still waters of a shimmering pond, the ripples begin, as they always do, where the stone touched the water’s surface and responded around and around, until the widest circle touched the grassy edge [of the shore], again and again.

While I live to write, I must consider that others do not. Writers never retire – not if they are truly writers. Editors retire. [Even] reporters retire from their work at some given point. But old writers never die, they just run out of words.

There is great joy in an exchange of ideas; specifically when you have something of value to share. when that exchange of ideas flows from a mutual appreciation of the good in human life, there is no doubt that the abundance of good continues to unfold around us from only one Unlimited Source.

We don’t think too much about that Source until we’re in real trouble. Then, we’re willing to reach out because, after all, what have we got to lose? Too bad we don’t tap that Source when everything is going well and exercise our ability to think [and be grateful], which is something very few people take the time to do…

LAST THOUGHTS…

‘Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity.’ – Seneca (1st century Roman philosopher)

Mom lived to write but often said it was her writing that made living worthwhile. One of the nicest things about being a writer – whether it’s as a newsperson, syndicated columnist, book author, blogger, or something else – (especially during the past couple of years) is that you can usually work from home-sweet-home.

IN CLOSING…

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

Since April is National Pecan Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Spanish Pecan Cookies; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 220). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].

#NationalPecanMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of April’s observances include… National Records and Information Management Month, National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and Stress Awareness Month!

As the third full week of April (2022), it’s… National Volunteer Week! Plus, it’s… National Volunteer Month!

Today is also… National Animal Crackers Day!

Tomorrow is… National Amaretto Day, National Garlic Day, and National North Dakota Day!

Wednesday, April 20th is… National Cheddar Fries Day and National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day!

April 21st is… National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day! Plus, as the third Thursday of the second quarter (for 2022), it’s also… Get to Know Your Customers Day!

Friday, April 22nd is… National Earth Day, National Girl Scout Leader’s Day, and National Jelly Bean Day!

Saturday, April 23rd is… National Cherry Cheesecake Day, National Picnic Day, and National Take a Chance Day!

April 24th is… National Pigs in a Blanket Day! Plus, as the last Sunday in April, it’s also… National Pet Parents Day!

#TGIM

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

…16 down and 36 to go!