Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Writers Appreciation

Happy Monday and a jubilant Freelance Writers Appreciation Week to all! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays, because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share my Memories of My Mom, the ORIGINAL Secret Recipes DetectiveTM, with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#FreelanceWritersAppreciationWeek

Yesterday was, among other things, the start of Freelance Writers Appreciation Week. It’s one of those special, week long “chances” we get (each year) to be grateful for writers! I’m a big fan of reading so I’m very grateful for the creative talents of writers, producing works that are inspirational, educational, informational, entertaining, thought-provoking, and so much more.

I consider myself to be a writer but not a freelancer, as I don’t make any money from my writings or this blog. Freelance, per Dictionary.com, means “selling [one’s] work or services by the hour, day, job, etc., rather than working on a regular salary basis for one employer.”

In fact, even the links that I incorporate into my blog posts are not ads and I don’t receive money (or anything else) for anyone clicking on them. I include them merely because I find their subject matter to be relative and current, as well as at least one or more of the adjectives I listed above. Simple as that!

Mom started her career in freelance writing when she was a young teen. What began as winning essay writings for various contests turned into food-for-thought columns that she syndicated to various newspapers and magazines as a young adult. Writing, you could say, was always in Mom’s blood.

As I wrote in my introduction picture, I started this blog (and continue it) to raise awareness of Mom’s trailblazing talents in the food industry, as the ORIGINAL creator of copycat cookery; but also for the wonderful legacy that she left all of us through her own freelanced, syndicated, and self-published writings.

Mom wasn’t just the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM, who investigated and developed (in her own kitchen) imitations of popular restaurant dishes, fast food items, pantry-shelf products, and more. Mom also filled all of her books and newsletters with just about as much food-for-thought editorials and food-for-the-soul inspirations as she did food-for-the-table recipes and kitchen tips.

Mom always wanted her creations to be just as much at home on the living room coffee table or even the bedside table as they were on the kitchen counter. Her books and newsletters were like no others, which put her writings in a unique position to be noticed – and that they were!

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

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)

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.

[Unfortunately, Mom ran out of words on January 21, 2018. But her legacy will always live on!]

The pros and cons of freelancing can be limitless, depending on so many different factors for different people. Freedom, control, flexibility, and independence are just some of the possible perks that attract freelancers. However, there’s always an “on-the-other-hand” side to that coin too.

No paid benefits (like vacation, personal, or sick times; nor, employer “sponsored”, health insurance), a lack of job security, “client” development, and unstable/sporadic work opportunities are just some of the disadvantages that weigh heavy on a struggling freelancer.

Thus, it takes a lot of courage to devote one’s talents (in more ways than one), to succeed as a freelancer – whether it’s part-time or full-time. Either way, you have to be able to put yourself out there, selling you and your “brand” just as much as your creations.

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

AGAIN, 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. 86)

HOW I CAME TO KNOW WRITING LAYOUTS & PUBLISHING SKILLS

I WALKED INTO THE OFFICE [of the Roseville Community Enterprise], kids in tow, and John [McPartlin] asked, ‘what can I do for you?’ To that I replied, ‘it’s what I can do for YOU. I’m here to apply for the job of suburban correspondent.’

He said there had to be some mistake, for they were not looking for one. I told him I realize they were not looking for one, but nonetheless, they did NEED one, and I was prepared to provide them with good articles, reports on area municipal meetings and any other features they would require.

‘Inspiration doesn’t make appointments!’ – Gloria Pitzer

John was reluctant, I am sure, to give me the job, but the association did prove to be a very beneficial one for both of us. I learned to key line while working for him, which enables me to now lay out all of my own work, without the assistance of a ‘publisher’.

From my work with John, I also learned about advertising production and sales and proofreading, as well as typesetting with the IBM composer, the very machine that now sets the type of this page and all of our work, making it ‘camera-ready’.

The important lesson I learned, however, from working under John McPartlin was how to recognize a good story and how to write it properly. My favorite daily newspaper in Boston has the slogan, ‘to bless all mankind and injure no man’. That is how I would want to write my own publications.

I learned, among many things, that writers do labor for the love of their work, like a lot of people do, and they live with discipline and constant rejections, which ultimately will separate ‘the men from the boys’ in this profession. The gift is like a slave-master, and the writer must write no matter what else is neglected or sacrificed. So writers settle for rewards of recognition rather than financial security.

Security, to a serious writer, is an amplitude of ideas. Seniority means nothing. Effort and ability mean everything. Competition? There are approximately 400,000 professional writers today [1989] with their articles or books in print, all clamoring for attention from a few thousand were the publications and book publishers. In my specific field, there are over 45,000 cookbooks on the market today [1989]. These are, both, collaborators and competitors.

‘A writer’s tools are ideas and ideas are funny little things that don’t work unless you do!’ – Gloria Pitzer

A writer’s tools are ideas and ideas are funny little things that don’t work unless you do! Often, ideas come without an appointment – like at 2 o’clock in the morning, or in the middle of a pleasant lunch and a lovely restaurant. Then you pull out pen and paper and make notes because the ideas are fresh, and you cannot let yourself postpone the surge of inspiration you instinctively feel is touching you at that moment.

All problems become smaller if you don’t dodge them but confront them. Touching this ultimately, and it pricks you; grasp it boldly, and its spines crumble. It goes back to basically the expectancy of good, which takes some thoughtful consideration. Despite overwhelming challenges, expectancy of goods sustains us, dissolves doubts, even impels a beneficial change in our thinking. Infinitely more than wishful thinking, it’s Divine Law in operation, governing each of us.

STILL, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 1)

A STORY TO SHARE

From the mimeograph machine that I hand cranked and inked, with every 200 copies, came the first pages of our newsletter and the first 200 recipes of favorite dishes from famous places. Actually, I added only a few recipe cards at the time to each of the early issues of the newsletter and these grew from 25 to 50 to 100, finally being concluded with 200 selections as of our February 1977 issue.

Those we offered through the newsletter and on 4 x 6 cards have never been published in one complete edition, so we now offer this collection to celebrate over 20 years of our continuous publication of our Secret RecipesTM. In most of these 200 recipes I’ve not had to alter the ingredients nor the technique but in some that had no regard for what is considered wholesome, I’ve made a few changes and improvements.

It never occurred to me that the dishes we were trying to imitate would not be of interest to a deserving family of readers, who simply wanted to enjoy dining-in as if they were dining out. From that day, in August 1976, when this recipe enterprise became this family’s only source of income, it was a welcomed challenge to be able to work at it, not as a job, but always is a joy.

People often question my ability to continue at it with untarnished enthusiasm and never having had to deal with what is called ‘writers block’. I can’t imagine a day when I am not writing and enjoying every moment of it. The 200 original secret recipes were only the beginning of what I felt would eventually become a well-described collection of worthy recipes. And it happened exactly that way.

IN CLOSING…

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

Yesterday began the Great American Pizza Bake week (and Tuesday is National Pizza Day – see more below). In honor, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for Skillet Pizza; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 76).

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

According to NationalDayCalendar.com, some of February’s other continuing, month-long, national celebrations include: Black History Month, National Snack Food Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Grapefruit Month, Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, & Canned Food Month.

Some other celebrations for the week include: Yesterday was also the start of National Jell-O Week, National Marriage Week!

Additionally …

Today is also National Football Hangover Day, National Iowa Day, & National Boy Scouts Day!

Tuesday is National Pizza Day & National Bagel and Lox Day! The following recipe is a re-share of Mom’s imitation for pizza like Little Caesar’s (as seen in a number of her cookbooks and “free recipe offers”.)

Wednesday is National Cream Cheese Brownie Day!

Thursday is National Peppermint Patty Day, National Make a Friend Day, National Inventors’ Day & National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day!

Friday is National Plum Pudding Day!

Saturday is National Tortellini Day & National Cheddar Day!

Sunday is Valentines Day & National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day! It is also the start of National Kraut and Frankfurter Week [which starts the 2nd Sunday in February] & National Random Acts of Kindness Week.

#GoodNeighbor

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

My next interview with Kathy Keene, on WHBY, is coming up in two weeks!

#TGIM

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

…6 down and 46 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Super Sunday Feast Bowl

Happy 5th Monday (2021) and happy February to everyone! I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

http://therecipedetective.com

#SuperBowlSunday

There weren’t many things that stumped my mom more than understanding my dad’s love of football. Thus, in honor of both, Mom and Dad, I want to write a little about the colossal Super Bowl event that is only 6 days away, now. This year the big extravaganza is being held in Tampa Bay, FL.

And it just so happens that the Tampa Bay Buccaneers are the NFC champions, facing-off (at home) against the AFC’s champions, the Kansas City Chiefs. It’s a rare event when a city hosting the Super Bowl actually has their own team in the event, as the hosting cities are set years in advance. Therefore, Tampa Bay Floridians have been celebrating on a huge scale, as the NFC champions AND Super Bowl LV hosts!

Despite the pandemic that has been plaguing our country and the rest of the world for nearly a year – and continues to do so – parties are still being planned for the big event (even if on a smaller scale than usual), squares are being bought, bets are being placed and all the usual hype about the half-time show and “special” TV ads have already begun!

It seems that there’s always something to celebrate, every day of every year – even if it’s not an “official” holiday – and next Sunday is no exception! Football is not something Mom celebrated but Dad certainly did! Regardless, Mom did always like to entertain – especially with food and drinks – and almost any excuse for a “party” would do!

#NationalSnackFoodMonth

Over the past five and a half decades, the Super Bowl has evolved from a simple championship football game into a cultural phenomenon and an un-official holiday. How perfect that February is also National Snack Food Month, since the most popular Super Bowl party eats are from the snack foods category! At home, snacks are usually prepared from common pantry ingredients and don’t require a lot of preparation. They’re typically “finger-foods” intended to be convenient, easy, quick, and satisfying.

Whether packaged/processed or homemade, snacks are usually small portions of food that are generally eaten between meals and/or before bedtime. However, the category of snack foods (like the Super Bowl event, itself) has evolved from simple cookies, popcorn, pretzels, chips, dips, and the like to also include appetizers like pizza bites, chicken wings, nachos, fondues and deep-fried morsels of just about anything; as well as sliders!

[Below is a re-share of Mom’s famous imitation of sliders, like White Castle’s, who were one of the few corporations that took her imitation for what it was – a compliment – and approved, buying a bunch of her cookbooks to give to all of their company’s executives!]

Last year, according to an article at TheDailyMeal.com, The Most Popular Super Bowl Party Foods, Ranked [written by Carolyn Menyes (Jan. 13, 2020)], the #1 favorite snack food choice was chicken wings! Others that made the top 15 list in this article include sandwiches like subs, pulled pork, and sliders; as well as nachos, chili, pigs-in-blankets, potato skins, guacamole and a half-dozen others.

Another article, Ranking the Best Super Bowl Party Foods, from the staff at SI.com, lists 12 favorite Super Bowl snacks of their own – some not listed in the other article. A couple that I really liked were jalapeño poppers and crab dip. However, they were both in agreement with the #1 choice being wings!

Wikipedia.com claims that about “28 million pounds… of chips, 1.25 billion chicken wings, and 8 million pounds… of guacamole are consumed during Super [Bowl] Sunday”. I searched for Brady’s and Maholmes’ favorite Super Bowl snacks. It seems that Brady is a vegetarian and health nut, while Maholmes seems to like KC Barbeque (go figure).

#CookingWithQue

If you’re a vegan, like Brady, check out Que’s Baked Cauliflower Wings! Que is from our Detroit area and often appears on our local Fox2 News show. This lady is awesome – and I’m not even vegan!

For your Super Bowl celebration (or any day for that matter), below is a repeat sharing of Mom’s imitation for Hot Wings like she had at one of our local Hooters’ restaurants many decades ago… followed by one of her satirical columns about football.

Hot Wings, like Hooters, by Gloria Pitzer

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, pp. 301-302)

Originally from… “MINDING THE HEARTH” – a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer (circa 1970s)

[FOOTBALL SEASON]

I am resigned to my life with an armchair quarterback, for I know that the garlic in our matrimonial gladiola patch is PRO FOOTBALL! From September to March, every year, there is always going to be a gigantic communication gap in our house.

The art of conversation isn’t really lost. It’s merely hidden behind the pre-game warm-up, installing a power offense which will take advantage of decent, but not blinding, speed in the backfield in a right-handed attack with a lot of blocking in a size-out pass pattern.

I guess the reason I’ll never win an argument with my husband in the fall is that I can’t understand one single word he says. I even tried to leave him once during an NFL game, but it wasn’t until the Super Bowl was over (5 months later) that he even noticed I was gone.

I admit, I don’t know much about football, but I still insist it isn’t quite fair that the fellow who worked so hard last season, doing a terrific job as quarterback, wasn’t promoted to HALF-back this season! Anyway, the last time I tried to cultivate an interest in the game was the time my husband called me in to watch the last two minutes of an exciting game. (Mind you, I use the term ‘exciting’ very loosely!) I guess it was exciting.

Paul kept jumping up and down, hollering, ‘Look at them go!’ All I learned from that experience, was that two minutes of football is equal to 20 minutes of Daylight Savings Time. An ordinary Sunday afternoon at our house would begin as he slipped into his George Blanda sweatshirt and punted his bottle of Ironized Yeast Tablets across the room, then he would step up to the TV set and announce, ‘Gloria, is there anything you’d like to say to me before football season begins?’

Perhaps you understand why every fall I join ‘Parents Without Partners’. Because my husband would only notice me if I were to run through the living room with… a number on my back. I can forgive him a lot of faults, especially during football season, but… When he asked if I had anything to say to him before he turned on the set, it was no wonder I replied, ‘Do I have to say it all now?’

‘…You know better than to speak to me during an instant replay!’ he snapped.

‘All right,’ I screamed. ‘Why do you love football better than you love me?’

‘I don’t know,’ he said, scratching his head. ‘But I love you better than basketball! … Love you? Of course, I love you! That’s my job. I’m your husband! Besides, I love EVERYBODY!’

‘I suppose you’d like to have dinner in the living room, in front of the TV,’ I said tartly. ‘Or should I time it for the half-time extravaganza?’

‘Half-time will be fine. By the way,’ he asked, ‘what are we having for dinner?’

‘Film clips of last Sunday’s roast!’ [I answered.]

‘That’s not funny,’ he snapped. ‘I’m getting hungry!’

‘Good!’ I said bitterly. ‘Then the pre-dinner line-up includes whose off-sides that can set the table while I give you a slow-motion replay of how your son kicked the oven door while I was pampering a Boston butt-cuss (an illegal substitution for pork roast) and spelled out Billy Sims with 659 parsley flakes on a field of mashed potatoes.’

‘Okay,’ he chuckled. ‘I can take a joke as well as the next guy. But what are we really having for dinner?’ He asked.

[I answered.] ‘PICKLED PIGSKIN – that’s what!’

WITH ALL THIS INFORMATION IN MIND, you must now understand why it is that I have never written a book for women. I thought I did not have enough information to hold a woman’s interest for more than one or two chapters. But I do NOW, and I’m going to entitle it ‘EVERYTHING YOU NEVER WANTED TO KNOW ABOUT FOOTBALL – and were sorry you asked!’

Football season, the punt of no return, is that once-a-year experience that makes me wonder, as my husband sits, watching one game after the other on TV, why he hasn’t worn out HIS end zone! It’s my own fault. I tried to cultivate an interest in the game so that we could share something besides the absence of conversation between us on weekends from September through February.

But looking back, it seems that all we have been able to share, instead, is the compelling urge to see this season over with. I want to see it over with, so that we can be a family again, and my husband would like to see it over with, so that he can see how closely he came to determine the winning team at the Super Bowl!

My armchair quarterback keeps giving advice on every play. Every time this happens, I expect Tom Landry to stretch his arm right through our picture tube and point at my husband, insisting, ‘Hey, you – you with all the advice! Go in for Dupree!’

Mind you, this is the same man who has committed to perfect memory such statistics as how many touchdowns and yards run, his favorite player has mastered, but he can’t remember his own shirt size, where he left his car keys, our kids’ middle names, nor his mother’s telephone number!

But, at least, he is not as emotional over the game as some husbands I know. Just last weekend, I visited my friend while she was in traction in the hospital, bandaged from head-to-toes like an Egyptian mummy – while her apologetic husband leaned over her, explaining, ‘Honey, if I’ve told you once, I’ve told you 100 times… NEVER walk in front of the TV during a 95-yard punt return!’

I SUPPOSE, ONE THING I CAN ALWAYS DO, while he watches television football games, is the grocery shopping. After all, somebody must! We can’t eat without groceries. While I have tried to train Paul for retirement, by trying to teach HIM how to shop for the food, I don’t believe he is ready, yet, for his ‘solo flight’ down the aisles of the A&P!

I’m the food-shopper with outstanding guilt-complex who is driven to [let]to  poor souls with 4 items in their arms to go ahead of me – unless they’ve brought their lunch with them and are prepared to spend a month in line behind me, explaining the 3 carts of groceries to the person behind me who has never had feed a family of teenagers.

One must chance that while you are permitting all those nice people to pass you up with their one or two items more than the express line will allow, and YOUR ice cream is in a puddle on the floor under your cart that is being mopped up by a disgruntled stock boy! Things like this occasionally afford me the reputation of being recognized by butchers everywhere as, ‘Here comes that nut who always has to see the other side of the roast!’

Parties for Super Bowl Sunday typically involve large gatherings of friends and families, including those who aren’t even fans of the game. As I mentioned in the beginning of this post, the “Super Sunday” event (even during a continuing pandemic) always gives people a good excuse for getting together (if only in small, safe groups) to socialize, watch the big game and half-time show – and let’s not forget about the buffets of snacks, appetizers and sweets to consume (as well as the beer)!

The consensus seems to be that Super Bowl Sunday is America’s second biggest day of food consumption, next to Thanksgiving. Maybe that’s why half of the Super Bowl ads are usually food focused. One could say that the Super Bowl parties, themselves, have evolved into a food-fest competition! The top three contenders, for the past few years have been between chicken wings, pizza, and nachos.

I agree with what Jenna Helwig noted in her article (Feb. 5, 2016), You’ll Never Believe How Much Food We Eat On Super Bowl Sunday, on Parents.com, regarding the “second biggest day of food consumption”. Jenna argued that the “Super Bowl actually better reflects what most of us really WANT to eat: classic junk food. From chips and wings to nachos and beer, the Super Bowl is our excuse to just chow down and enjoy all the foods that we rarely eat or feel like we should eat the rest of the year. It should go without saying: There is no place for food guilt during the Super Bowl.”

In honor of the approaching Super Bowl Sunday, below is a re-share of Mom’s “secret recipe” for Meatballs like Win Schuler’s; as seen in her self-published cookbook… Gloria Pitzer’s – The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 57)!

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

According to NationalDayCalendar.com, some of February’s other month-long, national celebrations include: Black History Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Grapefruit Month, Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, & Canned Food Month.

Furthermore, some other celebrations for this week include:

Today is National Baked Alaska Day, National Get Up Day, & National Texas Day! Below is a re-share of Mom’s imitation for Texas Fruitcake, like that of the famous Puddin’ Hill legacy.

#NationalTexasDay

Tuesday is National Heavenly Hash Day, National Tater Tot Day, and National Groundhog Day!

Wednesday is National Carrot Cake Day!  For that celebration, here’s another re-share of Mom’s imitation for “Awrey’s Karat Cake”…

#NationalCarrotCakeDay

Thursday is National Thank a Mail Carrier Day & National Homemade Soup Day! It is also the start of Boy Scout Anniversary Week [February 4th-10th, annually]!

Friday is Bubble Gum Day & World Nutella Day!

Saturday is National Chopsticks Day, Ice Cream for Breakfast Day, National Frozen Yogurt Day, & National Play Outside Day [which is on the first Saturday of EVERY month]! It is also the start of Pride in Food Service Week [starting on the 1st Saturday in February]!

Sunday is also National Send a Card to a Friend Day & National Fettuccine Alfredo Day!

Additionally, Sunday will also be the start of National Jell-O Week, National Marriage Week, Freelance Writers Appreciation Week [which is the 2nd full week in February], & the Great American Pizza Bake week!

#GoodNeighbor

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

In case you missed WHBY’sGood Neighbor” show last week, below is a link where you can listen to the recorded podcast of Kathy Keene and I, discussing Super Bowl snacks and some of Mom’s favorite Mexican-style appetizers from page 65 of her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018).

https://www.whby.com/2021/01/25/laura-pitzer-emerich-7/

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

#TGIM

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

…5 down and 47 to go!

Sanders’ Fudge Cake & Buttercream Icing

Sanders’ Fudge Cake & Buttercream Icing

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, pp. 37-38)

Neiman Marcus-Style Cheesecake

Neiman Marcus-Style Cheesecake

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 32)

Ingredients:

1 cup sugar

1 TB flour

3 pkgs. (8-oz. each) cream cheese, at room temperature

6 egg yolks, well-beaten

1 TB vanilla

1 TB lemon juice

the rind of half a lemon, grated fine

1 cup heavy cream

6 egg whites, stiffly beaten

Instructions:

Cream together the sugar, flour cream cheese, and beaten egg yolks. Add vanilla, lemon juice, rind, and heavy cream. [See below for crumb mixture.] Fold in the stiff egg whites. Pour this into a crumb-lined 10″ springform pan. Bake 1 hour at 350°F. Turn off oven and open door about 1 inch or so, letting cheesecake remain undisturbed IN OVEN to cool completely. Serves 12.

CRUMB CRUST for Neiman Marcus Cheesecake

Crush into fine crumbs 1 box Zwieback – or use 2 cups graham or Ritz cracker crumbs – mixing with 1/2 cup sugar and 1/3 cup butter. Press mixture evenly over bottom of a greased  10″ springform pan and half-way up the sides.

Refrigerate several hours or overnight BEFORE adding prepared filling [above] and the crust will be firmer even when the filling must be baked in the crust as well. This recipe requires patience, time, and perfection – but the results are so rewarding!

Cheesecake Tips for Lower Fat and Cholesterol Options

By today’s “less fat” standards, use instead of the 6 real eggs (yolks and whites) an equivalent with the Egg Beaters product. Also use fat-free cream cheese. Omit the heavy cream entirely, using liquid non-dairy creamer with 2 TB cornstarch for body.

Mackinac Island Dark Fudge

Mackinac Island Dark Fudge

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 31).

In a heavy saucepan, combine (1 cup each): butter, milk, packed brown sugar, and granulated sugar; also adding a dash of salt and 8 TB Hershey’s baking cocoa. [1 cup chopped nuts can also be added, at this point, if you wish.] Stir and cook until it comes to a boil. Then simmer gently, while stirring for 8 minutes.

Turn off heat and add at once 1-lb powdered sugar and beat with mixer on med-high speed, until thick and smooth (8-10 minutes, at least). Spread out in an 8-inch, buttered, square pan. Put in freezer for about an hour or chill in fridge until firm enough to cut into 1-inch squares. Makes 36 pieces.

Tomato Soup, like Ruby Tuesday’s

TOMATO SOUP, LIKE RUBY TUESDAY’S

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in her 2002-2004 (fall) media free recipes sheet (Secret Recipes, Marysville, MI).

Ingredients:

2 cans (10-oz. each) tomato soup

6-oz. can tomato paste

14-oz. can diced tomatoes, undrained

1 tsp. dry basil leaf, crushed fine

Instructions:

Combine everything in top of double-boiler, over simmering water. Stir until smooth and comes to a serving temperature. It can be thinned, as you wish, with canned chicken broth; but it’s supposed to be a very thick soup. Serves 4, virtuously.

Cracker Cookies

CRACKER COOKIES

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in her 2002-2004 (fall) media, free samples sheet (Secret Recipes, Marysville, MI)

Ingredients:

1-lb. box Keebler’s Club Crackers

2 cups flaked coconut

2 cups chopped nuts (walnuts or pecans or both)

2 sticks ( 1/4-lb each) butter or margarine

1/2 cup, plus 2 TB sugar

Instructions:

Arrange enough crackers in a single layer, close together, to fill the bottom of a cookie sheet (with a short rim around it – NOT open sides). Sprinkle with the coconut and nuts and set aside.

In sauce pan, melt butter over med-high heat, adding sugar and stirring well, until it comes to a boil. Let it boil for ONLY 2 minutes. (Set your timer!) Drizzle this mixture over the prepared crackers that you set aside.

Bake at 350°F for ONLY 10 minutes. Remove crackers quickly from pan to sheet of foil, separating cracker pieces with a knife, where needed. Let pieces air-dry for a few hours. Store in a loosely-covered container at room temperature. Makes about 60 “cookies”.

Christmas Pie

CHRISTMAS PIE

By Gloria Pitzer, as seen in her 2002 Christmas “card” of free recipes (Secret Recipes, Marysville, MI; December 2002).

Prepare  a crust – see: Butter Crust recipe – and pat out in a pam-sprayed, oblong baking pan; making crust twice, to cover it, if needed. Bake completely at 375°F for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.

Right out of the oven, spread the crust generously with a tub of ready-to-use, vanilla frosting. Top that off quickly in layers of 1 cup chopped pecans, 1 cup maraschino cherries (diced), and a small can of crushed pineapple (with all the liquid pressed out). Use a pizza wheel to cut it into “bars”, before serving proudly!

BUTTER CRUST (My Most Dependable &Very Favorite Recipe!)

BUTTER CRUST (My Most Dependable &Very Favorite Recipe!)

By Gloria Pitzer; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 243)

Ingredients:

¼ pound butter – NOT margarine

1 tablespoon sugar

½ teaspoon salt

¼ teaspoon cinnamon

1 cup all-purpose flour

Instructions:

Melt the butter in a small sauce pan on medium heat until it’s frothy, but don’t let it change color or become the least-bit brown. (I like to put the stick of butter into my heat-proof, 1 ½-quart, glass mixing bowl, placing it in the microwave for 2 to 3 minutes on “Defrost”.)

As soon as the butter is melted, and while it’s still hot, dump in the remaining ingredients. Turn your electric mixer on high and beat mixture in a bowl for about 30 seconds or until it comes away from the center and hits the sides of the bowl. Quickly gather it into a ball and pat it out to cover the bottom and sides of a Pam-sprayed, 10-inch, Pyrex pie plate. (Pyrex plates work best with this very rich recipe.)

If you don’t have Pam, grease the pan in Crisco only! It might stick otherwise! Bake crust at 375°F for 18 to 20 minutes or until golden brown. Fill as desired. Makes one 10-inch pie crust. Note: Do not double this recipe. The dough becomes difficult to work with as it cools and, then, it crumbles and breaks apart. Make one single recipe at a time.

NOTE: To make top crust – pat out a single recipe, as given above, on a Pam-sprayed and waxed-paper-lined dinner plate. Invert crust over filling spread in crust-lined pan, per recipe of your choice.

Lift off plate and peel back waxed paper. Make slits for steam to escape. Gently press crust to rim of pie pan with a floured fork (or a fork dipped in ice water.) Use an egg-wash if you wish (one egg yolk, beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water and brushed lightly – lapping it, rather than pressing it, over top of crust), but the butter in this crust should allow it to brown beautifully without the wash.

Bake per filling recipe directions. Generally, the best temperature is at 375°F for 25 to 28 minutes or until filling begins to bubble up through the slits in the top crust in the crust is golden brown.

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Homemade Kahlua

HOMEMADE KAHLUA

By Gloria Pitzer; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 269)

Ingredients:

1-quart water

3 cups sugar

10 tablespoons instant coffee granules or powder

3 tablespoons vanilla extract

A Fifth of 100-proof vodka (750 ml)

Instructions:

Put first 3 ingredients in a heavy, 2 ½-quart sauce pan and bring to a gentle boil – 30 minutes or until consistency is reduced to a syrup consistency. Remove from heat. Cool completely – refrigerating to hasten this. Stir in vanilla and add vodka. Funnel into a dark-tinted 1-quart bottle. Cap it tightly. Let it stand at room temperature for one week before using.

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