Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Michigan Map Dots

Happy Monday! If you’ve read any of my blog posts, you probably know that I always look forward to Mondays, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share, with you, Memories of My Mom!

#TheRecipeDetective

Last week, I heard a story about a fellow Michigander who’s literally been collecting map dots, traveling to every town in our state. He has an awesome Facebook page, called Scott’s Michigan adventures,  where he’s been depicting his travels. I thought it was very inspiring, as my husband and I love exploring Michigan, too! However, we’ve never physically collected the map dots.

I’ve written a number of blog posts about how much we love to hit the road, whether for a day trip or a weekend get-away; like Mom and Dad always did, especially to explore our beautiful state. In my completely Michigander-biased opinion, having been raised by two other born-and-bred, proud Michiganders, this is one of the most beautiful states in our country!

In a couple other blog posts, I’ve mentioned that Michigan has 3,288 miles of shimmering, fresh water coastline; bordering four of the five Great Lakes, which are part of the historic St. Lawrence Seaway. In fact, Michigan has the longest freshwater shoreline in the U.S., and we live less than a mile from where it goes by our hometown of St. Clair. We love seeing the big ships pass through our area, which has been home to many captains of the Great Lakes’ freighters.

#PureMichigan

Moreover, Michigan is second only to our largest state, Alaska, for the greatest length of U.S. coastline; regardless of whether it’s sea or fresh water. My husband and I consider ourselves lucky to live in such a phenomenal state! Given enough time and money – and especially a better vehicle – we’d love to travel and explore the historic lighthouses and towns that dot Michigan’s shoreline. Now there’s a bucket list, all by itself.

Within its thousands of miles of shoreline, Michigan also has over 19 million acres of forests that cover 53% of the state – most of which is considered timberland. This state is home to an abundance of significant places and beautiful sights. By the way, the brilliant fall colors are in full bloom in the northern half of the state right now – and can be seen from space!

What’s more, this state is (or was) the home of many famous people, iconic foods, and renowned restaurants – past and present. Even more than that, as I’ve also mentioned in previous blog posts, it’s home to a lot of special Americana oddities!

My husband and I love to discover those little peculiarities that make each Michigan town we visit special. After all, every town has a story to tell. Rose City is a Michigan map dot we visited this summer that’s home to a phenomenon we call “gravity hill” (aka: “magnetic hill” or “ghost hill”). Have you ever experienced rolling UP a hill?

Just a few months ago, we enjoyed this peculiar experience near the end of an old gravel road, called Reasoner. A large farm sat at the end of the road, up a second, larger hill. It was truly amazing when we started rolling backwards, while in neutral, UP the small hill we just came over!

Good directions to this spot (and instructions) can be found at http://www.eureka4you.com/magnetichillworldwide/RoseCity-MI.htm. But a really good video of the same experience we had can be viewed at https://99wfmk.com/reasnerroad2018/.

We have a book, called Weird Michigan, by Linda S. Godfrey (Sterling Publishing Co., Inc.; New York, NY; 2006), which has been one source of inspiration for some of our explorations. Page 182 mentions Rose City’s “gravity hill” marvel.

The book also tells about another hill, at a Michigan map dot called “Putney Corners”, in Blaine Township; which is in Benzie County, south of the Traverse City area and west of Crystal Mountain. I’ve also heard of a similar one just across the Mackinac Bridge, near St. Ignace, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Both of those are now on our new bucket list of Michigan map dots.

There are some map dots, within a couple hours’ drive from us, that we enjoy so much we visit them at least a few times each year. One such place, located near Saginaw, was also a favorite map dot of Mom and Dad’s, called Frankenmuth.

Tourists flock to this village from all around the world and stand in line for hours to get one of the world-famous chicken dinners offered at either one of the two largest establishments in the middle of town – the Bavarian Inn and Zender’s.

This town’s German heritage exudes from its many restaurants, bakeries, fudge shops, hotels, breweries and other quaint little stores that line the mile-plus length of the main street through town – from Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland to the Frankenmuth Brewery! Below is a re-share of Mom’s imitation of Frankenmuth’s famous chicken.

During the 40 years that Mom investigated different restaurant dishes, as The Recipe DetectiveTM, she came up with about a dozen imitations from some of Frankenmuth’s establishments; including some of the other world-famous dishes available at the town’s two major restaurants. Mom also imitated some of the sweet confections from the town’s wonderful bakeries and fudge shops.

After Mom and Dad became empty-nesters, their travels really blossomed. They bought a camper and toured even more – often mixing work with pleasure (as Mom’s work was her pleasure). Figuratively speaking, they collected a lot of map dots, not only in Michigan but all over the U.S. It was undoubtedly much more affordable to do, with only the two of them!

Joining the Good Sam RV club was always one of their most favorite experiences and a big source of wonderful map dot memories. Mom had many scrap books full of photos and special keepsakes from all of their trips with the Michigan and Ohio chapters of Good Sam.

Mom also wrote about the trips she and Dad took, often, in their newsletter issues – from the new restaurant dishes they tried, as they traveled, to the marvelous dishes they experienced at some of Good Sam’s “bring-a-dish-to-pass” events, during their “Samborees”. Equally notable were the great friendships they developed everywhere they went.

To the Good Sam RV Club (MI & OH Branches): “Thank you for giving me the opportunity to meet with and talk to people from all over the country, relative to their recipe interests and food needs… Since our camping experiences with…’Good Sam’, [Paul and I] have truly adopted their slogan, ‘In Good Sam, there are no strangers – only friends we haven’t met yet!” – Gloria Pitzer (1989)

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

FRIENDS ARE THOSE PEOPLE who know everything there is to know about you, but like you anyhow! …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!’

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Jan-Feb. 1988, pages 1 & 4)

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.

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!

LAST THOUGHTS…

When planning your next road trip to explore some amazing places, be open to taking a few fascinating detours and don’t forget to journal your map dots, while discovering the coolest, off-the-beaten-path places along the way! Here are a few other basic tips…

  1. Always bring a real map, as there really are places that don’t have any cell service for miles.
  2. Allow extra time and gas (or electric charge – whatever the case may be) for spontaneity. In case you decide to take a detour.
  3. Stop frequently and take breaks – smell the roses, photograph the memory, and talk to the locals.
  4. 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…

#NationalCaramelMonth

#NationalBakeAndDecorateMonth

#NationalDessertMonth

Since this is National Caramel Month, National Bake And Decorate Month, and National Dessert Month, here’s Mom’s imitation of Awrey’s Bakery Caramel Frosting for Cakes; as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 8). Awrey’s Bakery originated in Detroit – another Michigan map dot!

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

REMINDER: OCTOBER IS ALSO NATIONAL BOOK MONTH & NATIONAL COOKBOOK MONTH!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

October’s month-long drink/food-related celebrations include… Eat Better & Eat Together Month, National Apple Month, National Applejack Month, National Cookie Month, National Pasta Month, National Pickled Peppers Month, National Pizza Month, National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, National Pork Month, National Pretzel MonthNational Sausage Month, National Seafood Month, Pear and Pineapple Month, Rhubarb Month, Spinach Lovers Month, and Vegetarian Month!

Other October observances that could be food-related include… Italian-American Heritage Month, National Fire Prevention Month, National Reading Group Month, National Go On A Field Trip MonthNational Kitchen & Bath Month, Polish American Heritage Month, National Women’s Small Business Month, National Work and Family Month, and Self-Promotion Month!

Additionally…

As the third week in October, this is… National Kraut Sandwich Week! Plus, the third FULL week in October is also… National Wolf Awareness Week, National Business Women’s Week, National Friends of Libraries Week, National Free Speech Week, and National Retirement Planning Week!

Furthermore…

Today is also…National Chocolate Cupcake Day! Plus, as the third Monday in October, it’s also… National Clean Your Virtual Desktop Day!

Tomorrow is… National Kentucky Day and National Seafood Bisque Day! Plus, as the third Tuesday in October, it’s also… National Pharmacy Technician Day!

October 20th is… National Youth Confidence Day and National Brandied Fruit Day! Plus, as the third Wednesday in October, it’s also… National Hagfish Day and Support Your Local Chamber of Commerce Day!

October 21st is… National Pumpkin Cheesecake Day! The third Thursday in October is also… National Get Smart About Credit Day! Additionally, as the third Thursday of the fourth quarter, it’s… Get to Know Your Customers Day, too!

October 22nd is… National Make a Dog’s Day, National Nut Day, and National Color Day!

October 23rd is… National Boston Cream Pie Day, National Mole Day, and National TV Talk Show Host Day (also Johnny Carson’s birthday)! Plus, as the fourth Saturday in October, it’s also… National Make A Difference Day!

October 24th is… National Food Day, National Bologna Day, and United Nations Day! Plus, as the fourth Sunday in October, it’s also… National Mother-in-Law Day!

#TGIM

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

…42 down and 10 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Gone But Not Forgotten Eateries

Once again, happy Monday! Personally, I love Mondays! They’re my 52 Chances per year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

Detroit has been home to many famous restaurants in the past century. Gone but not forgotten are influential places like the Ponchatrain, Roma Café, and Topinka’s to name a few momentous restaurants from days of old. The Machus Red Fox was another influential, Detroit bistro; infamous for being the last place Jimmy Hoffa, former Teamsters’ Union president, was seen alive before he “disappeared”!

The London Chop House was yet another historical Detroit eatery (owned by the Gruber brothers), where many famous, elite people dined. “The Chop”, as it was called, went through some really hard times in the 1980s, finally closing its doors in 1991. However, it was re-opened in 2012 by a new owner, gambling on nostalgia to re-kindle what once was. So far, even throughout the past 19 months of Covid-based restrictions, it’s paid off!

Mom developed a few imitations from each of these famous places’ selections, but that’s not all. Department store dining rooms were another niche in the food industry, from which Mom found inspiration, imitating “famous foods from famous places”.

DepartmentStoreHistory.net claims: “The three biggest department stores in the mid-1960s, both in sales volume and physical size, were Macy’s, Hudson’s, and Marshall Field, in that order.”

The mention of Hudson’s (a former Detroit icon) particularly brought back many wonderful childhood memories of shopping and dining with my mom and sisters, in the 1970s. Hudson’s was one of Mom’s favorite department stores! In fact, she imitated about three dozen offerings from its dining room and bakery. They were famous for their Maurice Salad. Here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitation.

Likewise, Alex Witchell wrote an article (Feb. 25, 2019) about the best department store restaurants, which I found at NYPost.com. In it, she reminisced about those by-gone days of shopping and lunching with her own mom and sisters. Of course, I related to a lot of it. Another great read, about department stores with amazing restaurants, is by Katherine Martinelli (July 20, 2018), at EatThis.com.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 16)

HUDSON’S OF DETROIT – THE WAY IT ONCE WAS!

During the financial panic of 1873, Joseph L. Hudson was a young man, working with his father in a men’s clothing store in Michigan. Times were hard. Customers couldn’t pay their bills. After Joseph’s father died, partly from worrying, young Joseph struggled with the business for about three years and eventually went into bankruptcy, in spite of all he tried to do to bring the business up.

He paid his creditors 60 cents on the dollar and, with great determination, began over again! Through remarkable enterprise and ingenuity, in 12 years, he owned a store in Detroit. Even more remarkable, he located all the creditors whose claims had been erased by the bankruptcy proceedings and paid them in full – even though they did not ask it of him.

This so astounded the business world, in 1888, that Hudson’s reputation as an honest man, caring for his customers as much is his creditors, that word spread and the store became one of Detroit’s most important, not only in the state, but eventually in the entire country.

He established major shopping centers in metropolitan Detroit, beginning in 1953 with the magnificent Northland Center, the first of its kind in the country. At the time of this writing [1997], Hudson’s, merged with Dayton and with Marshall Fields, no longer offers the personal hometown touch that it used to have…

Their original building on Woodward and Farmer Street, in downtown Detroit, once controlled the shopper’s mecca with Kern’s and Crowley’s, as well, in that area. We have seen the passing of a great institution, but I am so glad I did not lose the precious recipes [for which] the Hudson’s dining room and bakery were known…

When Mom used to take me and my sisters to the malls and department stores it was an all-day “working” and shopping event, combined! 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.

I always thought it was so fun! It was a really innovative way to advertise locally to her target audience, which then was the homemaker, like herself. Mom found her inspiration for this marketing method from an interview she 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.

After a couple hours of shopping and “advertising”, we’d take a lunch break in one of the department stores’ dining rooms.  While doing her “investigative review”, Mom always found something new, to mimic at home. Another notable “gone-but-not-forgotten” Detroit area restaurant is Stouffer’s. Long before the company became a frozen food empire, in 1946, it was first famous for its creameries and then for its restaurants; opening one in Detroit, in 1929.

Sanders, still famous for its sundae toppings and chocolate delicacies (but which is now owned by Kar’s Nuts), is another company that once had a famous eatery in Detroit, serving more than just sweet treats. Mom loved going there as a young girl to eat at their lunch counter. She developed at least 56 imitations from Sanders’ offerings.

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 38)

SANDERS

Fred Sanders was born in Biehl, Baden (Germany) in 1848 and brought to this country at the age of one… His father, a baker, settled his family in Peru, Illinois and it was there that Frederick learned his first baking lessons, after school and in the evenings. But his hopes went beyond what he viewed as the prosaic business of baking white bread and rolls.

At 17 years, he sailed for Germany to learn the secrets of confectionery and catering. With passport in hand, personally signed by William Seward, Secretary of State in the Lincoln Cabinet, he worked his way across the Atlantic as a ship’s baker.

He learned his trade rapidly in Karlsruhe. Within three years he opened his own small shop on a narrow street in Frankfurt. The shop prospered but his young wife, Rosa, wanted to return with him to America; where, after less than successful experiences in Philadelphia and Chicago, including being burned out by the great Chicago fire of 1871, Frederick finally came to Detroit.

They started all over again. With some misgivings, he opened the shop on the northeast corner of Woodward and State Streets – where the J. L. Hudson’s block was to rise later. With limited capital drained to outfit his shop, Frederick managed a loan from W. H. Edgar, founder of Edgar’s Sugarhouse.

Within a year, Frederick’s products were recognized as quality and he moved across Woodward, just north of Michigan Avenue, where he remained for many years and prospered. He created the first ‘soda’ as we know it today – and by accident, when some sweet cream softened. It was an instant success.

Once… a fan he used to cool his foods continually broke down. He called for someone to service the fan, which contained one of the first electric motors made. The electric shop sent over a young man to repair Mr. Sanders’ fan, and it is of interest to note that the young man’s name was Henry Ford. He fixed the fan – and it ‘stayed fixed’ – without causing Mr. Sanders any further interruptions in business.

Frederick Sanders brought his son-in-law, John Miller, into the business in 1900, taking him away from Colonel Goebel, the Detroit brewer. With this, the Sanders Company’s success was certainly charted. Concurrently, the business became a partnership, shortly after the founder’s death in 1913, when John Miller and Frederick’s son, Edwin, and his grandson became the company’s chief officers and owners. In 1970, Sanders had more than 50 of their own stores and over 300 departments in supermarkets.

LAST THOUGHTS…

REMINDER: OCTOBER IS ALSO NATIONAL BOOK MONTH & NATIONAL COOKBOOK MONTH!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

IN CLOSING…

Since this is National Apple Month and National Dessert Month, plus, Thursday is National Dessert Day – here’s Mom’s imitation of “Apple Crisp, Like Holiday Inn’s” [from the 1960s]; as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 13).

#NationalAppleMonth

#NationalDessertMonth

#NationalDessertDay

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of October’s month-long drink/food-related celebrations include… Eat Better & Eat Together Month, National Applejack Month, National Bake and Decorate Month, National Caramel Month, National Cookie Month, National Pasta Month National Pickled Peppers Month, National Pizza Month, National Popcorn Poppin’ Month, National Pork Month, National Pretzel Month, National Sausage Month, National Seafood Month, Pear and Pineapple Month, Rhubarb Month, Spinach Lovers Month, and Vegetarian Month!

Additional October observances that could be food-related include, among other things… Italian-American Heritage Month, National Fire Prevention Month, National Reading Group Month, National Go On A Field Trip Month, National Kitchen & Bath Month, Polish American Heritage Month, National Women’s Small Business Month, National Work and Family Month, and Self-Promotion Month!

Moreover, as the week of October 16th, this is also… National Food Bank Week!

Today is also… International Day of the Girl Child and National Sausage Pizza Day! Plus as the second Monday in October, it’s… Native American Day and Columbus Day, too! Plus, it’s the start of… National School Lunch Week! In honor, here’s a re-share of Mom’s secret recipes for Lunch Box Brownies With Fudge Cake Icing!

Tuesday, October 12th is… National Savings Day, National Vermont Day, National Freethought Day, National Farmer’s Day, and National Gumbo Day!

October 13th is… National Train Your Brain Day, National Yorkshire Pudding Day, and National Take Your Parents To Lunch Day (which changes annually)! Plus, as the second Wednesday in October, it’s also… National Curves Day!

Friday, October 15th is… National Shawarma Day, National Cheese Curd Day, National I Love Lucy Day, National Grouch Day, and National Boss’s Day!

October 16th is… National Sports Day, National Liqueur Day, National Dictionary Day, Global Cat Day, and Department Store Day! Plus, as the third Saturday in October, it’s also… National Sweetest Day!

Sunday, October 17th is… National Mulligan Day and National Pasta Day!

#TGIM

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

…41 down and 11 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Original Secret Recipe Detective

Happy Monday and happy October to 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

#NationalWomensSmallBusinessMonth

#NationalWorkAndFamilyMonth

#SelfPromotionMonth

October is chucked full of wonderful, month-long observances. Among them, in relation to Mom, are… National Women’s Small Business Month, National Work and Family Month, and Self-Promotion Month! Additionally, this is also National Book Month and National Cookbook Month!

When Mom left her job at the newspaper, in the early 1970s, she went home to start her own business; incorporating our whole family into her dining room table operation. Call it fate or whatever – Mom carved out a unique niche in the food industry that people, like herself, needed and wanted!

She called her concept “copycat cookery”! She also described it as “eating out at home” and “taking the junk out of junk food”, among other things. Mom was determined to discover how to imitate America’s favorite, famous fast food & restaurant dishes at home, as well as frozen and shelf-stable grocery items.

If it saved her household money, she wanted to share it with others, because, she believed, great recipes were meant to be shared! She was an innovator in the 1970s – developing her own copycat recipes and marketing her talents, herself, through the media – which, then, consisted only of newspapers, magazines, television and radio talk shows. No internet!

In the early years of her business, Mom sold her recipes individually, printed on 4”x6” index cards from a mimeograph she kept in our laundry room. She began with a small catalog that quickly grew to about 200 recipes. Then she expanded, publishing her own monthly newsletter and blazing that trail of uniqueness through all the “Betty Crockers” and “Julia Childs” of that time.

It didn’t seem to take long before Mom’s recipe library grew even more through requests from her growing fan-base. She then began self-publishing multiple cookbooks (at least one a year for over 30 years!) She was getting national, as well as international recognition for being the Secret Recipe DetectiveTM – the title given to her by her fans. Here’s Mom’s story in her own words…

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 292-293). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

BEHIND THE SCENES

PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR OF SECRET RECIPES or ‘The Recipe Detective’ are the names that my friends in radio and newspapers have given to me, and I enjoy living up to that assignment! I enjoy working with these recipe secrets, but most of all, I enjoy writing about them.

I’ve been writing all my life… Going way-back to when I was in grade school. I was always writing a book, or a poem or a short story. It was a way of life from my earliest memories – a way over which I seem to have no personal control! I had to write… Preferably about what I knew best at the time. Little did I know that what I would come to know best would be cooking!

The one year that I spent at Michigan State (when it was still a college, mind you…) was one year in which I learned 2 important things – I could not pass my Creative Writing course and I was ‘kicked out’ of Home Economics!

My Creative Writing instructor told me that I typed a neat looking paper and probably should be a secretary, for I would never make it as a writer. My Home Economics instructor advised me to spend the rest of my life having my meals delivered, for I was always finding fault with the way so many cookbooks were written.

I took a position with the J. Walter Thompson Advertising company in Detroit, working as a secretary to the copywriters. I met my husband, Paul, there when he returned from a 4-year tour of service with the Air Force. We started dating and one year later we were married. That was 1956.

Bill was born over a year later, and then Mike came 20 months after that, and Debbie came along 20 months after that. I lost 3 babies in the next 3 years, but Laura was born in 1964 and Cheryl came 20 months after that. During those years, Paul was working for a sign company in Mt. Clemens, Michigan – where, in the 20 years he spent with them, he did everything from drafting to purchasing agent to account rep!

I kept up with my writing, always working for one of the suburban papers and constantly free-lancing to magazines. When Redbook sent me $500 for my ‘Young Mother’s Story’ submission in February 1963, called ‘We’ll Never Live with In-Laws Again’, I put part of the money into a typewriter, as I had always had to borrow one before that.

I wanted a typewriter more than Reagan wanted to be president! I put a lot of miles on that $39.95 machine – I designed a column for weekly newspapers and mailed out samples to over 300 newspapers. Within a year, I had acquired 60 regular papers for my ‘No Laughing Matter’ column and another column I called ‘Minding the Hearth’.

Columbia Features in New York offered me a contract, and, for a year, I allowed them to syndicate the column in competition with a new humorist, Erma Bombeck! (Right church, wrong pew for me!) When a big city paper carried Erma’s column, Columbia placed mine in their competing paper. I split with Columbia on a 60/40 basis (I took 40) and finally, by mutual agreement, we broke the contract. I was on my own.

HOW SECRET RECIPESTM BEGAN

When Columbia Features and I parted company, they had acquired only 2 additional papers from me and lost several more. Within 6 months, I had regained all my original papers and was syndicating the column from our dining room table, where we then lived in what my friend, Bob Allison, called ‘beautiful downtown Pearl Beach’…

We had a 9-year old station wagon at that time. It burned oil and barely got Paul to work and back without something breaking down! I rode a bike to and from the Pearl Beach post office every day where I mailed out my columns and… looked for responses to ads I had placed in the Tower Press and Grit magazines for recipes on 4×6-inch cards that enabled you to imitate famous dishes at home.

BOB ALLISON’s ‘ASK YOUR NEIGHBOR’

I was a regular participant on Bob Allison’s ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ radio show that aired 5 days a week for 2 hours in the morning. I used Bob’s program for asking for food information that I needed for my weekly columns. Bob’s audience was very helpful in supplying me with answers. To reciprocate, I would reply to some of the requests made by his audience when they called into Bob’s show.

It was a unique format in that one could not simply call in a recipe or information simply because they wanted to share it with others. The information or the recipe had to, first, be requested by a previous caller. Many of my first ‘Secret Recipes’ were developed because of requests made specifically by Bob’s callers for such dishes as The Colonel’s secret spices, Arthur Treacher’s fish batter, Sander’s hot fudge, Win Schuler’s bar cheese and so on.

At the suggestion of one of Bob’s callers that I should put all my [Cookbook Corner] column recipes into a book, I wrote my first edition [1973] called ‘The Better Cooker’s Cookbook’. In less than a month, I had sold 1000 copies… I didn’t reprint it – but decided that it might work out better if I could do those recipes monthly.

So, in December 1973, I put together my first issue of what came to be my ‘Secret Recipe Report’, a newsletter that… brought me in contact with the many so-called secrets of the commercial food and restaurant industry… That afternoon, I put out my charter issue, sending samples of it to those whose names and addresses I had on file from having written to me at the paper. That was the beginning of ‘Secret Recipes’!

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 295). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

WE WANTED OUR CAKE AND WE WANTED TO EAT IT, TOO!

We wanted to eat out at a price we could afford; and, when we couldn’t afford to eat out, we wanted to dine-in as if we were eating out! At the time, there were few recipes for this kind of cooking. We wanted to spend less time preparing the foods and less money on the ingredients and still serve a dish to those who shared our table with us that would be equal to – if not better than – anything we could buy in a restaurant or from a supermarket. For all of these reasons, I have pursued the investigations of the food industry with the greatest joy and the utmost care, translating into recipes, those secrets that I have been able to decipher.

LAST THOUGHTS…

REMINDER: OCTOBER IS ALSO NATIONAL BOOK MONTH & NATIONAL COOKBOOK MONTH!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

IN CLOSING…

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

#NationalChiliWeek

#NationalChiliMonth

Since this is National Chili Week, as well as this being National Chili Month, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Chili Mignon, Like Chasen’s Chili”; as seen in her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 63). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

October’s month-long drink/food-related celebrations include… Eat Better & Eat Together Month, National Apple Month, National Applejack Month, National Bake and Decorate Month, National Caramel Month, National Cookie Month, National Dessert Month, National Pasta Month, National Pickled Peppers Month, National Pizza MonthNational Popcorn Poppin’ Month, National Pork Month, National Pretzel Month, National Sausage Month, National Seafood Month, Pear and Pineapple Month, Rhubarb Month, Spinach Lovers Month, and Vegetarian Month!

Other October observances that could be food-related include… Italian-American Heritage Month, National Fire Prevention Month, National Reading Group Month, National Go On A Field Trip Month, National Kitchen & Bath Month, and Polish American Heritage Month!

Additionally…

Today is… National Cinnamon Bun Day, National Taco Day, and National Vodka Day! Plus, as the first Monday in October, it’s… National Consignment Day and National Child Health Day! Also, as the first full Mon.–Fri. work week in October, this is… Customer Service Week! And as the first Mon.-Sun. week in October, it’s also… Financial Planning Week!

Tomorrow, October 5th is… National Rhode Island Day, National Do Something Nice Day, and National Apple Betty Day! Plus, as the first Tuesday in October, it’s also… National Eat Fruit At Work Day! 

October 6th is… National Orange Wine Day, National Plus Size Appreciation Day, National German-American Day (this is also German-American Heritage Month), and National Noodle Day! In addition, as the first Wednesday in October, it’s also… National Pumpkin Seed Day and National Walk to School Day (plus, it’s International Walk To School Month)!

Thursday, October 7th is… National Chocolate Covered Pretzel Day, National Frappe Day, and National Inner Beauty Day!

Friday, October 8th is… National Fluffernutter Day, National Hero Day, and National Pierogi Day!

October 9th is… National Moldy Cheese Day! And, as the second Saturday in October, it’s also… National Costume Swap Day and I Love Yarn Day!

Sunday, October  10th is… National Angel Food Cake Day, National Cake Decorating Day, National Handbag Day, and World Mental Health Day (speaking of which, it’s also… Positive Attitude Month!) Additionally, as the week of the 16th, Sunday is also the start of… National Food Bank Week (likewise, it’s Tackling Hunger Month, too!)

#TGIM

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

…40 down and 12 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Happy Fall And Family

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

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalFallFoliageWeek

I LOVE fall – it’s definitely my favorite season! I adore the crisp, cool nights and lukewarm days. I love seeing the trees change colors. Incidentally, yesterday was the start of National Fall Foliage Week! I also love going to the cider mill for fresh apples, donuts, and (of course) cider. Plus, Octoberfest jubilees are popping up everywhere!

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Speaking of which… October is almost here! Thus, we’re rounding the bend, this week, for September’s finale. However, it is still September for a few more days, so there is still time left to celebrate some of its many wonderful observances – such as…

…National Fall Hat Month, International Update Your Resume Month, National Little League Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, National Chicken Month, National Courtesy Month, National Honey Month, National Italian Cheese Month, National Library Card Sign Up Month, National Mushroom Month, National Potato Month, National Rice Month, National Sewing Month, and National Whole Grains Month! But that’s not all…

Moreover, since this is the last week in September, it’s also… National Keep Kids Creative Week! Additionally, relative to that, since this is the fourth Monday in September, today is also… National Family Day; which promotes making and sharing meals together, as well as family bonding around the kitchen table.

#NationalFamilyDay

#SelfImprovementMonth

September is also Self-Improvement Month! Family meals, prepared and eaten together, provide vast opportunities for strengthening ties, building better relationships, and creating a sense of belonging, which leads to better self-esteem.

When my siblings and I were growing up, Mom always made our meals family-style! We’d fill our plates and talk about our days, passing the serving dishes around the table while elbowing each other whenever Mom and Dad weren’t looking. We’re far from being the Brady Bunch or Walton’s family!

We ate together because that’s how our meal was served. The food may have been like that in a restaurant, but Mom would always remind us that our kitchen wasn’t a restaurant where you could drop in any time and place an order for whatever you’d like. In our household, you ate what was made and when it was served, or you would probably have to go hungry until the next meal.

However, I can’t remember any of us even being willing to miss one of Mom’s meals, so that was never really an issue in our household. Mom would always joke about being a bad cook in her many editorials but, even before she became famous for being the Secret RecipesTM Detective, she really was a great cook!

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1983, p.6)

COOKING IS MORE THAN TURNING ON THE STOVE – IT’S PLEASING PEOPLE!

As often as we put things off, in life, it’s a shame that we don’t care more about the ‘now’, the ‘todays’, the here-I-am and here-you-are, and what can we do for each other to make things as good as possible for [both of] us! I know! There are people who can’t be bothered with such nonsense. They have jobs to work and bills to pay, things to worry about and goals to achieve.

‘If you’re going to talk about cooking and foods… what are you going off on tangents for, talking about people and their feelings?’

This is a question I’ve been asked over and over by inquiring reporters, wanting to know why we’re successful at what we do, why people go to such trouble to locate us and order our books! I think they answer their own question. Don’t you?

After all, cooking is not for robots! The way we present our food to those who share our table with us takes into account more than plopping the pot roast onto a platter and announcing, ‘Supper’s ready!’ Is that where it ends? When a meal is presented, there are many considerations for the cook.

Besides the balance, nutritionally, there’s the effort to please those who will hopefully enjoy the food. And trying to please those you’re feeding is a direct appeal, a definite effort, to consider someone’s feelings, the feelings of enjoyment and consequently of approval – approval of the food and… the one who prepared it.

Every day, the homemaker, with a family to feed, meets the challenge of proving they can be proficient, both, in the selections of foods, [as well as] the preparation and presentation of it and the management and the management of the cost.

Cooking is more than turning on the stove and opening the refrigerator. It’s pleasing people! It’s caring about what they might like to eat. It’s doing your best to prepare and present the dishes so that mealtime is not just a daily routine – but an occasion.

The cookbook industry has offended us… as if the recipes were designed for mindless bodies – not for folks with feelings! Food fanatics continue to advise us on how to feed the body while we let the famished affections go hungry.

The critics’ smoking guns right now are aimed at curing physical maladies with food administered medicinally. Food, as medication, is used as both a preservative and a cure. But what heals the broken spirit – the sensitive, the distressed, the lonely, the shy and withdrawn?

It takes more than adequate fiber intake; minimum daily nutritional needs being filled to cure the body of ills created by stress and anguish. It takes loving, caring and being loved and cared about in return!

There was a time, not very long ago, when the average family’s busy lifestyle made it difficult to eat a single meal together, let alone three – with both parents working outside the home and the kid’s after school activities and weekend sports.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck and, unexpectedly, families were, more or less, confined together, 24/7 – for all the meals and everything else in between, as well! Our homes suddenly became our hubs, encompassing the office, school, gym, salon, cinema, eatery and so much more!

‘The divine principle of good cooking is not a secret! It is taking pleasure in the activity; in the information previously retained and called upon through the facilities of memory. The spirit of good cooking is individualistic. It is not shrouded in mystery – but in love, for what you are doing and for whom you are doing it!’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen on the front page of the 128th issue of Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Sep-Oct 1987).]

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1983, p.10)

HAVING A GOOD ATTITUDE TOWARD COOKING

Having a good attitude toward cooking, is the most positive way to approach the experience. Some folks really LOVE to cook, and they consequently do it well. But many of them can only turn out a handful of dishes perfectly and, therefore, limit their cooking practices, as well as their opportunities to eat foods that are unfamiliar to them.

Cooking is one of those skills that improve with practice, as does anything we undertake. But most of us are so conditioned to living in a world of instants that if a dish requires more of us than to add water – or to defrost and heat – we’re at a total loss in the kitchen!

Our life styles are changing more and more each day. We’re living in the age of fast food, instant coffee, Minute Rice, … one-step floor cleaners, quick breads, split-second decisions, rapid transit travel and planes that go 700-MPH – so why shouldn’t cooking be hurried along as well?

When you don’t really like to cook, it’s hard to imagine that it does have a positive side to the experience. Gourmets live to cook, while the rest of us cook to live – and just as often, would prefer it if we didn’t have to cook at all. This attitude toward getting the whole thing over with as soon as we can, is a reflection of the pride we fail to take in our accomplished dishes. When you thrive on compliments for your culinary skills it’s different.

When you do not have a positive interest in good cooking practices, you, likewise, don’t expect your creations to warrant compliments. The best thing for you to do is start ‘small’ – working with only a few ingredients at a time, until you get the feeling of how certain foods go well together, what flavorings compliment them, the best way to present the food when you serve it, so that it looks even better than it will taste.

Long, complicated recipes that require numerous ingredients and pampering are not always as good as those dishes that require only a few ingredients and a short time to prepare. We have made the mistake of believing that ‘fast’ food is totally without merit, therefore cannot be wholesome, nutritious, nor worth the time and cost, but ‘fast’ can be good if it is properly prepared.

LAST THOUGHTS…

One more thing I love about fall is my “fall cleaning” ritual. Just like in the spring, I actually get a little giddy about flipping the mattress, rotating the seasonal clothes, and moving the living room furniture around – just some of the things I usually do in the fall (and spring) season. I know I’m strange – this is me – I’m okay with it!

This time of year also harvests more Americana nostalgia, decreased stress levels, and increased creativity. It’s time to put away the summer essentials and tidy up our homes to usher in the fall seasonal holidays. Furthermore, on average, Americans spend about six hours per week cleaning their homes.

The American Cleaning Institute estimates that over half of Americans dread cleaning the bathroom, while almost a quarter hate cleaning the kitchen, one-fifth dislike dusting and mopping, and about one-sixth loathe doing the laundry. Sorry, Mom – your most hated housekeeping task, making the bed, did not make it onto this list! Personally, dusting is my least favorite, mostly because it impacts my allergies more than anything else.

#NationalCornedBeefHashDay

In honor of TODAY, being National Corned Beef Hash Day; plus, this is still National Americana Month and Better Breakfast Month – here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Glorified Hash, which I thought, when I was growing up, was a lot like the Libby’s product but better. This recipe was among Mom’s “Original 200” recipe cards collection and appeared in her very first, self-published cookbook… The Better Cooker’s Cookbook (Happy Newspaper Features, Algonac, MI; 1973, p. 35).

COMING SOON…

OCTOBER IS NATIONAL BOOK MONTH & NATIONAL COOKBOOK MONTH!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Other celebrations for this week include:

Today is also… National Chocolate Milk Day!

Tomorrow, September 28th is… National Drink Beer Day, National Good Neighbor Day (which used to be on the 4th Sunday), National Strawberry Cream Pie Day, and National North Carolina Day! The fourth Tuesday in September is also… National Voter Registration Day!

September 29th is… National Coffee Day and VFW Day! The last Wednesday in September is also… National Women’s Health & Fitness Day

Thursday, September 30th is… National Love People Day, National Chewing Gum Day, National Mud Pack Day, and National Hot Mulled Cider Day

Friday starts the month of October, which observes, among other things (pictured below)…

October 1st is also…  National Homemade Cookies Day! Plus, as the first Friday in October, it’s… National Manufacturing Day, National Body Language Day, and World Smile Day, too! The week of October 1st is also… Active Aging Week!

October 2nd is… National Fried Scallops Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of the month, it’s also… National Play Outside Day!

Sunday, October 3rd is… National Techies Day and National Boyfriend Day! As the start of the first FULL week in October, it’s also… International Post Card Week and National Newspaper Week!

#TGIM

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

…39 down and 13 to go!

Happy Fall Y’All

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

#TheRecipeDetective

I LOVE fall – it’s definitely my favorite season! I adore the crisp, cool nights and lukewarm days. I love seeing the trees change colors. Incidentally, yesterday was the start of National Fall Foliage Week! I also love going to the cider mill for fresh apples, donuts, and (of course) cider. Plus, Octoberfest jubilees are popping up everywhere!

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Speaking of which… October is almost here! Thus, we’re rounding the bend, this week, for September’s finale. However, it is still September for a few more days, so there is still time left to celebrate some of its many wonderful observances – such as…

Fall Hat Month, International Update Your Resume Month, National Little League Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, National Chicken Month, National Courtesy Month, National Honey Month, National Italian Cheese Month, National Library Card Sign Up Month, National Mushroom Month, National Potato Month, National Rice Month, National Sewing Month, and National Whole Grains Month! But that’s not all…

Moreover, as the last week in September, it’s also… National Keep Kids Creative Week! Relative to that, since this is the fourth Monday in September, today is also… National Family Day; which promotes making and sharing meals together, as well as family bonding around the kitchen table.

#SelfImprovementMonth

September is also Self-Improvement Month! Family meals, prepared and eaten together, provide vast opportunities for strengthening ties, building better relationships, and creating a sense of belonging, which leads to better self-esteem.

When my siblings and I were growing up, Mom always made our meals family-style! We’d fill our plates and talk about our days, passing the serving dishes around the table while elbowing each other whenever Mom and Dad weren’t looking. We’re far from being the Brady Bunch or Walton’s family!

We ate together because that’s when the meal was served. The food may have been like that in a restaurant, but Mom would always remind us that our kitchen wasn’t a restaurant where you could drop in any time and place an order for whatever you’d like. In our household, you ate what was made and when it was served, or you would probably have to go hungry until the next meal.

However, I can’t remember any of us even being willing to miss one of Mom’s meals, so that was never really an issue in our household. Mom would always joke about being a bad cook in her many editorials but, even before she became famous for being the Secret RecipesTM Detective, she really was a great cook!

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1983, p.6)

COOKING IS MORE THAN TURNING ON THE STOVE – IT’S PLEASING PEOPLE!

As often as we put things off, in life, it’s a shame that we don’t care more about the ‘now’, the ‘todays’, the here-I-am and here-you-are, and what can we do for each other to make things as good as possible for [both of] us! I know! There are people who can’t be bothered with such nonsense. They have jobs to work and bills to pay, things to worry about and goals to achieve.

‘If you’re going to talk about cooking and foods… what are you going off on tangents for, talking about people and their feelings?’

This is a question I’ve been asked over and over by inquiring reporters, wanting to know why we’re successful at what we do, why people go to such trouble to locate us and order our books! I think they answer their own question. Don’t you?

After all, cooking is not for robots! The way we present our food to those who share our table with us takes into account more than plopping the pot roast onto a platter and announcing, ‘Supper’s ready!’ Is that where it ends? When a meal is presented, there are many considerations for the cook.

Besides the balance, nutritionally, there’s the effort to please those who will hopefully enjoy the food. And trying to please those you’re feeding is a direct appeal, a definite effort, to consider someone’s feelings, the feelings of enjoyment and consequently of approval – approval of the food and… the one who prepared it.

Every day, the homemaker, with a family to feed, meets the challenge of proving they can be proficient, both, in the selections of foods, [as well as] the preparation and presentation of it and the management and the management of the cost.

Cooking is more than turning on the stove and opening the refrigerator. It’s pleasing people! It’s caring about what they might like to eat. It’s doing your best to prepare and present the dishes so that mealtime is not just a daily routine – but an occasion.

The cookbook industry has offended us… as if the recipes were designed for mindless bodies – not for folks with feelings! Food fanatics continue to advise us on how to feed the body while we let the famished affections go hungry.

The critics’ smoking guns right now are aimed at curing physical maladies with food administered medicinally. Food, as medication, is used as both a preservative and a cure. But what heals the broken spirit – the sensitive, the distressed, the lonely, the shy and withdrawn?

It takes more than adequate fiber intake; minimum daily nutritional needs being filled to cure the body of ills created by stress and anguish. It takes loving, caring and being loved and cared about in return!

There was a time, not very long ago, when the average family’s busy lifestyle made it difficult to eat a single meal together, let alone three – with both parents working outside the home and the kid’s after school activities and weekend sports.

Then the Covid-19 pandemic struck and, unexpectedly, families were, more or less, confined together, 24/7 – for all the meals and everything else in between, as well! Our homes suddenly became our hubs, encompassing the office, school, gym, salon, cinema, eatery and so much more!

‘The divine principle of good cooking is not a secret! It is taking pleasure in the activity; in the information previously retained and called upon through the facilities of memory. The spirit of good cooking is individualistic. It is not shrouded in mystery – but in love, for what you are doing and for whom you are doing it!’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen on the front page of the 128th issue of Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Sep-Oct 1987).]

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1983, p.10)

HAVING A GOOD ATTITUDE TOWARD COOKING

Having a good attitude toward cooking, is the most positive way to approach the experience. Some folks really LOVE to cook, and they consequently do it well. But many of them can only turn out a handful of dishes perfectly and, therefore, limit their cooking practices, as well as their opportunities to eat foods that are unfamiliar to them.

Cooking is one of those skills that improve with practice, as does anything we undertake. But most of us are so conditioned to living in a world of instants that if a dish requires more of us than to add water – or to defrost and heat – we’re at a total loss in the kitchen!

Our life styles are changing more and more each day. We’re living in the age of fast food, instant coffee, Minute Rice, … one-step floor cleaners, quick breads, split-second decisions, rapid transit travel and planes that go 700-MPH – so why shouldn’t cooking be hurried along as well?

When you don’t really like to cook, it’s hard to imagine that it does have a positive side to the experience. Gourmets live to cook, while the rest of us cook to live – and just as often, would prefer it if we didn’t have to cook at all. This attitude toward getting the whole thing over with as soon as we can, is a reflection of the pride we fail to take in our accomplished dishes. When you thrive on compliments for your culinary skills it’s different.

When you do not have a positive interest in good cooking practices, you, likewise, don’t expect your creations to warrant compliments. The best thing for you to do is start ‘small’ – working with only a few ingredients at a time, until you get the feeling of how certain foods go well together, what flavorings compliment them, the best way to present the food when you serve it, so that it looks even better than it will taste.

Long, complicated recipes that require numerous ingredients and pampering are not always as good as those dishes that require only a few ingredients and a short time to prepare. We have made the mistake of believing that ‘fast’ food is totally without merit, therefore cannot be wholesome, nutritious, nor worth the time and cost, but ‘fast’ can be good if it is properly prepared.

LAST THOUGHTS…

One more thing I love about fall is my “fall cleaning” ritual. Just like in the spring, I actually get a little giddy about flipping the mattress, rotating the seasonal clothes, and moving the living room furniture around – just some of the things I usually do in the fall (and spring) season. I know I’m strange – and I’m okay with that!

This time of year also harvests more Americana nostalgia, decreased stress levels, and increased creativity. It’s time to put away the summer essentials and tidy up our homes to usher in the fall seasonal holidays. Furthermore, on average, Americans spend approximately six hours per week cleaning their homes.

The American Cleaning Institute estimates that over half of Americans dread cleaning the bathroom, while almost a quarter hate cleaning the kitchen, one-fifth dislike dusting and mopping, and about one-sixth loathe doing the laundry. Sorry, Mom – your most hated housekeeping task, making the bed, did not make it onto this list! Personally, dusting is my least favorite, mostly because it impacts my allergies more than anything else.

#NationalCornedBeefHashDay

In honor of TODAY, being National Corned Beef Hash Day; plus, this is still National Americana Month and Better Breakfast Month – here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Glorified Hash, which I thought, when I was growing up, was a lot like the Libby’s product but better. This recipe was among Mom’s “Original 200” recipe cards collection and appeared in her very first, self-published cookbook… The Better Cooker’s Cookbook (Happy Newspaper Features, Algonac, MI; 1973, p. 35).

COMING SOON…

OCTOBER IS NATIONAL BOOK MONTH & NATIONAL COOKBOOK MONTH!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Other celebrations for this week include:

Today is also… National Chocolate Milk Day!

Tomorrow, September 28th is… National Drink Beer Day, National Good Neighbor Day (which used to be on the 4th Sunday), National Strawberry Cream Pie Day, and National North Carolina Day! The fourth Tuesday in September is also… National Voter Registration Day!

September 29th is… National Coffee Day and VFW Day! The last Wednesday in September is also… National Women’s Health & Fitness Day!

Thursday, September 30th is… National Love People Day, National Chewing Gum Day, National Mud Pack Day, and National Hot Mulled Cider Day

Friday starts the month of October, which observes, among other things (pictured below)…

October 1st is also…  National Homemade Cookies Day! Plus, as the first Friday in October, it’s… National Manufacturing Day, National Body Language Day, and World Smile Day, too! The week of October 1st is also… Active Aging Week!

October 2nd is… National Fried Scallops Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of the month, it’s also… National Play Outside Day!

Sunday, October 3rd is… National Techies Day and National Boyfriend Day! As the start of the first FULL week in October, it’s also… International Post Card Week and National Newspaper Week!

#TGIM

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

…39 down and 13 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Transitions

Once again, happy Monday to everyone! I always look forward to every Monday because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

September is traditionally considered to be a month of transitions – from summer to fall, hot to cool, and long days to shorter ones; just to name a few. Kids are also transitioning into their new school curriculums. Additionally, September is deemed to be a great month in which to refocus our energies.

In fact, this month marks three years since I refocused my own energies and made the transition into being a blogger. Friday, the 17th, will be the anniversary of my launching Mondays & Memories of My Mom, carrying on Mom’s Legacy Of Love.

Mom’s first love was with writing. Inspired by a movie she saw as a young girl, about the Bronte sisters, she began journaling every day. She also loved to write short stories and poetry. From her childhood until she was a young adult, Mom dreamed of someday writing a great American novel.

#InternationalUpdateYourResumeMonth

However, her “great American novel” never came to fruition, not in the way she thought it would, at least, as Life took her in a slightly different direction. Every successful accomplishment that Mom ever had with her writing efforts in and after high school and college involved cooking, recipes, and homemaking in some manner.

In the 1950s and 1960s, she won multiple contests on radio shows and in magazines for her food-related stories and recipes. In 1963, Mom was so excited about finally being able to buy her very own typewriter, with the prize money she won from another contest; since she had always gone to the library or borrowed someone’s, previously.

As a wife and mother, Mom found her own family to be the best subject about which to write. She was very creative and sarcastically funny. She designed a few different columns (‘No Laughing Matter’, ‘Cookbook Corner’, ‘Woman’s Lip’, and ‘Minding the Hearth’) on her typewriter, mailing out samples to over 300 newspapers.

Within a year, she was writing two different columns for 60 regular papers. She even created her own cartoon panels, which she called ‘Full House – as Kept by Gloria Pitzer’. They depicted her life as a wife and mother of 5 in the “Women’s’ Lib” transitioning years of the mid-60’s to mid-70’s.

Then, when she was writing her food column, ‘Cookbook Corner’, she realized from her readers’ requests and her own family’s wants and needs that there was an uncharted area in the food industry that needed her secret sleuthing talents! No cookbooks anywhere on the market explored what Mom came to call her own, “copycat cookery”.

She approached her editor, at the time, with an idea to change things up from the usual meatloaf and chocolate brownies recipes. He loved the idea (at first) and told her to write the recipes that she thought would excite their readers. She did and the readers loved it!

However, some of the newspaper’s food industry advertisers weren’t so happy with Mom’s inventive ways to imitate their products at home. Thus, her editor told her to stop. That’s when Mom told him to mail her last check and she went home to start her own paper.

Mom carved out a totally new niche in the food industry with her copycat cookery concepts, which she also called “eating out at home”. She set to work, discovering how to mimic the taboo junk foods and fast foods, as well as shelf-stable and frozen grocery products and famous restaurant dishes in her own kitchen. If it saved her household money, she wanted to share it with others to help them save money too!

She didn’t just develop and self-publish her own recipes for duplicating famous foods from famous places, but she also promoted them, herself. It was mostly through radio talk show programs. However, newspapers and magazines picked up on it quickly, too, as Mom blazed a trail of uniqueness around all the “Betty Crockers” and “Julia Childs” of that time.

In the early years of her cottage-style, dining room table, family-run operation, Mom sold her recipe imitations on 4”x6” index cards, printed from a mimeograph she kept in our laundry room. Her index quickly grew to about 200 recipes, which began outgrowing our dining room table.

Mom went from printing the recipe cards to monthly newsletters and multiple cookbooks in the blink of an eye. She gained national and international attention and recognition, rapidly. Her copycat cookery concept was fresh and new – unlike anything else on the market, in her field.

She used to tell me, “life is what happens to us while we’re busy making other plans.” In other words, while we’re busy making plans for how we’d like our lives to be, life changes and transitions all the time. We just need to refocus and transition, too.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 54-55)

RADIO AND BOB ALLISON’S “ASK YOUR NEIGHBORS!”

RADIO TURNED OUT TO BE the most appropriate way by which we made people aware of what we were doing…my involvement with the wonderful world of radio actually came about without any specific intention of becoming a regular part of the broadcasting field… I didn’t know I had what is considered ‘a radio voice’.

Heaven knows our five kids will, to this day, even in their adulthood, testify to the fact that, on occasion, during their up-bringing, I had been known to discover conditions that would prompt me to accelerate, vocally, in a pitch that only dogs in the next county could hear!

My introduction to radio began with Bob Allison and [his] ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show. I was folding diapers at the kitchen table, waiting for my favorite daily segment of ‘My True Story’ to come on the air when, instead, WWJ [a Detroit area radio station] announced that it had been replaced with a NEW show!

This new show turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me…almost every Monday morning I [would] visit with Bob Allison and his neighbors…

NEIGHBORS

When ‘My True Story’ was replaced by Bob Allison and his ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show… I was, at first, very disappointed. Household hints and problems around the house that you cannot solve yourself seemed like just too much homemaking information to please me.

I soon, however, became ‘hooked’ on the show, as almost everybody does, to the point that, on Fridays, when Bob would sign-off and say he would talk to us again on Monday, I was spending the weekends just looking forward to the show on Monday.

I called the show about 2 or 3 times a month for the first year or two, to ask questions of Bob’s ‘neighbors’ that my newspaper column readers were asking me. When I couldn’t find the answer from consulting other sources, I knew I could rely on Bob Allison’s ‘neighbors’ to come up with the right answers for me.

In return, I would often… phone in an answer that I occasionally had, in reply to one of their questions or recipe requests. Bob did not recognize my voice as a regular caller until I had initiated the newsletter, however. He asked me where the [hamburger sauce] recipe came from that I was giving, in reply to one of his listener’s requests, which is how his program has always worked…

In mentioning that the hamburger sauce recipe would appear in the next issue of my monthly newsletter, which I had given in response to one of his listeners’ previous requests, Bob reacted with great interest and curiosity.

‘You have a newsletter, do you?’ He asked. ‘Well, tell us about it and how much it is and where our neighbors can get it.’

That was all it took to get us well-acquainted with Bob’s ‘neighbors’ and, in no time at all, our subscription orders went from a few to many. Sight-unseen was hardly appropriate to ask people to buy a publication that they could not first examine.

So, I spent all of one day and most of the next, thinking about and trying out a single page description with a few sample recipes from the publication that I could send out to interested and prospective subscribers…

LAST THOUGHTS…

Mom used the same process for advertising her “secret”, make-alike recipes and publications for over 40 years, until she finally, fully retired in 2014. It always worked very well for her business, offering 15-20 sample recipes along with information for ordering her current, self-published cookbooks and newsletter subscription in exchange for a self-addressed, stamped envelope.

Mom was always grateful for her readers, listeners, and fans who kept her inspired with their requests to find the “secrets” to making this dish or that grocery product at home. She was also very thankful to all the media sources that interviewed, wrote, and talked about her imitations of famous foods (from radio and TV talk shows to newspapers and magazines).

#NationalWorkingParentsDay

By the way, Thursday is National Working Parents Day!

#NationalKidsTakeOverTheKitchenDay

Did you know that today is National Kids Take Over The Kitchen Day? No matter if you have kids in your house or you just want to tap into your inner child, celebrate with Mom’s copycat recipe for Hopeless Snowballs; as seen in… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 14)!

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

The month of September observes, among other things: National Americana Month, Better Breakfast Month, Fall Hat Month, Little League Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, National Chicken Month, National Courtesy Month, National Honey Month, National Italian Cheese Month, National Library Card Sign Up MonthNational Mushroom Month, National Potato Month, National Preparedness Month, National Rice Month, National Self-Care Awareness Month, National Sewing Month, Self-Improvement Month, and Whole Grains Month!

Other celebrations happening this week include:

Yesterday, September 12th was the start of the second FULL week in September, which is… National Arts In Education Week! The second week of September also celebrates… National Biscuit and Gravy Week (which is also a national, celebratory DAY on December 14th)!

Additionally, today is also… National Peanut Day!

Tomorrow, September 14th is… National Cream Filled Donut Day, National Eat a Hoagie Day, National Live Creative Day , and National Virginia Day! As the second Tuesday in September, it’s also… National Ants on a Log Day!

Wednesday, September 15th is… National Cheese Toast Day, National Linguine Day, National Double Cheeseburger Day, National Creme de Menthe Day, National Online Learning Day, and Greenpeace Day! Additionally, this is the start of Hispanic Heritage Month (which is always September 15th to October 15th)!

September 16th is… National Play-Doh Day, National Cinnamon Raisin Bread Day, National Guacamole Day, and National Step Family Day! Plus, as the third Thursday in September, it’s also… National Pawpaw Day!

Friday, September 17th is… National Professional House Cleaners Day, National Apple Dumpling Day, Constitution Day and Citizenship Day, and National Monte Cristo Day! Here’s a re-share of Mom’s copycat recipe for one, Toronto-style!

#NationalMonteCristoDay

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

September 18th is… the U.S. Air Force Birthday and National Cheeseburger Day! In addition, as the third Saturday in September, it’s also… National Dance Day, National Gymnastics Day, Boys’ and Girls’ Club Day for Kids, Responsible Dog Ownership Day, and National Clean Up Day!

September 19th is… National Butterscotch Pudding Day and Talk Like A Pirate Day! Plus, as the third Sunday in September, it’s also… Wife Appreciation Day!

Additionally, as the start of the third FULL week in September, it’s… National Farm Safety & Health Week, National Indoor Plant Week, and National Rehabilitation Awareness Week! The third week in September is also… National Farm Animals Awareness Week!

#TGIM

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

…37 down and 15 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Flavors Of Michigan

It’s another spectacular Monday! Happy Monday and happy Labor Day to one and all! I always look forward to each and every Monday, as they are my 52 Chances per year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

127 years ago (in June 1894), Labor Day officially became a federal holiday. It’s celebrated annually, on the first Monday in September. Just as Memorial Day marks the “unofficial” start of summer, Labor Day is considered the “unofficial” end of summer! However, technically, there’s over two weeks until fall begins.

There aren’t any specific traditions for rejoicing in Labor Day. Some end-of-summer celebrations include events like picnics, outdoor concerts, festivals, fireworks and even shopping; as retailers offer huge Labor Day weekend deals and discounts to move the rest of their summer stock.

I think the real reason that Mom loved to celebrate Labor Day, many decades ago, when my siblings and I were all kids, was because it meant that we were going back to school the next day and she could start her vacation!

#PureMichigan

Many Michiganders take advantage of this long, holiday weekend to go “up north” for one, last, summer retreat. Today is also the annual Labor Day Walk across the five-mile-long “Mighty Mac”, which has bridged the Straits of Mackinac since 1957. At 26,372 feet, it’s the third longest suspension bridge in North America.

According to the Mackinac Bridge Authority, “The bridge walk has been an annual event since 1958, with the exception of 2020. The 2021 walk will be the 63rd event. Between 25,000 and 30,000 people have participated in recent years.” The bridge is usually shut down to motor traffic for a half-day, for the safety of the Labor Day walkers.

#NationalAmericanaMonth

My husband and I have been wanting to explore more of the Americana oddities, natural beauty, and history of Pure Michigan‘s “Tip-of-the-Mitt”; as well as the eastern half of the U.P. We have a bucket list that includes some of Mom and Dad’s favorite places to visit, like Traverse City, Cheboygan, Petosky, Mackinaw City, Mackinac Island, St. Ignace, Sault Ste. Marie, Brimley, Tahquamenon Falls, Houghton, and Newberry.

Our home state is so rich in small-town, Norman Rockwell, Americana beauty, history, AND FLAVOR! It’s no wonder Mom loved reviewing different restaurants, locally and state-wide, throughout the decades, as the Secret RecipesTM Detective; figuring out how to duplicate their famous dishes at home, while simultaneously re-discovering her home state of Michigan!

The northern 45th parallel is the circle of latitude that lays halfway between the equator and the north pole. Here, in Michigan, this unique oddity crosses through the “Tip-of-the-Mitt”, from Leland, on the west side, to Alpena, on the east side.

There aren’t any big, roadside attractions for this Americana-style novelty. However, many of the towns along the parallel make the most of their unique locations; offering the oddity-seeking tourists fudge, food, and fermented fruit (aka: wine) – as well as little trinkets, t-shirts, and other commemorative souvenirs. There are about eight different, “45th Parallel” signs across Michigan, which make great photo op’s.

I agree with L.V. Anderson’s research, as seen in her article, The United Sweets of America (Aug. 24, 2014), which claims that Michigan’s unofficial “state dessert” is FUDGE! Likewise, Top 13 Best Foods Which Made Michigan Famous, by the Thumbwind staff at Thumbwind.com (Sep. 25, 2020), also claims that Mackinac Island Fudge is the #1 favorite! See my re-share of Mom’s imitation for Mackinac Island Dark Fudge below.

Moreover, according to an article at TheDailyMeal.com, called The Snack Food That Defines Every State, by Carolyn Menyes (Feb. 26, 2020), fudge was also chosen as the favorite snack food in Michigan! I know fudge seems to be the star in every Michigan “tourist town”, in which I’ve ever been.

Like other tourists, I love to stop and see a fudge-making performance, as well as buy some of their tasty treats. An interesting story on the history of fudge and how it came to be a tourism staple, in the first place, can be found at ChowHound.com. Another great fudge article to check out is called Why Does Every Tourist Attraction Sell Fudge?, by Kat Eschner (May 12, 2017) at Smithsonian.com.

Additionally, on Thumbwind’s list of famous Michigan-made foods, Detroit’s Coney Island Hot Dog, is #2 (even though the original Coney Island restaurant is on the Atlantic coastline); and Buddy’s Detroit-Style pizza is #3. Those are followed by Traverse City’s tart cherries, the U.P.’s pasties, and Frankenmuth’s home-style chicken to round out its top six choices.

Those choices are also supported by Samantha Lande’s photo collection/article in Great Lakes & Better Food: The Best Things To Eat In Michigan, which includes other iconic favorites like Sanders Hot Fudge Cream Puff, Franklin Cider Mill’s apple cider and donuts, Hamtramck’s paczki (pronounced “poonch-key”), Vernor’s Boston Cooler, and Tom’s Mom’s Cookies.

In an mLive.com article, These Are Michigan’s 12 Most Iconic Restaurants, by Amy Sherman (published: May 24, 2019; updated: July 9, 2020), the top four [(of 12) restaurants, most of which Mom had visited] are:

      1. Hack-Ma-Tack Inn (Cheboygan) – famous for their whitefish dip and prime rib dinners.
      2. Legs Inn (Cross Village) – famous for their authentic Polish cuisine.
      3. The Whitney (Detroit) – famous for its old world charm and dishes like Beef Wellington.
      4. [Win] Schuler’s (Marshall) – famous for their spicy cheese spread and barbequed meatballs (both of which were among Mom’s “Original 200” recipe collection.) Below is a re-share of her imitation of their famous bar cheese!

Michigan doesn’t really have any official “State Foods” but according to an article at TasteOfHome.com, The Official Food Of Every State, by Grace Mannon (Updated: July 24, 2019), a popular suggestion for Michigan was the Coney dog that came in at #2 on Thumbwind’s list (above).

I guess it depends on where you poll, because that may be so in southeastern Michigan; but, in mid-Michigan, chicken dinners are the favorite offerings! Iva’s (Standish, MI), Zender’s and the Bavarian Inn (both, in Frankenmuth, MI) are a few five-star-favorite, iconic spots where Mom and Dad loved to eat when travelling, as well as THOUSANDS of other people! They each serve authentic, Americana-style, chicken dinners, as well as many other fabulous menu choices.

In the “Tip-Of-The-Mitt” and throughout the U.P., the pasty (pronounced: “pass-tea”), a Cornish-style meat pie, is considered the area’s specialty! Below are two of Mom’s pasty imitations that I shared last year with Kathy Keene’s Good Neighbor” audience, on WHBY.

Michigan’s unofficial “State Dessert Pie” choice is a toss-up between apple and cherry – again, depending on where you poll. The Traverse City area (and the northern Michigan region) is famous for its cherry crops (and wine)! However, apples are the more abundant crop throughout the state, over all.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 8)

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

THE SECRET RECIPE REPORT

ALTHOUGH I’VE BEEN WRITING longer than I’ve been cooking, the notion to investigate the secrets of the food industry didn’t become a full-time labor-of-love until I was working for a small-town newspaper [about 1971.] As the only ‘married lady’ on the staff, I was always assigned the food page and recipe column, and I was willing to try the dishes at home and present a column or article about their results to the paper.

When you work for a small-town paper, you wear many hats. You set type, sell advertising, proof read, design headlines, create art work, campaign for subscribers; and, before you know it, you acquire skills you didn’t even know you possessed. The food department became such a welcomed relief from the local politics that I poured my heart and soul into it, learning some of the essentials of good cooking purely by default!

Everything went well until I initiated an idea to create advertising interest among local restaurants. It started when I answered a reader’s request in my column for a recipe like McDonald’s ‘Special Sauce’. I knew it was a kissin’ cousin of a good Thousand Island dressing, so the development of the recipe wasn’t difficult.

The response from our readers was so appreciative that I contacted local restaurants for their advertising in exchange for my printing one of their recipes and menu in my column and a complimentary review of their place. No one was willing to part with any of their ‘secrets’! So, I decide to see if I could ‘guess’ how they prepared their specialties of the house.

I came across a hotel in town that advertised ‘home-baked’ cheesecake, and I felt they should be telling their customers ‘homemade’. The difference to the public is very slight, but they wanted the public to ‘think’ it was homemade, from scratch, when it was, in fact, simply taken from a carton and popped into the oven like brown-and-serve rolls.

That was before our ‘truth in menu’ laws, but no one at the paper wanted to make an issue out of it. The restaurant insisted it was an old family recipe. I said the cheesecake smacked of commercial automation, stainless steel computerized kitchens and the family they referred to was probably that of Sara Lee! At any rate, that was when I parted company with the paper and set out on my own to create the ‘Secret Recipe Report’, which I dearly miss now.

Mom self-published her ‘Secret Recipe Report’ ideas under a few different titles, as the newsletter evolved over the years. However, she always included, among other things, her own personal reviews and imitations of her favorite dishes at those restaurants, which she patroned.

IN CLOSING…

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

Since this is Better Breakfast Month and, as the first FULL week in September (the 5th-11th, this year), it’s also… National Waffle Week, here is Mom’s imitation for Biscuit Mix Like Bisquick from her Original 200 recipes and how to make waffles from it; as seen in her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 173). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

To top it off, literally, there’s also a copy of Mom’s secret recipe for Belgian Waffle Sauce, as seen in her self-published cookbook… Top Secret Recipes Al’a Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979, p. 6)!

TODAY IS ALSO NATIONAL READ A BOOK DAY!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

The month of September observes, among other things: Fall Hat Month, International Update Your Resume Month, Little League Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, National Chicken Month, National Courtesy MonthNational Honey Month, National Italian Cheese Month, National Library Card Sign Up Month, National Mushroom Month, National Potato Month, National Preparedness Month, National Rice Month, National Self-Care Awareness Month, National Sewing Month, Self-Improvement Month, and Whole Grains Month!

Other celebrations happening this week include:

Today is also… National Coffee Ice Cream Day!

Tomorrow, September 7th is… National Beer Lover’s Day, National Neither Snow Nor Rain Day, National Grandma Moses Day, National Acorn Squash Day, National Salami Day, and National New Hampshire Day!

Wednesday, September 8th is… National Ampersand Day!

September 9th is… National Wiener Schnitzel Day! Plus, the second Thursday in September is also… National School Picture Day!

Friday, September 10th is… National Swap Ideas Day and National TV Dinner Day!

Saturday, September 11th is… National Make Your Bed Day, National Hot Cross Bun Day, and, of course, National Patriot Day!

September 12th is… National Chocolate Milkshake Day and National Day of Encouragement! As the Sunday after Labor Day it’s also… National Grandparent’s Day! Moreover, it’s the start of the second FULL week in September, so it’s also… National Arts In Education Week! Plus, the second week of September is also… National Biscuit and Gravy Week!

#TGIM

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

…36 down and 16 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Americana Happiness

Happy Monday and happy National Beach Day to everyone! Personally, I always look forward to every Monday because they are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalBeachDay

The unofficial end of summer is just around the bend now, as September and Labor Day are quickly approaching. Today is the celebration of National Beach Day! Michigan is home to countless beaches, having 3,288 miles of coastline that borders four of the five Great Lakes! Moreover, there are thousands of rivers and smaller lakes with beaches throughout the state.

#NationalBackToSchoolMonth

Kids are going back to school next week (if they haven’t already), so it’s a great time to “play hooky” and hit the shoreline for one last summer celebration! Before you know it, the trees will be in full, fall colors like a Bob Ross painting! Football (pre-season) is already here, and Halloween merchandise is out in all of the stores, while Christmas stock is building up in their back storerooms.

#PureMichigan

My husband and I love to go for day trips around Michigan’s “Thumb Coast”, stopping at different beaches to take in the magnificent views and collect some rocks for our garden beds. One time, I found a rock on which someone had painted a silhouette of our state on a sea of white-capped, blue waves and wrote “Michigan Home Sweet Home”. On the back was the artist’s mark and Facebook page (Sanilac Rocks).

#HappinessHappensMonth

It inspired us to collect other beach rocks, on which we, too, can paint something area related and leave them on various Michigan beaches, to which we go, for others to find; hopefully spreading some happiness in the process. Maybe it will inspire others, like us, to do the same.

I haven’t made a Facebook page for our rocks, like the one from the rock I found. I may just add them to my own Facebook art page @ClearImpressionsofMI. I haven’t really used it in a couple of years, as I’ve been focusing more on writing this blog, as well as updating this website and my Facebook page for Mom, @TheRecipeDetective.

‘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.’ – Gloria Pitzer

Mom and Dad loved to take a day or a weekend to just go on a scenic road trip and unwind from the workload at home, mentally refreshing themselves. Often, however, “work” would manage to creep back in whenever they stopped somewhere for a bite to eat. Mom always managed to find something good that she wanted to analyze and duplicate when she got back home.

My parents seemed to make friends everywhere they went. Some trips were just for relaxation and fun. But other trips involved some planned Secret RecipesTM work too. Mom really did enjoy what she laughingly called her “work”. It was easy to incorporate a restaurant review and an imitation of a dish (or two) into any trip.

Even an occasional, in-studio, radio show interview could be worked into a vacation or road trip, instead of through the phone lines, as Mom usually did. Once, Mom and Dad went on a “working” road trip/vacation to Branson, MO with one of her favorite radio show hosts, Art Lewis, from ‘Listen To The Mrs.’, on WSGW-Radio (Saginaw, MI) and “the crew”.

DEAR FRIENDS – The best part of April will be our bus trip to Branson, Missouri with ‘The Art Lewis Tour. Art is the co-host of my every Tuesday radio visits on [‘Listen To The Mrs.’] WSGW-Radio (Saginaw, MI)…Paul and I haven’t been to Branson in 8 years. The best part…we aren’t doing the driving…Art is! And we’ll be in the company of so many new friends! – Gloria Pitzer [As seen on the cover of her Spring-1995 newsletter, Secret Recipes Quarterly.]

Mom and Dad always loved to travel, especially after they became empty-nesters. They’d spend many of their spring-through-fall weekends here and there, camping with their “Good Sam RV Club” friends from the Michigan, Ohio, and Indiana chapters. In fact, Art Lewis used to love to give Mom some friendly teasing about the oven in her and Dad’s camper, as it was always gleaming like new – because it was never used!

Mom mentioned them all often – Art Lewis, Good Sam RV Club, and the friends they made – throughout her old newsletters, as well as in some of her self-published books. She always had happy remembrances and stories to tell about all the wonderful people they met, the delicious food they ate, as well as the beautiful places in which they stayed.

‘Recipe seminars that I have conducted for the Good Sam RV organization in, both, Michigan and Ohio, have given me the opportunity to meet with and talk to people from all over the country relative to their recipe interests and food needs.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 61)

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Mixed Blessings – Recipes & Remedies (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; March 1984, pp. 23-24)

IN THE SUMMERTIME…

…Throughout upstate Michigan, the roads borough through tunnels of green trees for miles and miles. There’ll be light traffic on these curving two-lane highways with single cars spaced two blocks or so apart coming toward you. There was the quaint and very unique Settling Inn at the village of Northport, the most northern point of M-22. And farther south there was the Sugarfoot Saloon at Leelanau, near the Sugarfoot Mountain Resort.

It was quiet country, secluded but refreshing, compared to sophisticated urban activity. At County Road 669, a sign announced, ‘Sleeping Bear Dunes straight ahead on M-22’. The road curved like a long licorice ribbon, up and down the hillsides of densely grown White Birches, Scotch Pines, Maples, Oaks and Poplars.

Suddenly we were conscious of how clean the air smelled. The city wasn’t like this! What a lovely contrast! What a splendid memory!

The first time we saw the Traverse Bay area and upstate Michigan, we fell in love with it. It was Labor Day and summer was still at the peak of its promise. Six weeks later, we went back to the bay area to feast our eyes on the glorious, fiery colors of fall. There was a crisp, clean chill in the air.

Those long, straight, two-lane roads through the peninsula still lay like licorice ribbons on the slopes and hills of Old Mission region. The side roads were cut like corridors through a series of canopies in brilliant orange, red and yellow, where the trees were all standing like military sentries in full dress uniforms, crossing their branches above the roads like honor guards with their swords raised high.

It was a trip back into another time zone – peaceful valleys and wooded hillsides abundant was sturdy hedges of tall trees framing well-manicured cherry orchards, acres upon acres of them, as well as apple groves in great abundance everywhere!

Here and there a farmhouse and a weather-worn, well-kept barn reminded you that it was a populated and prosperous region, after all. The prosperity appeared to represent hard work, a practical living style and simplicity of needs, unlike the atmosphere of city dwelling.

Some of the recipes from dishes of this area have become my personal favorites. At the Settling Inn, in the village of Northport, a huge and tasty sandwich presented on their own homemade bread, sliced quite right, and buttered on one side, grilling it until crispy, is the specialty of the house. Then the sandwich fillings are applied to the un-grilled side of the bread, and it’s assembled neatly and cut in half. With a mug of dark beer on a hot day, it hit the spot!

#NationalSandwichMonth

#NationalAmericanaMonth

Mom’s story reminded me that in just a couple of days it will be September, which is, among other things, National Americana Month! “Americana” is a style that reflects the stereotypical, cultural phenomenon of “Norman Rockwell basics” – the simple elements of American life, including those traditions and remembrances which have woven us together over the past couple of centuries and made us all Americans.

It includes everything that celebrates America’s cultural heritage, history, folklore, and geography. It’s a timeless, classic style that never goes out of fashion or falls from popularity. Like Mom’s description (above) of her and Dad’s drive in the Traverse Bay region of Michigan’s “Tip-Of-The-Mitt” area.

According to How To Capture Americana In Photography, by Britton Perelman (2018 – Updated Aug. 27, 2020), as seen at PassionPassport.com, “Americana is any artifact relating to the history, geography, folklore, and cultural heritage of the United States…  We often associate ‘nostalgia’ with Americana… Examples of Americana include Coca-Cola memorabilia, white-picket fences, blue jeans, apple pie, rock and roll, and small towns.”

#NationalSandwichMonth

In honor of this still being National Sandwich Month, at least for a couple of days, here are THREE of Mom’s Sanders imitations, for their lunch-counter sandwich spreads that Mom used to enjoy when she was young! There were many Sanders imitations among Mom’s original index-card-recipes.

Mom’s Sanders-Style Chicken Salad, Tuna Salad, and Ham Salad Sandwich Spread can be found in her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 37). It’s no longer in print but used copies of Mom’s self-published cookbooks can usually be found on Amazon and eBay.

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

There’s only a couple days left of August, for observing: National Dog Month, Family Fun Month, International Peace Month, National Brownies at Brunch Month, National Catfish Month, National Crayon Collection Month, National Goat Cheese Month, National Golf Month, National Immunization Awareness Month, National Panini Month, National Water Quality Month, National Wellness Month, and Romance Awareness Month!

Other celebrations happening this week include:

Today is… National Toasted Marshmallow Day and National Grief Awareness Day!

Tomorrow, August 31st is… National South Carolina Day and National Trail Mix Day!

Wednesday launches the month of September, which observes: Better Breakfast Month, Fall Hat Month, International Update Your Resume Month, Little League Month, National Blueberry Popsicle Month, National Chicken Month, National Courtesy Month, National Honey Month, National Italian Cheese Month, National Library Card Sign Up Month, National Mushroom Month, National Potato Month, National Preparedness Month, National Rice Month, National Self-Care Awareness Month, National Sewing Month, Self-Improvement Month, and Whole Grains Month!

September 1st is also… National Chicken Boy Day and National No Rhyme (Nor Reason) Day!

Thursday, September 2nd is… National Blueberry Popsicle Day!

September 3rd is… National Welsh Rarebit Day and U.S. Bowling League Day! In fact, the first Friday in September is always… National Lazy Mom’s Day, National Food Bank Day, National College Colors Day, and National Chianti Day!

Saturday, September 4th is… National Spice Blend Day, National Wildlife Day, National Newspaper Carrier Day, and National Macadamia Nut Day! As the first Saturday in September, it’s also… National Tailgating Day and National Play Outside Day (which is always the first Saturday of EVERY MONTH)!

Sunday, September 5th is… National Cheese Pizza Day and National Be Late For Something Day! It’s also the start of National Waffle Week!

#TGIM

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

…35 down and 17 to go!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Food Effect

Happy Monday to everybody, once again! I, personally, 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

#HappinessHappensMonth

As August continues to celebrate Happiness Happens Month, I want to get back to how food affects our happiness, which I touched on briefly a few weeks ago. The inspiration came from a mention of it in Ann Pietrangelo’s article, How To Be Happy: 25 Habits To Add To Your Routine (Jan. 15, 2019). I recommend checking out the full article at Healthline.com.

I thought it was really interesting when Ann pointed out, in #4 Eat With Mood In Mind of her article, that different types of food can affect our moods in different ways; confirming that we are what we eat! So I wondered, if foods affect our moods and happiness, then what should we eat to always feel our best and happiest? Ann’s examples included the following generalizations…

Carbohydrates release serotonin, a ‘feel good’ hormone. Just keep simple carbs — foods high in sugar and starch — to a minimum because that energy surge is short, and you’ll crash. Complex carbs, such as vegetables, beans, and whole grains, are better.

Lean meat, poultry, legumes, and dairy are high in protein. These foods release dopamine and norepinephrine, which boost energy and concentration.

Highly processed or deep-fried foods tend to leave you feeling down. So will skipping meals.

Start by making one better food choice each day. For example, swap a big, sweet breakfast pastry for some Greek yogurt with fruit. You’ll still satisfy your sweet tooth, and the protein will help you avoid a mid-morning energy crash. Try adding in a new food swap each week.

The consensus on my Google searches seems to agree with Ann. It’s widely believed that, in times of stress, “comfort foods” will often make you feel better, at least for a short period of time. These foods are usually the carb-type, of which Ann mentioned to be mindful because of their high sugar and/or starch contents. I know, from personal experience, they can negatively affect blood-sugar levels.

Granted, they provide at least a temporary nostalgic or even sentimental value to our mood – but at what cost? They have very little nutritional value if any at all. Junk foods and fast foods are also considered to be “comfort foods”. This would be a good point at which to remind everyone that Mom was the pioneer who first took the junk out of junk food by imitating our favorites at home, where we can control the ingredients!

In fact, one can say with some certainty that not all fast food is junk food AND not all junk food is fast food! By general definition, “junk foods” are considered to be those foods that are heavily processed; typically containing high amounts of either trans fats, sugar, corn syrup, fructose, or salt (or a combination of any of those). Additionally, junk foods are high in calories. Beware – they are also high in luscious, tasty delightfulness and can be addictive!

Science has shown, time and time again, that emotions and food are very much linked together in many ways! Food is often the guest of honor at almost any event! As with eating for self-satisfaction, cooking is also a great source for happiness – whether it be for self-satisfaction or in pleasing others. Between the cooking AND the eating, I figured that I get to happily enjoy food twice as much! Although too much of a good thing is not always a good thing!

According to TimeAndDate.com: “Studies have shown that consuming junk food ONCE-IN-A-WHILE does not have a negative effect on health – it is only when one eats junk food for a majority of their meals that their diet can be considered unhealthy. Consuming large amounts of foods considered to be “junk”, can lead to several health problems, including a high risk of obesity, diabetes, and heart issues.”

Mom was a big believer in the psychological influences of food. Some foods are considered “happy foods” as they contain something called tryptophan, which is transformed into serotonin in the body. Additionally, serotonin is well-known to relax most of us, improve mood and, in general, produce feelings of happiness. Dark Chocolate is rich in many mood-boosting compounds.

Unfortunately, just when we start feeling comfortable and happy about how life is going, we find that happiness doesn’t happen without intermissions. These are the times in which we should take stock of our lives and be grateful for the good, as well as the lessons. From time to time, we forget that nothing in life is guaranteed to any of us.

I read a really great article at EliteDaily.com, which I refer to from time-to-time, called When It Seems Like Things Are Falling Apart, They’re Really Just Falling Into Place, by Paul Hudson (Sep. 23, 2014). The timeless advice and reasoning in this almost-7-year-old article, regarding how to deal with stress and create your own happiness, sounds like it could’ve been written for these days and the pandemic situation. I highly recommend the read!

#SimplifyYourLifeWeek

#HappinessHappensMonth

Many of us find happiness in food! Writing and cooking were among Mom’s top stress-relievers that made her happy. Being the Secret Recipes Detective for 40 years, Mom was more apt to be found in the kitchen, creating a new imitation of another popular restaurant dish or at her desk writing about the latest imitation she developed.

Mom loved to write about a lot of different things that she thought would interest her readers. She’d been calling it “Food For Thought” since the 1960s, when she wrote for various newspapers. She always liked to say that she made a living with her writing, but it was her writing that made living worthwhile. It gave her purpose and especially happiness!

‘Start now! Good thoughts and good feelings reinforce each other…When you hold on to one good thought, the better you’ll do things that make you feel good about yourself…Nothing will work for you unless you work for it.’ – Gloria Pitzer [This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p.32)]

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1983, p.6)

COOKING IS MORE THAN TURNING ON THE STOVE – IT’S PLEASING PEOPLE!

As often as we put things off, in life, it’s a shame that we don’t care more about the ‘now’, the ‘todays’, the here-I-am and here-you-are, and what can we do for each other to make things as good as possible for [both of] us! I know! There are people who can’t be bothered with such nonsense. They have jobs to work and bills to pay, things to worry about and goals to achieve.

‘If you’re going to talk about cooking and foods… what are you going off on tangents for, talking about people and their feelings?’

This is a question I’ve been asked over and over by inquiring reporters, wanting to know why we’re successful at what we do, why people go to such trouble to locate us and order our books! I think they answer their own question. Don’t you?

After all, cooking is not for robots! The way we present our food to those who share our table with us takes into account more than plopping the pot roast onto a platter and announcing, ‘Supper’s ready!’ Is that where it ends? When a meal is presented, there are many considerations for the cook.

Besides the balance, nutritionally, there’s the effort to please those who will hopefully enjoy the food. And trying to please those you’re feeding is a direct appeal, a definite effort, to consider someone’s feelings, the feelings of enjoyment and consequently of approval – approval of the food and… the one who prepared it.

Every day, the homemaker, with a family to feed, meets the challenge of proving they can be proficient, both, in the selections of foods, [as well as] the preparation and presentation of it and the management and the management of the cost.

Cooking is more than turning on the stove and opening the refrigerator. It’s pleasing people! It’s caring about what they might like to eat. It’s doing your best to prepare and present the dishes so that mealtime is not just a daily routine – but an occasion.

The cookbook industry has offended us… as if the recipes were designed for mindless bodies – not for folks with feelings! Food fanatics continue to advise us on how to feed the body while we let the famished affections go hungry.

The critics’ smoking guns right now are aimed at curing physical maladies with food administered medicinally. Food, as medication, is used as both a preservative and a cure. But what heals the broken spirit – the sensitive, the distressed, the lonely, the shy and withdrawn?

It takes more than adequate fiber intake; minimum daily nutritional needs being filled to cure the body of ills created by stress and anguish. It takes loving, caring and being loved and cared about in return!

Furthermore, while we’re on the subjects of happiness and the emotional effects of food, I also want to write a little bit about this also being National Sandwich Month. Sandwiches are super choices, whether for a meal or snack – especially in the summertime! They’re so versatile – from the bread to the fillings, even whether it’s served hot or cold or either way!

In honor of National Sandwich Month, here is a re-share Mom’s copycat version of Schlotzsky’s sandwich rolls, as usual, asking only for proper credit if you care to share it.

‘Having a goal gives us hope and it’s hope that keeps us going, enabling us each to meet whatever the world dishes out.’ – Gloria Pitzer [This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p.24)]

LAST THOUGHTS…

Mom penned her prayers, feelings, memories and hopes in journal-after-journal. She often wrote about finding happiness in every day we’re given on Earth. Mom truly believed that – good and bad, alike – everyday had some form of a blessing within it. That’s how Mom was raised, to be grateful everyday – not just for the joyful moments, but also for what she confronted and overcame or from which she learned.

My mom believed that life’s best lessons and experiences came out of life’s biggest disappointments, teaching us how to turn a “let-down” into a “set-up” for something else – maybe even something better – something out there, through the window that opened when the door was closed.

Mom also believed that every new day is a turning point and that each experience (again, good and bad, alike) eventually contributes in some way to our growth and happiness. She called it Mixed Blessings (which became the title of one of her books in 1984) and for those things she was always grateful.

IN CLOSING…

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

In honor of National Sandwich Month and TODAY, being National Cuban Sandwich Day, which is a Florida-based variation of a ham and cheese sandwich; here is Mom’s imitation of a Monte Cristo – Toronto-Style, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 185) [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

#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 this month’s observances include: National Dog Month, Family Fun Month, Get Ready For Kindergarten Month, International Peace Month, National Back to School Month, National Brownies at Brunch Month, National Catfish Month, National Crayon Collection Month, National Goat Cheese Month, National Golf Month, National Immunization Awareness Month , National Panini Month, National Water Quality Month, National Wellness Month, and Romance Awareness Month!

Yesterday began the last FULL week of August, which is… National Composites Week! The last week of the month is also… Be Kind to Humankind Week!

Other celebrations happening this week include:

Today is also… National Ride The Wind Day and National Sponge Cake Day!

Tomorrow, August 24th is… National Maryland Day, National Peach Pie Day, and National Waffle Day! In honor of the latter, here’s another re-share of Mom’s Waffle House imitation… [NOTE: National Waffle Week is coming soon too!]

Wednesday, August 25th is… National Park Service Founders Day, National Whiskey Sour Day, National Kiss and Make Up Day, National Secondhand Wardrobe Day, and National Banana Split Day!

Thursday, August 26th is… National Dog Day, National Women’s Equality Day, and National Cherry Popsicle Day!

Friday, August 27th is… National Pots De Creme Day and National Just Because Day!

August 28th is… National Thoughtful Day, National Red Wine Day, and National Cherry Turnovers Day!

August 29th is… National Chop Suey Day and National Lemon Juice Day!

#TGIM

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

…34 down and 18 to go!

 

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Laughter Is The Best Medicine

Happy Monday everybody! As always, I’m happy it’s Monday because it’s one of my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalTellAJokeDay

We’ve all heard the old adages, “Laughter is the best medicine…”, as well as “Laugh and the world laughs with you…”; well, in relation to August being Happiness Happens Month, today is also National Tell a Joke Day! Likewise, just as there are many health benefits to being happy, there are many health benefits to telling jokes and making others happy. Both of my parents loved to tell jokes and humorous stories.

I remember watching a lot of sitcoms and comedy/variety shows on television when I was growing up. Mom and Dad always picked the programs! Their favorite comedians included the classics, such as Milton Berle, George Burns, Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, Lucille Ball, Carol Burnett, Betty White, Johnny Carson, Dick Van Dyke, Don Knotts and the like. [On a side note: My dad’s mom is a Knotts (from West Virginia) and possibly a cousin to the famous comedian!]

Mom’s self-published cookbooks were very different than all the rest on the market – they stood out, not only for their crafty designs and lay-outs, but also because they were filled with food-for-thought and food-for-the-soul, as well as food-for-the-table ideas – all served up with a lot of clever humor on top!

Likewise, Mom wrote, illustrated and self-published a newsletter for 25 years (Jan. 1974 through Dec. 1998 – 219 issues in all), in the same patchwork-quilt-fashion. It began and ended as a monthly publication, but there were some years in between when she published it bi-monthly (doubling the size) and other years when it was published quarterly (quadrupling the monthly size).

Each issue of the newsletter was always stuffed full of witty and humorous stories about our family or Mom’s radio show visits all around North America, restaurant reviews, more food-for-thought and food-for-the-soul, as well as her wonderfully unique recipes. Mom would also write a little “Dear-friends-letter” (usually on the front page) about the goings-on of our lives, as she always thought of her readers as her friends too.

Even before the newsletter and books began, Mom first wrote and syndicated humorous columns under several different titles. She also illustrated amusing cartoon panels, which were called Full House as Kept by Gloria Pitzer. They were printed in The Richmond Review (Richmond, MI) for a few years, starting around early 1969.

Since they’re humor is so timeless, Mom reused many of her cartoons and witty columns in her newsletters and cookbooks that she, later, went on to develop. I often use them, myself, in my blog posts about her. Mom could see humor in almost anything. “They” say, in the comedy realm, that the best material comes from real life experiences! My mom had a way of taking our everyday life events and turning them into funny, exaggerated “fishing stories” and cartoon panels.

Below are some comedic examples from Mom’s cartoons, No Laughing Matter columns, and excerpts from some of her cookbooks. Regarding our family’s eating habits in the first story, keep in mind that Mom was a really good cook (despite her sarcastic humor, claiming otherwise) – so, of course, we were going to eat her out of house and home!

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in… No Laughing Matter

By Gloria Pitzer, The Recipe DetectiveTM

VITTEL STATISTICS – or How to Salvage Leftovers!

In order to prevent our kids from eating us right into bankruptcy, I’ve been, literally, forced to salvage food in the refrigerator by trying to camouflage it. Just last week, I made a banana look like a ballpoint pen and hid a stack of sliced cheese in an old stationary box. When our 15-year old discovered them in the refrigerator, I assured him it was for writing letters to those people who deserved a cold shoulder from me.

Several [readers] have written, asking me what I do with leftovers. I realize leftovers can be a problem but, in my case, I can hardly remember what they’re like. With five, fully-powered, automatic food disposals, walking around disguised as ‘Problem Eaters’, this house hasn’t seen a leftover in years. Leftovers are not my problem – having enough to go around the first time is!

I keep telling them, ‘Please! Eat like there IS a tomorrow!’ But they don’t listen. There was a time when I could have equated their appetites with a compliment to my cooking, but that was before I saw them eat [Kellogg’s] Pop Tarts© without removing the wrappers… They are problem eaters, alright; but the problem is they never stop eating!

There are some things they will avoid, like brown spots on an apple, as well as the core and the stem. Neither will they eat parsley flakes or dry minced onions. They also have an adversity for whatever might be good for them, like green vegetables; which means it’s perfectly safe for me to conceal Twinkies© in a box [from frozen] Brussel sprouts or Nabisco’s [Nilla] Wafers in a box that once contained prunes.

I’ve even hidden Christmas cookies so well that it wasn’t until we went to a 4th of July picnic that I discovered them in the cold drink thermos. I’ve hidden Oreos© in a tall, brown jar marked ‘NOT TO BE TAKEN INTERNALLY!’ I’ve tried to salvage enough of tonight’s pot roast to make tomorrow night’s stew, by wrapping it in a damp towel and trying to pass it off, on a lower shelf of the refrigerator, as my ironing.

When I discovered the three empty quart bottles that had, only moments before, contained ginger ale; it wasn’t difficult to expose the guilty person. It was the one [from whom], when he opened his mouth, I could hear the ocean roar!

I tried to frighten them away from what is loosely termed JUNK, like chips and doughnuts and pizza snacks; but they refuse to listen to how their teeth will rot and acne will make them unpopular.

Already, our 15-year old is supporting a 30-cents-a-day candy habit! [Note: In the early-to-mid 1970s, that was a LOT of candy!]

Just yesterday, in fact, I found the following reminder taped to the refrigerator: ‘Mom, we’re out of Pop Tarts again.’ I was very upset. The note had been written with the very last banana on the only slice of cheese!

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 4)

[LAUGHTER IS] STILL THE BEST MEDICINE –

YOU CAN’T SMILE ON THE OUTSIDE WITHOUT FEELING GOOD ON THE INSIDE!

When doctors told Norman Cousins that he had one chance in 500 to live, he remembered the old saying that ‘laughter [was] the best medicine’. Cousins then asked Allen Funt, producer of the TV show ‘Candid Camera’ to send him films of past ‘Candid Camera’ classics and a motion picture projector.

Cousins soon made the joyous discovery that ten minutes of genuine laughter would give him at least two hours of pain-free sleep. Cousins and his doctors made the startling discovery that laughter not only eased his pain, but also produced measurable changes in his body chemistry…

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Joy Of NOT Cooking Any More Than You Have To (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1983, p. 52)

THE PENTAGON RECIPE

[aka: Kindness Begets Kindness]

One of the reasons that I always liked President Ford, was that he seemed more like the rest of us – but with strong convictions on doing the right thing when he had to…

But his first televised press conference, after his inauguration, was the incident that led to my receiving a letter from President Ford and, later on, the recipe from the Pentagon.

When the President opened his press conference on television, he explained there had been a mix-up!. Betty Ford had scheduled her first press conference for the same day – and, naturally, one of them had to postpone theirs.  

So, the president explained that like any married couple, he and his wife sat down to discuss it logically, intelligently and sensibly, as to which one of them would postpone their conference. Betty’s conference, it was decided, would be held the following week; and, in the meantime, the President explained, he would be making his own breakfast, his own lunch, and his own dinner!.  

I fell off my chair, laughing, when he made that announcement; thinking how human, how normal, how great! But my fellow journalists, in their usual humorless vein, didn’t even chuckle. They thwarted questions at him and the joke went unappreciated by probably everyone but me!

So I sent President Ford the copy of the cookbook I had then published [September 1974] with a note of sympathy that, if he were going to be doing his own cooking, perhaps he could use some help. And this was the letter I received from him:

In the meantime, I had a lovely note from Betty Ford, saying how much she had enjoyed the copies of my newsletter that she had been loaned by one of the congressmen’s wives. I gave her a complimentary subscription until she and President Ford left the White House and asked, in return, if I could impose on her to impose on her husband to use his influence in the Pentagon to acquire a copy of the Creamed Chipped Beef On Toast recipe that was served at Langley AFB, in Virginia, in about 1951.

It was the only thing my husband, Paul, would eat in their mess hall! Within a week or so I received the recipe and a kind note from Betty Ford, wishing me luck in breaking it down from 380 servings to a reasonable portion! It was a challenge! But I did it and Paul still enjoys it!

Here’s a re-share of that recipe…

LAST THOUGHTS…

Humor quotes from some of Mom’s favorite personalities, as seen at BrainyQuote.com:

18th century, English poet, Charles Churchill said, “A joke is a very serious thing.”

Author, Erma Bombeck said, “When humor goes, there goes civilization.”

Celebrity, Bob Hope said, “I have seen what a laugh can do. It can transform almost unbearable tears into something bearable, even hopeful.”

Author, Allen Klein said, “You may not be able to change a situation, but with humor you can change your attitude about it.”

Comedian, Milton Berle said, “Laughter is an instant vacation.”

IN CLOSING…

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

#NationalBrowniesAtBrunchMonth

In honor of this still being National Brownies at Brunch Month, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Hopeless Brownie Mix; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 211). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

#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 August’s observances include: National Dog Month, Family Fun Month, Get Ready For Kindergarten Month, International Peace Month, National Back to School Month, National Catfish Month, National Crayon Collection Month, National Goat Cheese Month, National Golf Month, National Immunization Awareness Month, National Panini Month, National Sandwich MonthNational Water Quality Month, National Wellness Month, and Romance Awareness Month!

Additionally, this is… Elvis Week, which is always the week of August 16th!

Other celebrations this week include:

Today is also… National Roller Coaster Day and National Rum Day!

Tomorrow, August 17th is… National Nonprofit Day, National Massachusetts Day, and National Thrift Shop Day!

Wednesday, August 18th is… National Fajita Day, National Mail Order Catalog Day, National Ice Cream Pie Day, and National Pinot Noir Day!

Thursday, August 19th is… International Bow Day, National Soft Ice Cream Day, and National Potato Day!

Friday, August 20th is… National Radio Day and National Chocolate Pecan Pie Day!

August 21st is… National Spumoni Day, National Senior Citizens Day, and World Honey Bee Day – which is always the third Saturday in August!

Sunday, August 22nd is… National Be An Angel Day, National Bao Day, Never Bean Better Day, and National Pecan Torte Day! Additionally, as the last FULL week of August, it’s… National Composites Week! The last week of the month is also… Be Kind to Humankind Week!

#TGIM

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

…33 down and 19 to go!