Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Tell A Story Day

Happy Monday to all AND happy National Tell A Story Day! Also, #TGIM – I always look forward to every Monday because it is my #52Chances each year,  in which I have to share my memories of Mom!

Recently, I was thrilled to hear from a lady who used to have my mom on her radio show once a month for almost 13 years, from June 1992 through December 2005. Her name is Kathy Keene and she hosts “The Good Neighbor Show” on WHBY, in Appleton, WI. The show still airs from 11am to 1pm Central Time, Monday through Friday.

I really love hearing from people who knew Mom. Everyone has some kind of wonderful story to tell about how Mom touched their life in some way – through her “food-for-the-table” recipes, “food-for-thought” editorials and “food-for-the-soul” commentaries. Even her cartoon panels, “Full House – as kept by Gloria Pitzer”, were witty and entertaining. Mom was a very talented storyteller, illustrator and innovative recipe developer!

#NationalTellAStoryDay

Today, at 11:08am CDST/12:08pm EDST, I am going to be reminiscing about Mom, in an interview with Kathy, during the first hour of her show! You can listen to it live, from your computer or phone at: https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/. I never tire of telling Mom’s story and there is no more perfect day than today, since it’s National Tell A Story Day, to tell a story about her. Mom left such a wonderful legacy, as the “Secret Recipes Detective”, for all of us to continue enjoying for generations.

Kathy had asked me, in an email, if Mom had retired in 2005, after her last monthly visit on the “Good Neighbor” show. That’s probably what a lot of people have wondered over the years… “What ever happened to Gloria Pitzer, the Recipe DetectiveTM?”

As I wrote to Kathy, Mom never really FULLY retired in 2005. While Dad would have preferred that Mom had, she just couldn’t stop doing what she loved so much, so completely. Mom still did a couple of “special occasion” radio shows a year; until about 2014. She also did a few lectures, here and there, about her 3-to-5-ingredient, short-cut style of “copycat cookery” for some libraries and the “Good Sam” RV group, to which she and Dad belonged for many happy years.

Before Dad passed away, unexpectedly, at 84 years old, in October 2014; they were still promoting and selling 7 different recipe “bulletins” (2 pages of related recipes for popular “brands” such as Sanders, Bill Knapp, Bob Evans and others), for $1 each; a “Soup and Other Comfort Foods” folder (4 pages of related recipes), for $2 each and Mom’s “Mostly 4-Ingredients” cookbook, which was reprinted in June 2002, for $10 each – all of which included postage. In fact, I still have the bulletins, folder and a few boxes of that cookbook in my basement, which reminds me of something Mom wrote…

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. 54)

HOW TO SELL IT

YOU CAN WRITE THE BOOK. Get it published. Stack the books from floor to ceiling in your garage (or wherever). What do you do with them, then, once you have sold a few copies to the neighbors, your bowling league friends and some patronizing relatives who complement you with half-hearted assurances that you shouldn’t give up no matter what…

You plug along, in spite of the lack of interest from those you care the most about, those to whom you turn for a little pat on the back and moral support but find lukewarm receptivity to your project. You have to then know how and where and to whom you will sell your cookbook or newsletter, or you must find somebody who can do it for you, better than you can do it for yourself.

So far, in these nearly 20 years [1972 through 1989] that I have been sleuthing out the secrets of the food industry, I have not been able to find such a person. I have found, however, instead, a very wonderful outlet [in radio] for acquainting the public with what we are doing and this, in itself, was never deliberately planned. It was something that just happened – and like a beautiful idea usually does, it unfolded, step-by-step into one of the most extraordinary experiences [for which] I could have wished. 

In August 2008, my brother, Mike, who lives in California, had set Mom and Dad up with a website, TheRecipeDetective.com, from which to advertise their Secret RecipesTM offerings. It was a more up-to-date way for the public to be in touch with what Mom was doing. Since Mom and Dad knew nothing about technology, Mike managed and ran the website for 10 years, transferring the domain to me, the summer after our mom passed away, because I wanted to start writing this blog about her legacy as the “Recipe Detective” and I had asked Mike if I could put it on the website.

The winter after Dad had passed away, Mom wanted to revive her favorite cookbook, The Better Cookery Cookbook (first printed in 1982), hoping to reach out to a new generation of cooks and “cook-want-to-be’s” and, also, to create a new residual income, for herself. But she couldn’t physically do the self-publishing route that she and Dad had always done, together, for the preceding 40 years.

After decades of saying she would never let anyone else publish her works, Mom finally consented to letting another publisher do it. So, my brother, Mike, and I did some research on different publishers and finally chose Balboa Press; who were more than happy to republish Mom’s cookbook.

However, the name of the book had to be changed, per the publisher, because it too closely resembled the title of Betty Crocker’s cookbook. I tried to explain to the publisher that was the whole premise of the book – to “copycat”, like a parody – but they wouldn’t print it, otherwise. Thus, the title became Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook The Best of the Recipe Detective.

They couldn’t just reprint from one of our original copies, though. Because of eBooks and new technology equipment, I had to retype the entire book into Microsoft Word for Mom, reformatting it to fit the size of the new edition and scanning all of her illustrations to be placed in it, too. We ended up, leaving out most of her diet information section and a few other things that were no longer current or applicable.

It took me a couple of years to rewrite the book for Mom, as I was juggling a “paying job” and my many “non-paying” jobs at home and as her guardian, also. It went to print shortly before she passed away, in January 2018. Mom was so happy when she heard it was in print again. She told me that one of her favorite parts of her lifetime was that she was kind of famous for a little while and she was blessed to have met some really wonderful people because of it…

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. 3)

HOW IT ALL BEGAN – REMEMBERING, WITH LOVE

It is obvious…if you are familiar with [any] of my books…that traditional presentation is not important to me. It has nothing to do with concept and everything to do with the time in which I put a book together. Most of what I have written has been done like a patchwork quilt, pieced here and there; hardly in sequence and never in a thoroughly developed format that probably every writer worth their salt (or Mrs. Dash) would be apt to follow, in producing a book of their own.

Since the [very] first book, back in January 1973, I have not been able to stick to ‘the rules’ when writing, publishing or distributing a book. It was the first thing a publisher would mention to us when, a few years later, they wanted to take over our books and publish them for us. The comments would range from ‘making your books more sale-able’ to ‘changing the format somewhat’, which all meant redesigning what I had developed so that it no longer reflected ‘me’, but ‘them’.

Making our books more ‘sale-able’ was the biggest puzzle, considering that, in the beginning, these same publishers quickly rejected my work; and, after an appearance on the [Phil] Donahue Show in July 1981, over a million letters from Donahue viewers made our books probably THE MOST sale-able in the country – if not the world – in the shortest period of time.

So many things happened along the way that contributed to our success as a family enterprise; and, while [in my writings] I will touch on some of the highlights of these experiences, it won’t necessarily be in the order in which they took place. Recollections of how we developed our Secret RecipesTM and the unique circumstances under which this dining room table operation has endured, will surely never make the ‘Best Seller’ list and, perhaps, not even interest most critics, let alone the skeptics, who predicted that the public’s interest in my kind of recipes would not last long. Having been our only source of income since August 1976, I would say they made a mistake in judgement. 

Gloria Pitzer – 1978, St. Clair, MI

Early in the summer of 2015, Mom had survived a double stroke, complicated by a grand mall seizure. She had been showing signs of “sun-downers”, after her previous grand mall seizure in July 2014. As a result of the impact of the seizures and strokes, Mom developed dementia and I consequently became her legal guardian.

Mom’s love for writing and journaling became her saving grace in the rehabilitation and recovery process of her stroke and the subsequent dementia. Journaling didn’t really “improve” her memory, but it was always her outlet for peace and serenity. Thus, it helped her deal with the anxiety of not remembering recent events. She always told me that the up side was that she could remember her childhood through her early adulthood years like they had happened yesterday.

She moved into a “retirement village” that had on-sight nursing care. Although she tired easily, Mom was still fairly active until around Christmas 2017, especially if it involved going purse shopping at JC Penny’s or out to lunch at a restaurant. Mom passed away, peacefully, joining Dad, about 2 weeks after her 82nd birthday, in January 2018.

Paul & Gloria Pitzer – 2012, Niagara Falls, Ontario

Unfortunately, I am not the sales person that Mom was. She was very creative as to how she got the word out about whatever she was doing. Mom’s favorite cookbook may have been rewritten and republished, with boxes of copies piled up in my basement, but they don’t sell themselves. I can’t afford to pay someone or some company to sell them, thus, this promoting-and-selling thing is a slow learning process for me. Like Mom, I LOVE to write! But promoting and selling is a whole other ball game!

Likewise, I don’t know how well I will do today, speaking in a radio interview, since this will be my first time. Mom was a natural conversationalist. She loved doing radio shows. While she had some really great experiences on TV, radio was always her favorite. She felt at home there. Well, in essence, she really was at home during most of her radio interviews. But, as Kathy reminded me, when I expressed my apprehension, it’s like sitting down for a cup of coffee and conversation with friends!

IN CLOSING…

The following recipes were not among Mom’s “free sample” offerings, nor were they in her “Original 200” collection. But, in honor of today, also being National Prime Rib Day, I wanted to offer you a copy of Mom’s “go-to” Prime Rib recipes from her self-published cookbook, Make Alike Recipes, (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1991, p. 83) – this book is no longer in print, but you may find used copies on Amazon and eBay.

#NationalPrimeRibDay

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

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

REMINDER: NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world…

…17 down, 35 to go!

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

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Quarantine Effect

Happy Monday to all! Whether you’re quarantined, staying home and staying safe, or working the “front-line”, I urge you to make the most of your Monday! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year to share memories of my mom with all of you – #TGIM!

Staying fit and staying healthy, while staying home and staying safe, has become a recent focus for many who are beginning to see, what I’m calling, #TheQuarantineEffect; which is a weight-gaining side effect from the stay-at-home orders being followed nationwide – even worldwide. That’s why the hashtag, #Quarantine15, is on the rise.

The “Quarantine 15” effect began trending around mid-March, as people started “Tweeting” stories about their weight gain, during all of the “stay home, stay safe” orders; from their mindless, couch-potato-binging to anxiety and stress related munching. The weight gain was commonly compared to the “Freshman 15”; which is the average weight students usually gain during their first year at college and away from home. It’s generally due to their on-the-go-eating routines of ready-to-eat fast food and junk food products.

Over-eating is a common response to stress and anxiety! Historically, food has usually been a comfort source for most people, especially when they experience fear and worry. Besides hoarding toilet paper and cleaning products, many Americans have been stock piling snacks and junk food to enjoy while stuck at home. However, that allotment, which would ordinarily last a household a month, is now disappearing within a week or two!

There are so many articles and videos to be found on the internet about healthy eating and cooking, wise food choices and home exercise routines, from which we can derive all kinds of inspiration. While our lives have taken a sudden detour and changed our sense of normalcy, we must all remember that it’s only temporary. Some of us may see these self-quarantine orders go on for months, or even into next year, but it’s still only temporary.

https://www.marcandangel.com/2015/02/25/7-ways-to-stay-strong-when-everything-goes-wrong/

While looking for inspiration for myself, recently, I found “How to not Gain Weight During the Coronavirus Lockdown”, written by Doree Lewak (NYPost.com; March 17, 2020), which gives some great advice on how to “stop the Open Mouth, Insert Food stress-snacking cycle”! I wish I had read it a month and 10 pounds ago. However, as the old adage goes, “better late than never!”

‘Nothing worthwhile comes easily. Half effort does not produce half results. It produces no results! Work, continuous work and hard work, is the only way to accomplish results that last.’ – Hamilton Holt

MY “DIET” UPDATE

Mom and I have, both, struggled with “yo-yo weight” for most of our lives. One diet after another left us wondering why they seemed to work for other people, but not for us! Unfortunately, our mindsets (as with so many others) were to only diet until we got to our desired goals. There was never really any long-term plan for after that, other than to buy new clothes – or get out the “old size” clothes from previous diets, of which we never entirely disposed.

Once at our goal, we’d slowly forget about the discipline that got us there and start allowing ourselves to slack a little bit. One food “reward” here, another there and before we knew it, we’d fall back into our old habits; regaining what we had lost and then some, as we further sabotaged ourselves with our own excuses for failure.

Nevertheless, we did find a diet that helped us – when we worked it – Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution by Robert C. Atkins, M.D. (Bantam Books; Oct. 1981). We discovered, from Dr. Atkins’ book, that we have a carbohydrate intolerance. Dr. Atkins’ Diet Revolution is not a quick “weigh-fix” solution. It’s actually a low-carb lifestyle commitment. Thus, it only works if you work it, and only for as long as you work it! Truth be told, though, neither of us made the lifetime commitment to it previously.

However, about 13 months ago, on the first day of Spring 2019, I embraced the low-carb lifestyle with commitment; eventually, limiting my carb-intake to 25 grams a day, max. My goal was to lose 50 pounds AND maintain it! Being hypoglycemic, borderline diabetic and 55 pounds overweight, at the time, I felt 20 years older than I should have felt. That’s why I finally decided to make the lifestyle change commitment, much like I did when I quit smoking cigarettes almost 14 years ago.

I realized that I was only cheating myself whenever I made bad choices on what I ate and/or how much I ate for meals and snacks. After all, I was the one who was freely buying, preparing and consuming the food. There was no one to blame but myself. So, I came to terms with the release of my carb-addiction, in much the same way as I released tobacco from my lifestyle – based on the book, The Easy Way To Stop Smoking, by Allen Carr (Sterling Publishing Company, NY, NY; Sept. 2004).

I had to mentally accept that this was going to be a permanent change for me – a lifestyle – not just until I reached my weight loss goal. I did reach my weight-loss goal and I know, if I ever go back to my old lifestyle, I will also go back to my old weight. So, I try to continue to make wise choices in what I consume. However, with all the fall-out from the pandemic, stress is up, and I stopped watching HOW MUCH I ate. While I was still making low-carb choices, every little bit added up!  “Everything in moderation” is the best rule by which to live, but it’s easier said than done these days.

I made it through the holidays and winter without the weight gain I would usually procure. But, recently, with the stress and anxiety over the Covid-19 pandemic, I stopped counting my carbs and gained back 10 pounds, thus far, in the past month. The wildfire-like spread of this virus, around the world, and the resulting quarantines, health threats, business closures, job losses, and so much more is a lot for anybody to handle.

My mom was the first to develop homemade, make-alike versions of fast food and junk food products. The great thing about Mom’s recipes, at least with most of them, is that they can be tailored to many different diet restrictions. I’ve been putting my own low-carb adjustments on Mom’s (and others’) recipes for the past year, with some success; sharing a few of them within my blog posts.

‘You’ll be amazed at the number of recipes you can duplicate in your own kitchen – and those you can, at least, come close to imitating – with far more success than the advertising people give us credit!’ – Gloria Pitzer

Treats like Awrey’s and Hostess’ famous cookies and cakes, to name a couple, were among Mom’s “Original 200” recipes collection, in the 1970s, which she printed on index cards and sold through the mail for 25-cents each. Mom also printed her growing and evolving make-alike-recipe collections in her hundreds of newsletters and over 40 subsequent books. She finally had to retire, due to health reasons, after more than 40 years of being the Recipe DetectiveTM.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Second Helping of Secret Recipes (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1977, p. 1-2)

DE-BUNKING THE JUNK!

What is the truth about junk food? The food experts have been referring to many snack foods and fast foods as ‘junk’ in an attempt to disqualify their value when compared to foods containing high amounts of protein and vitamins.

No one has confirmed a definition of the expression ‘junk food’, yet the public has been conditioned to accept any snack food, sweets, candies, confections, baked goods and many beverages as ‘junk food’ when, in reality, these are not without nutritional value.

All by itself, a raw carrot could hardly support the human system substantially; neither could a cup of yogurt. Yet, a candy bar or a small piece of cake or a hamburger on a bun is considered, by some of the food industry’s most prestigious experts, as having little or no food value in our daily diets.

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

The junk food paradox has caused school systems and other public institutions to ban the sale of any foods we would consider snack items, making it illegal, in fact, in the state of Michigan and some others, if such items were sold to children through vending machines on the premises.

This is infuriating to the good cooks and… food chemists among us, who know that JUNK FOOD is actually any food that is poorly prepared. ALL food has nutritional value. Some just seem to have more than others. But, in the final analysis, it is purely personal taste that will determine the popularity of one food over another.

The ‘fast food’ industry has been the most successful of any phase in the business. Their success depending largely on the fact that their recipes are all closely guarded secrets! I say, ‘baloney!’

As a very believing public, we have been spoon-fed a good deal of shrewd publicity by some very skilled… advertising people, who count on our susceptibility to commercial advertising campaigns to buy their products. Whether we’re buying a hamburger in one of McDonald’s restaurants… or a ‘Twinkie’ off of the grocer’s shelf, we still believe that these products can’t be equaled by any other company in the industry, nor by the average cook in a standard, home kitchen… AND this is wrong!

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, January 2018; p. 283)

If your choices, now, include things you eat without really enjoying them, you can begin to exercise, instead of your “will” power, your “won’t” power – and refuse to keep on eating what is not good for you and what you don’t really need, replacing it with something you do enjoy and that will benefit you in nourishment, either emotionally or physically.

The WON’T power exercise for me meant no bread, no potatoes, no pastries, no gravy, no grains or other starches. It worked beautifully. For you, it might not be satisfactory. So, you can choose another course of action. I merely wish to share my experience with you because it worked for me…

What works for one person, may not work for another; but sharing the secrets of a weight loss diet that works, is too good to ignore. Even if you, personally, are not interested in losing 10 pounds, you probably know someone who is! The diet industry pulls in millions and millions of dollars every year, developing new gimmicks, pills, plans, menus, clubs and published materials about losing weight. I have tried them all in my adult life – and never with success! So, I finally developed my own diet… [Based, largely, on the low-carb diet developed by Dr. Atkins.]

… It’s not really a diet, but a new pattern of eating that can, if I wish, serve me all my life. The best way to learn any new pattern of behavior – whether it is eating or dancing or jogging or working – is to break it down into small manageable parts and work through them step-by-step! This is not a diet to be used, discarded and taken up again. It is a way of life at the table. It is a new attitude towards food…

#PineappleUpsideDownCakeDay

In honor of today being National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day, here is a recipe for Pineapple Upside Down Cake that Mom made for years; as found on page 97 of her self-published book (no longer in print), The Best of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Feb. 1990, 11th Printing).

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

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

REMINDER: NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world…

…16 down, 36 to go!

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

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Working From Home

Happy Monday to all! #TGIM – every week, I long for each Monday to arrive, as they are my #52Chances per year to share my “Memories of My Mom”!

For years, breakfast has received a lot of attention, as it has been considered by many health professionals to be “the most important meal of the day”. However, as families’ schedules got busier and more hectic, they started enjoying more and more “quick” breakfasts on-the-go.

Thus, dinner – the EOD (end-of-day) meal – became the most important meal for many families because that’s when they, all, could usually get together. I remember, when my siblings and I were growing up, Mom always made a big deal out of dinnertime for our family. That was usually when we would all get to discuss our day’s activities and events and make plans for the next day or the coming weekend.

Dinner at the Pitzer’s

What about the under-praised lunch break? That thing we sometimes get, somewhere amidst the events of our workday. It’s the time we take to replenish ourselves, if we’re lucky. Sometimes it’s a rushed, 10-minute protein bar occasion or a brown-bagged, eat-while-you-work sandwich. Sometimes employees, who are extremely busy with their workday, don’t even realize they’ve missed their “break” entirely until it’s hours past due.

#NationalMakeLunchCount 

Today is National Make Lunch Count DayNationalDayCalendar.com accredits TGI Fridays – a popular, countrywide, restaurant chain – for this national celebration. TGI Fridays created a study, four or five years ago, through which they found that the majority of the American workers they studied suffered from what they considered “FOLO” (aka: Fear Of Lunching Out). They observed that many office employees “eat lunch at their desk at least twice a week (73%) while one-third have lunch at their desk every day of the week.”

However, as this was probably written before the pandemic and “Stay-At-Home” orders, they went on to say – most likely, in order to promote eating out, such as at one of their restaurants – “Don’t fear lunching out any longer!” Of course, we can’t do that now, in our current atypical norm of physical distancing and no-contact food deliveries or curbside pick-ups due to the highly contagious Covid-19 virus that has overwhelmed the whole world.

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

TGI Fridays suggests that taking a break AWAY from the workday improves productivity. But now, most of those Michiganders who can are working from home and staying at home as much as possible, following “Stay Home, Stay Safe” orders. We can still include taking an actual lunch break during our workday by LEAVING our home office or work area for at least 20-30 minutes. Step away from it all in order to refuel and refresh – body, mind and soul. Both, our brains and our bodies, need to have a few physical breaks throughout our workdays. You’ll find it improves your focus, creativity and productivity.

NationalDayCalendar.com asks us to share our creative ways to “Make Lunch Count” today and any day! Promote your ideas on social media, using #NationalMakeLunchCount.

Since today is National Make Lunch Count Day, make it a point, especially today, to not only not skip lunch but to also focus on enjoying every minute of it! Stop what you’re doing and step away for a little while – take a BREAK to really appreciate your lunch and all it has to offer you – body, mind and soul. Make yourself a “Chef’s Salad” or “Dagwood-Style Sandwich” – anything – but take the time to enjoy the making of it, as well as the consumption of it!

#DoingMIPart

Since we’re still staying home and staying safe, get creative with how to “eat out at home”! Mom was a big inspiration for how to make our favorite fast food and junk food choices at home. If the weather is nice, have a picnic in your yard, or dress your dining room up to “feel” like your favorite restaurant and copycat your favorite dish from there. Anything to get away from the workday, for a little while at least.

Pitzer’s St. Clair House, 1978

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. 65-66)

WORKING FROM HOME: A DAY IN THE LIFE OF THE RECIPE DETECTIVETM

AN ORDINARY DAY for us begins at 6:30 AM. Even though, I may have had a midnight or middle of the night radio show to do, the alarm still goes off at the crack of dawn. I realized some time ago that I could not roll out of bed and go directly to the stove to make the coffee and scramble the eggs and then, upon cleaning up after all of that, still go directly to my drawing board and my IBM composer for the rest of a long day.

I COULD but I would not have had a good attitude. So, Paul and I go, instead, to the restaurant in the mall downtown and let THEM make the coffee and scramble the eggs for us. Then we stop by the post office and pick up the mail and, by the time we are back home, I feel like a normal working person who leaves the house every morning to go to their office.

#NationalMakeLunchCount

Depending on how swamped we are with mail and subscriber contacts, book orders and government papers to be filled out and filed, we will try to take a break around noon for either a sandwich at our desks or, better yet, will run down the street to the Burger King for an orange juice and fish sandwich or over to The Voyageur [restaurant] for half of a ‘Captain’s Salad’ or a croissant special and a view of the St. Clair River, with freighters passing up and down stream that we can feel truly inspired and refreshed when we leave there. A break like that will renew our creative energies and also give us a chance to ‘visit’ with each other – a practice that few married couples really seem to enjoy much anymore – if they ever did at all.

These breaking off periods of getting away from the house and our office within, look to others, I suppose, as if we really aren’t that busy that we can frequent the local restaurants as much as we do. What they don’t see, however, is the kitchen where, for three or four solid hours, I was testing and trying to develop a particular recipe – making it perhaps three or four times before either giving up on it or feeling victorious and happy to print it in the next newsletter.

We take a lot of kidding about how often I am seen pushing a cart in the local supermarket and how often I am seen ‘eating out’ that you’d ever guess I cooked at all. It is, because I try to maintain and encourage a happy balance between the recipe testing and our normal life with friends and family, that we have never found the enterprise in which we are engaged, a burden to us. So many people we know do nothing but complain about their jobs, their work and regret. My cup runneth over and over and over! I WOULDN’T GIVE IT UP FOR THE WORLD!

By five or six o’clock in the evening, we’re ready for another break; and, in between, I have probably talked to two or three radio stations, answering questions for their listeners as they call into the station; which, by the miracle of telephone, puts us in touch with each other as if the host, the listener and I were all in the same room!

The radio visits that began with [our] good friend, Bob Allison, and his very successful show [‘Ask Your Neighbor’], with nearly 30 years, opened so many interesting and helpful doors for us. All of the other radio stations since, with whom I work, became a part of our schedule after years of providing listeners with the right information, with entertaining ideas and friendship and concern for their needs.

Sometimes I have received calls from hosts of radio shows who heard me on another station than their own and asked to set up an hour with them. Some of the programs run two hours. Many of them only use 15 minutes in which to discuss a healthy menu on the latest restaurant dish to imitate at home. No two radio shows are ever exactly alike, yet in one respect they are all incredibly enthusiastic and inquisitive…

Photo by Susan L. Tusa for an article about Mom in People Magazine (May 7, 1990; p. 81)

I know I’m doing something important… But I’ve had my moments of despair, when I’ve felt, ‘What am I doing?’ – Gloria Pitzer

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 119)

IN MY KITCHEN, where all of these famous recipes are developed and tested and prepared for publishing, I have one significant problem. The ‘Good Hands People’ are about to declare my kitchen an accident going someplace to happen! My sense of organization is not what Heloise would enthusiastically endorse. So, even when my cup runneth over and over and over, I can’t always find my mop!

It is with appreciation that, in spite of my lack of organization, Mary Ellen Pinkham, the famous household hints author, took an interest in our recipes just recently. I really should get together with Mary Ellen and learn exactly how to become better organized but, somehow, time keeps getting away from me.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

I am either in the kitchen, cooking up something for the next book [or] the next issue of the newsletter; or I’m writing about what I’ve been cooking – with time in between to do two, sometimes three, radio shows a day, on a regular basis, running anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours. No two shows are ever alike – with the exception of the [wonderful] hospitality and warm response from the listeners.

I have had very few unhappy experiences on the air… Some of the highlights of these radio broadcasts will probably remind you of the first time you heard of me, through one of these shows, for this is where most of our family of readers have come and they continue to listen with as much enthusiasm and as many challenges [for me to decipher] today as they did the day I spoke to my first radio audience and became affectionately dubbed by them ‘The Recipe Detective’. I thank them!

#NationalPecanDay

In honor of National Pecan Day, which is tomorrow, here is another favorite fan-choice of Mom’s “Original 200” copycat recipes…

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

#NationalGardeningDay

Tomorrow is National Gardening Day! So, if you haven’t gotten out in the garden since my blog post last week – regarding #LawnAndGardenMonth , #NationalGardenMonth and #KeepAmericaBeautifulMonth – tomorrow is still as good a time as ever!

After all, April showers bring May flowers – but, first, you have to get the soil ready before you can even plant the seeds. That is, if you’re lucky enough to have the seeds before they were deemed “non-essential” (in Michigan) and banned from being sold, which I don’t understand! How can seeds, which are the source of most foods AND medicinal herbs, be “non-essential”? I’m glad I already have seeds and bulbs from our last planting season!

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

REMINDER: NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world…

…15 down, 37 to go!

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective is available for sale, at $20.99 each, through the publisher, Balboa Press, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062252; it’s also available in eBook form, for $3.99, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Home Is Where Our Health Is

Happy Monday and happy April to one and all! #TGIM – I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year to share my memories of Mom!

“Home is where the heart is…” – a very old proverb, which was originally attributed to “Pliny the Elder” (A.D. 23-79). The proverb has many interpretations. For so many people, “home” is not necessarily a structure but, rather, wherever we are, as long as we’re with our loved ones. “Home-sweet-home” memories are deeply ingrained in many of our hearts, like a Norman Rockwell painting.

It’s nearly impossible to forget whatever our individual interpretations of “home” is in our lives. However, nowadays, that proverb is taking on a whole new meaning and interpretation, as Michigan, like many other states, is under a “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order; meaning we should all stay home, only going out for ESSENTIAL things, like food and medicine. As we try to flatten this pandemic curve, it’s becoming more and more like “Home is where our health is!” Additionally, many are now learning more and more about “DIY” and self-sufficiency skills.

#StayHome

Still, so many people just aren’t adhering to the “Stay Home, Stay Safe” order that many of us are under because they are more concerned about their constitutional rights being infringed upon than the health and welfare of their families, neighbors, communities and other surrounding communities as well. To those I say, “GET OVER IT!” Just bite the bullet and do what NEEDS to be done. It’s only for a little while, IF WE ALL PARTICIPATE! “This, too, shall pass!” Remember, everything in life is temporary – including life, itself.

Shout out, one more time, to MarcAndAngel.com, for their uplifting article, “7 Ways To Stay Strong When Everything Goes Wrong”. It’s five years old but timeless, as it really applies to the current, challenging days that we’re all facing. I found this passage particularly inspiring:

Remind yourself that everything in life is temporary. Every time it rains, it stops raining.  Every time you get hurt; you heal.  After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning… So if things are good right now, enjoy it.  It won’t last forever.  If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either.  Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh.  Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile.  Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending.  You get a second chance, every second.  You just have to take it and make the best of it.”

For the last few weeks of March, at the end of my blog posts, I’ve been promoting getting a jump-start on two of April’s national month-long observances, #NationalMonthOfHope & #StressAwarenessMonth because, more than ever, as NationalDayCalendar.com says, regarding stress awareness, “we are all challenged to keep our stress levels low, and our peace levels high.”

#LawnAndGardenMonth 

#NationalGardenMonth 

The month of April is also celebrating national observances for lawns, gardens and landscapes – among other things! Gardening can be very therapeutic if you’re feeling stressed out and/or cooped up. With extra time on our hands these days, my husband and I are able to dedicate more time than usual to our annual outdoor spring cleanup and garden bed prepping duties.

Besides the fresh air and sunshine being a great mood-lifter, I find gardening to be a great stress reliever, as well as a wonderful low-impact exercise. As I mentioned in a recent blog post, our new norm has many people wanting to learn more about homesteading, self-sufficiency and growing their own groceries. I wrote a blog post called “Grow & Make Your Own Groceries” in March of 2019. It’s a great subject to revisit!

In their off-season, I re-purpose my Christmas deer lawn ornaments as trellises in my vegetable garden! They’re great for various vining plants like cucumbers and squash AND I don’t have to worry about storing them.

20 Everyday Activities and the Calories They Burn by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd. (as seen on HowStuffWorks.com)  claims that pushing the lawn mower for 1 hour can burn 324 calories; plus, spending 30 minutes raking up the clippings will burn another 171 calories.

#KeepAmericaBeautifulMonth

That article also suggests that picking up yard-waste can, ironically, reduce your waist size; advocating that 4 hours of hard work, cleaning up the yard, burns about 1,800 calories! That’s 450 calories per hour! Additionally, 2 hours of gardening burns about 648 calories or more, depending on the specific activity involved. The added perk is growing your own healthy herbs, fruits and vegetables at a much lower cost than going to the grocery store. Now is the season to start your gardening!

I’ve mentioned before that one of my personal favorites of Mom’s self-published cookbooks is The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979) – aka: “Book 5”. The cookbook is no longer in print, but I have seen some used copies on, both, eBay and Amazon. When I was a young mother and struggling to make ends meet, money was tight, and the pantry was often close to bare! Much like now, due to the food (and money) shortages going on during this pandemic.

Mom’s “Homemade Groceriescookbook was always my go-to-source AND still is! It teaches me how to make a lot of my favorite grocery products at home; as well as, how to stretch or extend other products, saving me quite a bit of money on my monthly grocery expenses for a family of five!

First 5 books of the Secret Recipes Collection

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. 12)

WHAT’S VALUABLE – THE FAMILY

THE FAMILY IS IMPORTANT to this troubled world that seems not to know what direction to go in for comfort and relief. So, I cater, in our publications, mostly to this family, with all of the old-fashioned values I can gather and still not sound corny or even ‘preachy’!

That for which I am most grateful, however, as I see how our family has worked together in helping us to build this dining room table enterprise into a substantial and professional operation, is the friendship that has grown over the years between [Paul, me and] the five children…my cup runneth over!

There’s a renewed movement to make a lot of things at home. Not only can we control the ingredients for a particular diet/lifestyle that way but, also, save money too! That is, basically, what inspired Mom to write that particular cookbook in the first place. Back in 1979, a lot of people were getting concerned, and rightly so, with all the additives that are put into our convenient, shelf-stable, grocery products. Furthermore, we can usually save money, making it ourselves – as long as we don’t add the value of our time into the equation!

The “work” of homemakers and the value of their time is often taken for granted by their families. However, the services they provide could earn a substantial salary in the open market – chef, maid/housekeeper, laundress, nanny, teacher, chauffeur, personal shopper, secretary, counselor, nurse, groundskeeper and gardener. In addition to these skills, homemakers also contribute a lot more to the home and family of which no amount of money can fill the needs.

According to Porcshe Moran, in her enlightening article, “How Much is a Stay-At-Home Parent Worth?”, a homemaker [aka: stay-at-home-parent] could earn an annual salary of about $178,201, according to 2019 data she obtained from Salary.com. The following picture shows the data I obtained through Salary.com and Indeed.com regarding the average salaries paid, in Michigan, for the above-mentioned homemaker skills.

Once upon a time, a very long time ago, there weren’t readily available services for chefs, maids, laundresses, nannies, teachers, chauffeurs, personal shoppers, secretaries, counselors, nurses, groundskeepers and gardeners – people did for themselves. About the only food things that were usually purchased at the “General Store”, for the homestead kitchen, were the “staples” that most people couldn’t make, themselves; such as flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, cornstarch, etc. Most homesteaders were self-sufficient in, at least, the basic things to survive.

If we didn’t catch it or kill it, ourselves, fish was purchased at the fish market; while foul, farm and other meats were bought at the butcher shop. Likewise, if we didn’t have our own cow or goat to milk or hens from which to gather eggs, fresh dairy products were usually delivered to our homes by the local creamery. Additionally, since we can’t all be bakers, fresh baked goods could be procured at the local bakery. Similarly, if we couldn’t grow our own, we went to the farmer’s market for fresh herbs, fruits and vegetables.

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979, p. 1)

Many people feel that life is uphill all the way. They fail to look at the things that are good, enjoyable and worthwhile. They are conscience only of the climb. No road is ever uphill forever! We should soon learn the importance of being able to also come downhill without fear and be able to notice the scenery along the road, too.

Going through life without noticing the scenery and trying to see some of the beauty that is there – waiting to be recognized – reminds me of running ‘helter-skelter’, up and down the supermarket aisles, without seeing the ABUNDANCE that is there. Just take a moment to look at the heart-breaking plight of starving people in many parts of the world and, then, take a good look at the aisles and aisles of food available in this country! [Written in 1979.]

We have so much available to us here…many people fill their backyards each spring with flowers and shrubs, when they could easily plant food-seeds instead, thus cutting something off that weekly grocery bill!

‘The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.’Aldous L. Huxley, English Writer and Philosopher (b. 1894, d. 1963)

What happened to us, as a society? We’ve become a too-busy-with-other-things, instant-gratification-and-convenience-overloaded culture! About half a century ago, we evolved into times when both parents, in a family unit, had to work to make ends meet. The value of time changed dramatically, especially for the homemaker. Self-sufficiency and homesteading became a dying skill among many of the newer generations, who’ve opted to spend their time differently in exchange for conveniences – even to the extent of wanting more and more convenient food products.

Too many families are struggling to survive, right now; and it’s predicted to get worse before it gets better. Before this pandemic, there wasn’t enough time for a lot of people to make things from scratch, as they chose to spend their time on other things. We opened the door for convenient, processed foods in order to save us some time (instead of money), as time suddenly became a more valuable commodity. We still have about 16-18 “waking hours” in our days, every day. At some point, we just started prioritizing them differently – and now we must do it all over again, given our new norms these days.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

‘Any change, even change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.’Arnold Bennett, English Novelist (b.1867, d.1931)

The ‘high demand’,overhead costs’ and ‘expected profits’ that are added to the prices of ‘convenience’ food products are what kill us at the grocery store check-outs! The lack of real nutrition that’s missing from these manufactured goods are not benefiting our health any either. They’re loaded with unnatural shelf-life stabilizers, none of which are found in homemade groceries, where YOU control the ingredients!

Most of Mom’s cookbooks focused on imitating fast food, junk food and restaurant dishes at home – except for “Book 5”, which deals exclusively with homemade grocery products and “extenders”. This exceptional cookbook includes some principles of canning and freezing foods, as well as making your own mixes, sauces and seasonings at a great financial savings compared to buying them at the store! Although, sometimes, we just can’t financially or physically afford convenience. The concept of homemade was hugely popular once and is, now, making another comeback.

#NationalBeerDay

In honor of National Beer Day, which is tomorrow, the following beer cake recipe was quite a popular choice from among Mom’s “Original 200” recipes.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

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

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

REMINDER: NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world…

…14 down, 38 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Radio and the Recipe Detective

Happy Monday! #TGIM – I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances to share my memories of Mom!

In many of my blog entries, when I’ve discussed Mom’s relationship with radio, I have often mentioned one man in particular – Bob Allison. His radio call-in program, “Ask Your Neighbor”, really helped Mom to launch and grow her recipes, cookbooks and newsletter. Last week, I was so saddened to learn that Bob Allison passed away on March 25th.  He will be greatly missed!

Over the decades, Mom and Bob became great friends through his radio show. She wrote about him and his “Ask Your Neighbor” program often in her cookbooks and newsletter issues. He, likewise, promoted her copycat recipes on his show and in his own newsletters too. You can still see Mom’s “free recipes & information” sheets, today, on the AskYourNeighbor.com website at: http://www.askyourneighbor.com/glo.htm

Radio became a solid cornerstone in the foundation of Mom’s building of what she often and lovingly referred to as a cottage enterprise, a dining room table operation and a family business. When it came to promoting her work through radio shows, Bob Allison was the first radio host to offer Mom that opportunity. In fact, as I’ve also mentioned in other blog entries, it was Bob’s “Ask Your Neighbor” audience of listeners who first dubbed Mom the “Recipe Detective” – a name she loved to live up to and, later, trademarked.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES

Excerpts written by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pages 54-57)

RADIO AND BOB ALLISON’s ‘ASK YOUR NEIGHBORS!’ SHOW

RADIO turned out to be the most appropriate way by which we made people aware of what we were doing. Again, my involvement with the wonderful world of radio actually came about without any specific intention of becoming a regular part of the broadcasting field.

For one thing, I didn’t know I had what is considered a ‘radio voice’. I had never heard my own voice, at least, recorded. Heaven knows, our five kids will, to this day, even in their adulthood, testify to the fact that, on occasion, during their upbringing, I have 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] nearly 30-year-running ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show. [Feb. 5, 1963] 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 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. To this day [December 1989], almost every Monday morning, I visit with Bob Allison and his neighbors, now [in 1989] heard weekdays at 10 AM (EST) over WEXL-radio (Royal Oak/Detroit, Michigan), 1340 on your AM dial.

Summer 1969 – Cheryl (Loli), Mom, me & Debi – Algonac, MI

When ‘My True Story’ was replaced by Bob Allison and his ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show, weekday mornings, I was, at first, very disappointed. [Recipes,] 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 two or three 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 could not find the answers 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 then phone in an answer that I occasionally had in reply to one of their questions or recipe requests.

Gloria Pitzer, mimeographing in her early years as the Recipe Detective [TM]

Bob did not recognize my voice as a regular caller until I had initiated the newsletter [1974], however. He asked me where the recipe came from that I was giving in reply to one of his listeners requests, which is how his program has always worked. Nobody simply calls in a recipe because they like it. They must, first, be replying to a request made by another caller and, secondly, must have personally tried the recipe.

On rare occasions, Bob will accept a recipe that is NOT tried by the caller, providing it comes from a truly reliable source or has been asked for and not answered for a long time. They also cover services that people are looking for or products that they cannot locate. This is what has always made Bob Allison’s format so unique, when compared to others like it on the air.

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 too 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 perspective subscribers. To this day, we still use the same procedure and it has worked very well. We offer, for a self-addressed stamped envelope, 12-15 sample recipes and, on the other side of the page, all the [ordering] information on our books and newsletter.

The ‘information sheet’…also tells exactly what each costs, including the postage and handling, and has a clear illustration of what the covers of the books are like with an explanation of what each contains. We also have always given a description of the newsletter, which now [1989] comes out every other month.

ADVERTISING WITH BOB Allison’s ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ radio show, which we later came to do, brought us the kind of audience that made all of the work worthwhile. We had only developed one book at that time. The [ad] spots we bought on his show were quite expensive for our limited budget, but the results were so rewarding that we later even increased the number of spots we took.

As a semi-modernized, yet, somewhat-old-fashioned housewife-turned-homemaker, during the 1970s, amidst the Women’s Lib movement; Mom truly felt extremely blessed to be able to do what she loved most, writing; and be able to do it from home while balancing her many hats as “Mom” and “Wife” and what all those “titles” entailed for her. In those days, as well as being a writer, Mom was also the creator, illustrator, publisher and promoter for her copycat recipes, cookbooks and newsletter. As a family, we all pitched in and helped whenever and wherever needed.

During these unprecedented days of staying home and staying safe, more and more people are now working from home, if they can, and staying out of the public as much as possible. Meanwhile, maintaining social distancing when we have to go out is a must! There has been a substantial increase in the number of people, most of whom are not considered “essential workers”, applying for unemployment because the “non-essential” businesses for which they worked have been forced to close temporarily.

Likewise, there has also been an increase in the number of home-based businesses popping up on “the web”, as those with brick-and-mortar stores that are not considered “essential” to the public’s basic needs were forced to close their doors for a while. They’ve been forced to find other platforms from which to do business so that they can continue to pay their bills. Mom always believed that “whenever a door closes, the good Lord always opens a window.”

Today, as we are forced to shut our doors to the pandemic, trying to flatten the curve, that “window of opportunity” is the world wide web! We are so fortunate to have the internet so readily available to all of us, especially now! I’d, personally, like to give a shout out to Al Gore [@algore] – Thank you for all you did in getting the “Information Superhighway” out to the public! We are blessed!

#NationalTaterDay

In honor of National Tater Day tomorrow, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Au Gratin potatoes, like Bill Knapps used to serve. Another version Mom developed can be found in her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018) on page 137; along with the following passage.

This is a unique side dish offered at the Midwestern restaurant chain that was one of our family’s favorites, having originated in Battle Creek, Michigan in 1948. Every selection on their menu was a masterpiece and at very reasonable prices. But, I am absolutely in love with their potato side dish. At home, I attempt to duplicate it this way… [and this truly has been one of our family’s favorites for decades!]

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

#NationalMonthOfHope & #StressAwarenessMonth

April begins in just a couple days! It has been deemed National Month of Hope & National Stress Awareness Month! NationalDayCalendar.com says, “this month, we are all challenged to keep our stress levels low, and our peace levels high.” The website also lists 5 great ways to de-stress if you find yourself overwhelmed by your current situation with this pandemic (or some other situation.)

Shout out, again, to MarcAndAngel.com, for their uplifting article, “7 Ways To Stay Strong When Everything Goes Wrong”, that really applies to these current, troubled days that we’re all facing. I found the following excerpt from it especially inspiring:

Remind yourself that everything in life is temporary. Every time it rains, it stops raining.  Every time you get hurt; you heal.  After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning… So if things are good right now, enjoy it.  It won’t last forever.  If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either.  Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh.  Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile.  Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending.  You get a second chance, every second.  You just have to take it and make the best of it.”

#ThankGodItsMondayDay 

REMINDER: NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world…

…13 down, 39 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Homesteading

Happy Monday to all! Mondays are my #52Chances each year! So, #TGIM – because it’s another chance for me to share “Memories of My Mom”!

Homesteading was a big part of our roots. Do you think it will be a big part of our future, too? Over the past century, we’ve all experienced some hard times in our lives at some point, or the fallout from it. Especially our ancestors, who lived through the eras of the 1918 influenza pandemic and the 1930s’ Great Depression, just to name a couple.

These are unprecedented times for us. Everywhere, people are being asked to work from home if they can and consider social distancing, if they can’t; plus, thorough hand washings, often, among other recommendations… No more non-essential travel, gatherings or activities are becoming the new norm for us, while toilet paper and cleaning products are being hoarded beyond need!

We are a society of gatherers and we’re used to our freedom to do so. We take our freedoms for granted, making it so difficult for so many of us to physically separate ourselves from others. However, at least now, we have the internet and things like “Facebook Live” and “Face Time” to continue interacting with others. So, we’re all alone together!

My area, recently, had a run on bread that was quickly followed by a run on yeast, as people are resorting more and more to making their own. Given our current circumstances, I think we’re all going to be trying to learn more about old-fashioned “homesteading” skills now. That’s why, last week, I shared my homemade disinfectant recipe with you, as disinfecting sprays and wipes were also becoming a rare commodity – and, as Mom would say, “because great recipes need to be shared!” (Asking only for proper credit if you do!)

Gloria Pitzer, Recipe Detective

This week, if you want to make your own bread and can’t find yeast, I have one of Mom’s wonderful copycat recipes for you at the end of this blog entry. It’s called “Beer Bread” and it’s from page 152 of Mom’s last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, Jan. 2018). The element of yeast is already in the beer and the alcohol content evaporates with the cooking process, creating an awesome bread! (Again, asking only for proper credit if you share it!)

Who would’ve thought that Mom’s original ideas, back in the 1970s, about duplicating famous dishes in our own kitchens and “Eating Out At Home”, as well as creating “Homemade Groceries”, would be so popular, yet again, as restaurants across the country have been closing their dining rooms in an effort to help squash the spread of the Covid-19 virus through gatherings in their establishments.

First 5 books of the Secret Recipes Collection

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 4)

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS…

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

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

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

Photo by Gloria Pitzer (1970-ish)

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. 40)

‘We must not let the snags overcome us and render our lives a misery instead of a blessing.’ – Gloria Pitzer

THE MIRROR OF LIFE reflects much more than we see. Writer, David Meisel, said, ‘Life itself is a story that only God knows in its entirety.’ In living our own personal story, each one of us must see the need to minimize fear and magnify hope, to minimize anguish and magnify patience. Truth, in its simplicity, proves that we are best served by periodic self-examination – our thought, our internal rules, our face in the mirror; and what we each believe to be true, what we perceive is life lived for good – for others’ good as well as our own.

My mom was a groundbreaking innovator, starting the COPYCAT/HOMEMADE fast food, junk food and famous restaurant dishes concept. She also taught her readers how to stretch food & reinvent leftovers; plus how to make a lot of their own groceries! Her critics thought it was a passing fad that wouldn’t last.

Not only did it last but it also grew by leaps and bounds! Mom created a movement of people wanting to make their own fast food, junk food and grocery products at home. The concept was so contagious that there were many copycats who were copying the ORIGINAL copycat – some were even to the point of plagiarism!

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 70)

BACK IN 1976, when The Guinness Book of World Firsts included my discovery of re-creating fast foods at home, it was encouraging. They were most concerned about my version of the Colonel’s ‘secret spices’, McDonald’s ‘special sauce’ and Arthur Treacher’s fish batter, which were among the first recipes that I attempted to imitate. I had been warned, however, early on, by critics, skeptics, newspaper reporters who wrote articles about us and even food experts who contacted us, that my ‘Secret Recipes’ would probably be a short-lived venture, as would the fast food industry itself.

FOR THE PAST 17 years [1973-1989], not a day has gone by without a generous amount of mail or phone calls, expressing an enthusiastic interest in what our family has been doing with the recipes we’ve developed and published, as a kitchen table enterprise. Under the able direction of my husband, Paul, and his full-time management, we have gone from a hand-operating mimeograph machine in our laundry room, to a full-fledged office – staff and all – back, again, to the simplicity of [home and] a two-person operation.

We like it best this way, and we’ve had it all – the sophisticated and expensive means by which we would distribute and publicize our books and newsletter to the exclusiveness of working with radio. I have been invited to do videotapes for TV and VCRs but the filming of our recipes, I have learned, is not as essential to the success of using them, as the critics have insisted. This is proven true through our lending our work, without charge, to the Braille Institute and Books for the Blind, Talking Books. The conversational way in which our recipes are presented, makes a picture unnecessary!

Mom always felt blessed for being able to work from home, doing what she loved most – writing! She often said that she made a living from her writing, but it was the writing that made it all worthwhile! Whenever I sit down to write anything for this blog, I have to say, it certainly feels like the best part of my day!

I love that I can do this blog from home (or anywhere, for that matter)! Unfortunately, it doesn’t make a living for me – not yet, at least. Meanwhile, my “paying job” is considered part of the “essential services” workforce that has been allowed to remain working because it provides a service for the grocery and pharmacy stores’ support systems.

My work takes me all over, to various stores in my county; thus, when I have to work, I remain conscious of my surroundings and practice all the recommended hygiene and disinfecting guidelines. I also try to keep my social distance from others and stay out of close/confined public areas, whenever possible. I don’t want to contract the virus, nor be a carrier of it. But, unfortunately, the bills don’t stop coming in because of this 2020 virus pandemic and they still need to be paid.

BEER BREAD By Gloria Pitzer

As seen in Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, Jan. 2018; p. 152)

Ingredients:

2 cups self-rising flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 egg, beaten

12-ounce can Busch Light beer

Instructions:

Mix the flour and sugar together with a fork and set aside. Beat the egg and beer together in an accommodating cup. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture and add the liquid. Mix it only until all dry particles have been moistened, like a muffin batter should be mixed. Do not over-beat! Pour into a greased and floured 9-inch loaf pan. Bake at 350°F for about 30 to 35 minutes or until you can insert a thin wooden skewer through the center to the bottom of the pan and remove it without any traces of wet batter. Cool in pan 15 minutes. Wipe top of loaf with melted butter and dust lightly with sugar. Slice when cooled.

NOTE: If the bread appears to fall or sink while cooling, it means you didn’t bake it long enough. If it’s heavy and moist, it means you over-beat it. If it turns out dry and crumbly, it means you didn’t beat it enough – so don’t be fooled into thinking that just because the recipe has only 4 ingredients that you can slap it together and have it turn out beautifully. Combine ingredients with care!

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

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

#NationalStressAwarenessMonth & #StressAwarenessMonth

April is just around the corner and it’s considered National Month of Hope & National Stress Awareness month! Why not “Spring forward” and start observing it today – because, as NationalDayCalendar.com says, “this month, we are all challenged to keep our stress levels low, and our peace levels high.” The website also lists 5 great ways to “de-stress” if you find yourself overwhelmed by your current situation with this pandemic or some other situation.

Shout out to MarcAndAngel.com at https://www.marcandangel.com/2015/02/25/7-ways-to-stay-strong-when-everything-goes-wrong/, for their uplifting article, “7 Ways To Stay Strong When Everything Goes Wrong”, that really applies to these current, troubled days that we’re all facing! I found the following excerpt from it especially inspiring:

Remind yourself that everything in life is temporary. Every time it rains, it stops raining.  Every time you get hurt; you heal.  After darkness there is always light – you are reminded of this every morning… So if things are good right now, enjoy it.  It won’t last forever.  If things are bad, don’t worry because it won’t last forever either.  Just because life isn’t easy at the moment, doesn’t mean you can’t laugh.  Just because something is bothering you, doesn’t mean you can’t smile.  Every moment gives you a new beginning and a new ending.  You get a second chance, every second.  You just have to take it and make the best of it.”

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

REMINDER: NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. 12 down, 40 to go!

 

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

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Spring Forward To Healthy Cleaning

As always, happy Monday to everyone and happy St. Patrick’s Day Eve! #TGIM! Today is a new chance for me to share memories of my mom! #52Chances!

Spring 2020 will begin Thursday night and National Cleaning Week starts on Sunday! However, with the growing spread of the Coronavirus (Covid-19), like many others, I started my spring-cleaning regimen early and am doing an even more in-depth cleansing of everything, from top to bottom!

I’m one of those “weirdos” that love to clean – and, also, to organize! I’m not sure why – maybe I inherited it from my Dad, as Mom “strongly disliked” cleaning and organizing. It’s not that she didn’t do it, Mom just didn’t LIKE to do it. Not everyone gets a joy out of things like cleaning and organizing. In fact, most people probably would agree that they don’t care to do it, themselves, any more than they need to – and they will often find excuses to put it off or avoid it all together.

While I really enjoy the finished “accomplishment” of a good and thorough cleaning job (I’ve always loved the smell of chlorine bleach for as long as I can remember), organizing is more like a favorite hobby to me. I’ve been known to dump things out just to re-organize them – like re-doing a puzzle over and over.

For her own office space, Mom preferred, what she called, an “organized mess”. She kept a sign on her desk (as pictured above), which she picked up somewhere after I took it upon myself, one time, to clean and organize her office and desk as a good deed.

#NationalCleaningWeek

Weeks ago, before the Covid-19 virus became such a pandemic, here, I had heard that National Cleaning Week was coming up soon and I actually got a little giddy and started writing down my spring-cleaning-to-do list – as it was soon going to be time to move the furniture around, flip the bedroom mattress and rotate the seasonal clothes – just to name a few of the things I usually do when the spring and fall seasons roll around. I know I’m weird – and that’s okay – just living my true self!

With the run on cleaning products at all the stores, I’ve resorted to making my own disinfectant from water, vinegar and rubbing alcohol – something I learned about 30 years ago, from a local community program, when all of my children were small. Over the years, I’ve tweaked it, adding about ½ tablespoon of peppermint or lemon essential oil for a better scent, as the vinegar and rubbing alcohol can be potent in a small enclosed area, like a bathroom.

However, an ingredient in essential oils is poisonous to cats, so I really don’t use it anymore. I’ll share my “recipe” with all of you, (pictured below) in case anyone else is having difficulties buying disinfecting sprays or wipes these days. As always, asking only for proper credit if you care to share it.

I read at NationalDayCalendar.com that the average American spends about six hours a week cleaning their home. By taking on one room of our house a day, as the website suggests, and cleaning it from top to bottom for one hour, I can burn a lot of calories! Suggested cleaning tasks, by the website, include dusting ceiling fans, door moldings and window tops to begin. I also wipe down the door knobs, light switches, ceilings and walls, as well!

One of the cleaning tasks, which the website mentioned, that people put off or try to avoid the most is dusting. That’s my most hated cleaning job because it seriously effects my allergies and I have A LOT of “tchotchkes” to dust! Additional chores that are most commonly avoided by people include: mopping, cleaning the bathroom, cleaning the kitchen and doing laundry. I remember a couple of Mom’s least favorite cleaning tasks were washing the dishes and making the bed. Everybody is different and, yet, we’re all the same!

#CleaningWeek

HowStuffWorks.com has a great article, called 20 Everyday Activities and the Calories They Burn by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd. about which I’ve written before. It lists the calorie-burning benefits of many daily chores and cleaning tasks! Since, at that time, I had recently started trying to lose weight and get healthier, it made me love cleaning all the more.

The article claims that 30 minutes of dusting burns 80 calories, 30 minutes of mopping burns 153 calories, 30 minutes of folding clothes burns 72 calories and 30 minutes of ironing burns 76.5 calories. Although, who really irons anymore? These days, I think I only iron “once in a blue moon”, like when I’m quilting.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

Other household “activities” that the article claims burns calories includes moving furniture for one hour to burn 504 calories, sweeping a broom back and forth for 10 minutes to burn 28 calories, vacuuming for 20 minutes to burn 56 calories and, surprisingly, preparing dinner for 30 minutes to burn 74 calories. I wonder if Rachel Ray knows that her 30-minute meals have that perk too!

In addition, the article maintained that three hours spent on house painting will burn a massive 1,026 calories! It just so happens that I began repainting each room of our house this weekend. I started in the living room and have already spent many 3-hour sessions on it, so far. Next is the dining room, then the kitchen, followed by the bathroom. It’s been seven to eight years since any of these rooms were last painted.

Illustrations by Gloria Pitzer

For a little comic relief from all the virus and cleaning concerns, here’s a reprint of one of Mom’s satirical, “No Laughing Matter” articles, called “Eat Your Heart Out Mr. Clean!”

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Times Herald (Port Huron, Michigan; Feb 14, 1974)

‘Eat Your Heart Out Mr. Clean!’ – by Gloria Pitzer

Many of you have written, asking what shortcuts I recommend for getting through the hang ups of housework. I thought you’d never ask. And I’m happy to share with you some of the lesser known household hints that you are not apt to find in the elegant publications…

Now, my household hints are NOT necessarily recommended by GOOD HOUSEKEEPING, Dr. Seuss, my mother-in-law, the neighbors, Mr. Clean…but they do work! Unless, that is, you’re expecting miracles.

WHAT TO DO WITH LEFTOVERS: If, while they are in the refrigerator, leftovers become as hairy as hedgehogs at bay, don’t try to throw them out. Feed them dead flies and keep them as pets!

WHAT TO DO ABOUT COBWEBS: If you have cobwebs in your corners and can’t figure out why, because you don’t have a cob in the house; ignore them if you can’t reach them. If somebody calls them to your attention, exclaim with pride, “Oh! I can’t touch those. They’re my son’s science project!”

WHAT TO DO ABOUT JAR LIDS THAT REFUSE TO BUDGE: Tell a 4-year-old not to touch them!

IF YOU HAVE OVER-SIZED HIPS: Wear Jodhpurs. They’ll go out where you do!

IF YOU PUT ON WEIGHT EASILY: Let out your couch!

TROUBLE FALLING A SLEEP? If you can’t count sheep… try talking to the Shepherd!

CONCERNED ABOUT SHORTAGES? Help conserve water… bathe with someone you love! Help conserve paper… stamp out bumper stickers! Get an education… drive a school bus! Eat a beaver… save a tree!

TO CONSERVE ENERGY: Don’t hold post-mortems, brooding over your mistakes. The faster you make one, the less apt anybody is to notice it.

BEFORE GOING TO THE EXPENSE OF REDECORATING YOUR ENTIRE HOUSE: Move!

TO PREVENT SCRUB WATER FROM RUNNING DOWN YOUR ARMS WHILE WASHING WALLS: Hang from your feet!

CLEANER FLOORS: If you have tried the miracle product as advertised on TV and you still can’t get your floors to look as clean as those seen on the commercial, write to the manufacturer of that cleaner and have them send you that mop!

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

SHORT ON SILVERWARE AT MEALTIME? Delegate a search party of children to check out the sand box, toy chest and cold air returns. Chance are, you’ll find them!

TO REMOVE CHEWING GUM from a new, white bedspread, apply peanut butter by rubbing with vigorous motions. If it still doesn’t come out, get a new bedspread!

TO AVOID HAVING YOUR HUSBAND USE THE GUEST TOWELS to clean the carburetor…hang only cleaning rags on the bathroom towel racks!

#CornedBeefAndCabbageDay

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day tomorrow, as it will also be National Corned Beef & Cabbage Day, the following recipe comes from Mom’s last cookbook (the ONLY one that’s currently in print) for her good friend’s, Julia Lega’s, legendary Reuben sandwich, as served at Johnnie Lega’s Restaurant & Tavern!

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

THE REUBEN – According to Julia Lega

AS SEEN IN… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 187)

The best Rubens can be ruined by the worst sauerkraut. Most of us open a can and heat it up. My good friend, Julia Lega – who’s well-loved sauerkraut put ‘Beautiful Downtown’ Pearl Beach, MI on the world map of favorable fare – suggested this method and I love it!

Open a can of sauerkraut and dump it into a colander. Squeeze out as much of the liquid in which it is canned as possible and run it under cold water, rinsing it well. Then, squeeze out as much of this water as you can. Put the sauerkraut in an accommodating, oven-proof, sauce pan – or kettle, depending on how much you’re preparing – and add just enough chicken broth to keep the sauerkraut submerged.

Next, for every quart (4 cups) of the “squeezed-out” sauerkraut, stir in a 12-inch length of kielbasa cut into bite-sized pieces and 3 tablespoons packed brown sugar. Then peel, core and grate an apple into this. Cover it and place in a 350°F oven for about 45 minutes, stirring it every 10 minutes or so.  When the kielbasa is tender, well-browned and appears to have absorbed the apple and the liquids, add 1 medium-sized, raw potato – peeled and grated.

Return pan to oven for another 30 minutes or until you have no traces of potato in the mixture. It should almost dissolve into a smooth sauce-like gravy, which keeps the sauerkraut smooth. At this point, taste-test and adjust the seasonings to taste, adding a pinch more sugar, or salt and pepper if you like. Remove the sauerkraut from the pan with a pair of tongs to add to the sandwiches as you prepare them.

To assemble the Reuben sandwich: butter both sides of 2 pieces of dark rye bread or Russian black bread. Place about ½ cup of the drained and prepared sauerkraut on one slice and then add a slice of Swiss cheese and 3 to 4 ounces, thinly sliced, corned beef (see Index for my homemade Corned Brief recipe in this chapter.) Add top slice of bread and grill on a lightly buttered skillet until the outer surfaces of the assembled sandwich has nicely browned on both sides. Serve at once with a Kosher dill spear.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

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

#ThankGodItsMondayDay 

NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story and, hopefully, ignite happy memories for others; while re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world… 11 down, 41 to go!

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective is available for sale, at $20.99 each, through the publisher, Balboa Press, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062252; it’s also available in eBook form, for $3.99, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Every Day is an Opportunity

As always, happy Monday to everyone and #TGIM!

EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY – a turning point, a gift, an opportunity! And every Monday is another chance for me to tell Mom’s story. This week is International Women’s Week, which started yesterday, on International Women’s Day. And, as I mentioned last week, the whole month of March is also National Women’s History Month! As the old saying goes: “We are women – hear us roar!”

#WomensWeek

My mom was a “creative master” at whatever she attempted. I wish I had half of her talent. Mom wore so many hats in our family and in the “family enterprise”, as she called it. In our family, Mom was cook, maid, chauffeur, doctor, seamstress, counselor, mentor, teacher, and so on. In her dining-room-table-based family enterprise, Mom was the recipe developer, author, illustrator, layout creator, publicist, promotion specialist, public speaker/lecturer and (again) so much more! She was a “Wonder Woman” who devoted every day to balancing all of it!

From the unique design of her works to her “Food-for-Thought” and “Food-for-the-Soul” articles to her “copycat” recipes to her thousands of radio interviews, Mom inspired and touched so many lives through her pioneering years as the Recipe DetectiveTM. Since starting the blog and social media pages in Mom’s honor, I’ve received many emails and Social Media messages from people who remember the joy Mom brought them and their families through her cookbooks and newsletters. That inspires me!

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

The following excerpts are from…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 41 & 43)

EVERY DAY IS A TURNING POINT

We always look for a turning point in our lives when things have not gone smoothly. I’m beginning to believe that every day is a turning point – that each experience contributes to our eventual goals and growth. I caution my newsletter readers, even today, not to think in terms of ‘forever’. Think of now and forever will take care of itself. Most of us worry too much about what my mother calls ‘the loaves and fishes’. ‘We worry too much’, Mom insists, and rightly so, ‘about having something to live ON – and too little about having something to live FOR!’

It is not so much where we have been or where we are going but where we are NOW that matters. I look back only to find comfort in those never-again moments during which our five children were growing up and our family enterprise was just getting started. I can only remember how Paul looked when I told him I had bought my own mimeograph machine and how I was using it. BOOM!

1974, Gloria Pitzer mimeographing her newsletter and recipe cards.

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 and a total of 200 or 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 [areas] in 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. What I had at that time was a little book entitled ‘The Better Cookers Cookbook’ [1973], as opposed to our current popular book, ‘Better Cookery’ [1983].

The distribution of information on the book included my mailing a copy of it along with a letter explaining how and why it was written, to several of my favorite newspaper columnists and friends. One with whom I had contact on various subjects before, was Bob Talbert of the Detroit Free Press. He mentioned this little book in one of his columns as ‘for a buck-and-a-half-and-a-belly-laugh’. It worked!

1974 heading of Mom’s first newsletter.

HOW TO LAUNCH A NEWSLETTER

Whenever I am asked by somebody wanting to launch a newsletter of their own, how to get started, I wish I could just send them a blueprint or a floor plan, like you would when you build a house or a garage. With newsletter writing and marketing, it’s all based on individuality, and experience being the best teacher and then having a responsive audience. It all begins with the sale.

You have to know to whom you will be directing your material and how you will be meeting their needs. Nobody can tell you HOW to do that. You either know how or you don’t! If you don’t know how to talk to your reader, you’re like a lighthouse without a light! You have to let your light shine and part of the preparation for communicating with your reader is to know HOW to talk to them, what they need from your newsletters that will enrich them or make their lives better. 

 There’s a powerful wisdom we don’t understand. It comes down to believing…to having faith.’ – Gloria Pitzer

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 47-48)

THE BEGINNING OF THE FAMILY ENTERPRISE

I had used a recipe in one of my newspaper columns at the Port Huron paper for a sauce like McDonald’s used on their hamburgers. It was such a hit with the readers… It seemed so obvious… Repeat the recipes that were so popular at the paper for those few weeks, only this time putting them into my own newsletter.

I couldn’t wait to get home and get started putting together all of the recipes I could find that had anything at all to do with fast food restaurants or franchise eateries. Nobody, but nobody had done that yet. There were cookbooks on how to do it the way the gourmets did and recipes from famous inns and restaurants with wine stewards and parking valets, but never from a hamburger palace or a pizza carry-out! Those were considered SECRETS. One thought led to another and soon the whole format was taking place on the paper in front of me.

HOW TO SELL IT – RADIO

The request for more and more came almost as immediately as the recipes would circulate, mostly through Bob Allison’s [radio] show, but as well through our newsletter, which was then growing to a circulation of nearly 1000. The idea soon developed to put these famous secrets on index cards and sell them as, I explained earlier, we did prior to the first series of books.

One step led to another and each step came from having absolute faith that failure was impossible. When you unselfishly search for something to do, something to share, I have learned from first-hand experience, you never come away disappointed. I wasn’t looking for the rewards or gratification – only the service for the product. That, I believe, is why it all worked out so beautifully.

1985 Gloria Pitzer

One of the first radio affiliations that I had, other than my regular visits with Bob Allison and his ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ [radio show], was with Warren Pierce at WJR in Detroit. In those early interviews we talked with Warren’s listeners, answering questions about imitating famous foods and one of the most often requested recipes on that show was for hot fudge like Sanders (Fred Sanders Confectionery Company).

It was right after I had given the recipe on the air and immediately after Carol Haddix had printed my recipe for that ice cream topping in the Detroit Free Press that a letter came from Jack Sanders, Chairman of the Board of Sanders and great-grandson of the company’s founder. At once, I looked at the envelope and imagined trouble because I had come so close to the original with my recipe.  

But quite the contrary! It was an invitation to Paul and me and our family to visit the Saunders plant and headquarters in Highland Park (Michigan) and to see, he wrote to us, ‘if it doesn’t spoil your fun’ how their products were really made. We became good friends after that exciting tour and in our ‘Fast Food Recipe Book’ I give you some 16 pages of information and history, plus recipes that have been inspired by Sanders products.

Obviously, doing an e-newsletter requires a long-time commitment; as well as devotion, responsibility and dedication whether I’m doing it for a few people or for thousands of people. Once I commit to writing an e-newsletter – whether it’s weekly, monthly or something else – I need to have a goal or purpose for how it will fit into my “big picture”. I also need to gather and collect good subject matter for it. Most of this, I have; but, not all!

After setting a goal or purpose and collecting the content for it, next, I would have to create my own template or choose a template from a “host” such as MailChimp, MailerLite or ActiveCampaign, to name a few in this market. This is where I get lost, as I am not tech-savvy! My brother, Mike, set up this website – not me. I just learned how to work with the WordPress and GoDaddy systems that he set up for me. And, trust me, it’s not easy…not for me, anyway.

I’ve looked at so many articles and videos on “how to create an e-newsletter” (even the ones “for dummies”), yet, I still feel overwhelmed and inadequate to understand and follow all of the required steps to achieve this ambition of mine. I used to be a “quick study”, always able to learn things on the fly and fairly easily. After I passed 50 years old, it’s become harder and harder, every year that goes by. Sometimes you can’t teach an old dog new tricks and sometimes you can – it just takes a lot longer.

Thus, I’ve decided to shelve the e-newsletter idea, for a while. I don’t feel I am ready for the time and dedication involved in learning how to create AND execute such a project. I’m still occupied with building up this website to how I’d like it to look and function, as well as writing the “Memories of My Mom” blog every week, while working a “money-paying” job that helps compensate some of our household bills.

#NationalMeatballDay

On another subject – March 9th, is (among other things) National Meatball Day! When it comes to meatballs, at least in Michigan, the first name that comes to mind is our famous Schuler family. Win Schuler’s was one of Michigan’s longest-established, family-owned restaurants, spanning four generations and having celebrated their 110th anniversary just last year, before selling the company to a long-time associate and close, family friend, Sue Damron, in Oct. 2019.

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

#ThankGodItsMondayDay suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story, again, and, hopefully, re-inspire love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. 10 down, 42 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – March is Women’s History Month

Happy Monday and happy March to everyone! As usual, thank God it’s Monday – #TGIM – as it’s another chance for me to share Mom’s story with the world, again!

#NationalWomensHistoryMonth

March is National Women’s History Month!  According to NationalDayCalendar.com, “National Women’s History Month was established in 1987 as a way to celebrate women across the nation and their efforts to make the country, and world, a better place for women of all ages and races.”

So, what better time is there to tell my mom’s story? Mom was a pioneer in the food industry, as she was the first person (let alone, the first woman) to begin the copycat cookery movement, back in the 1970s, imitating the “secret recipes” of “famous foods from famous places”, right at home!

Mom always felt that we could and should, all of us, make the world a better place – she liked to do it through her food-for-thought and food-for-the-soul articles, as well as her UNIQUE (at that time) food-for-the-table recipes.

In the mid-1970s, Mom was nicknamed the “Recipe Detective” by the radio listeners of Bob Allison’s “Ask Your Neighbor” call-in program, because she could decipher what combinations of ingredients and techniques could be used at home to imitate many favorite restaurant dishes and fast food items; as well as packaged “junk foods” and other supermarket products, for which people were searching to replicate. Later, Mom trademarked the nickname, as it became her signature format.

Fast food (and junk food) items were the most requested recipes for which Mom was asked to decode and devise a copycat version. Those types of recipes weren’t found in any other source being published at that time and people were clamoring to find out how to make their favorites at home. After all, fast foods epitomized the very restaurants where most American families, like ourselves, were apt to patron if they wanted an affordable meal!

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p.293)

I was a regular participant on Bob Allison’s ‘Ask Your Neighborradio 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 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 column recipes into a book, I wrote my 1st edition [1973] called ‘The Better Cooker’s Cookbook’. In less than a month, I had sold 1000 copies. I wasn’t satisfied with the book, so 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 1st issue of what came to be my ‘Secret Recipe Report’; a newsletter that, for 106 consecutive monthly issues, brought me in contact with the many so-called secrets of the commercial food and restaurant industry. I probably wouldn’t have done the [newsletter], except for a falling-out I had [at the time] with the editor of a small-town paper for which I was writing a food column.

I had published some of my 1st attempts at duplicating famous dishes in that column and the response was beautiful, until I offended one of the paper’s biggest advertisers with a rendition of their cheesecake… ‘The kind that nobody doesn’t like.’ The editor told me I would have to go back to standard recipes like macaroni and cheese, meatloaf or chocolate cake – or I could pick up my check. I told him to ‘MAIL it to me!’

That’s when I decided it was time to launch my own paper. 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.296)

IT WAS THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME to launch a new business. The unemployment rate was terribly high. There was a newsprint paper shortage. There was a gasoline shortage. But I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to at least try to have my own publication. It was something I had always wanted to do. I couldn’t tell Paul. I knew that! He would have been far too practical to have approved of my starting my own paper, so I enlisted the help of our children.

I was taking in ironing at the time, at $5 a basket, and sometimes earned as much as $50 a week. The money was supposed to supplement Paul’s paycheck, which – as soon as we found could make ends meet – we discovered somebody had moved the ends. So, I took what money I could from the ironing earnings and bought a mimeograph. I kept it in a big box in the utility room under my sewing table. Paul would hardly pay attention to what I wanted him to think was only sewing paraphernalia.

For nine months, I mimeograph, assembled and mailed out about 100 copies a month of my newsletter. Bill and Mike helped assemble it and Debbie help me test the recipes and address the copies. I don’t know how we ever kept it from Paul for that long, but I couldn’t tell him what I was doing until I could assure him that I could make a profit. All I was doing was breaking even.

Then Dennis Wholley, at Channel 7 in Detroit, called and said somebody had sent him a copy of my newsletter. He was tickled with the crazy names I gave the recipes and the home-spun format. He wanted the entire family to be his guests on his ‘A.M. Detroit’ show on November 14 [1974] – which was also our Laura’s birthday. I couldn’t keep it from Paul any longer, because I couldn’t pass up an opportunity to promote the paper on a popular local television show. He took it quite well, considering the state of shock he must have been in at my announcement.

The Pitzer Kids – Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

But we took all 5 of the kids with us across town, in a blizzard yet, with Laura having a bout of carsickness during the hour’s drive there. And, during that experience, we met Coleman Young, the recently elected mayor of Detroit, who was also a guest on the show. All of Pearl Beach must have been tuned into ‘A.M. Detroit’ that morning, with half of the population gathered at the Pearl Beach post office, watching the portable set there.

It brought us many new orders for our newsletter, and it wasn’t long before CKLW’s Bob Heinz asked us to appear on his show on New Year’s Day. We, again, took the family [to Detroit and] over to Windsor, Ontario – across the Detroit River – for another exciting experience and hundreds of letters that followed, wanting to subscribe to the newsletter. By that time, Paul was giving me every evening of his time when he came home from his own job at the sign company, plus all the weekends just to fill the orders.

First 5 books of the Secret Recipes Collection

My list of ‘Secret Recipes’ had grown to 200 and we offered them, on 4 x 6” cards [that I printed on my mimeograph], at… 25 [cents] each or 5 for a dollar. It was quite a packaging process to fill the combinations of orders, so I put all those recipes into a book. It was going to be our only book on the subject, since most of the recipes were ‘fast foods’ – [as it was considered a ‘fad’ that wouldn’t last long] but, as it turned out, it was only the 1st of a series of, then, 5 books.

After ‘Book One’ took off [in 1975] and became a very good seller, I did a Bicentennial American Cookery book as a limited edition and was pleased when the Henry Ford Library at Greenfield Village in Dearborn, Michigan ordered copies for their Bicentennial collection. That was July 1976…

Mind you, Mom never knew the actual “secret recipes” of the “specialty” restaurants and food companies but she could come up with her own combination of ingredients and techniques in recipes that imitated the famous dishes and products that people craved! In those days, nobody else was doing anything like it.

Mom didn’t write recipes for the usual, ordinary things that other cookbooks offered, at that time, such as ordinary chocolate cupcakes and fried chicken. Instead, Mom was the trail-blazer who brought us the SPECIAL recipes for making imitations of things like Hostess’ Cupcakes and “The Colonel’s” Fried Chicken. Mom often titled her imitations to sound similar to the original inspirations from which they were derived. For example, Mom’s cupcake imitation was called “Hopeless Cupcakes” and her chicken imitation was called “Big Bucket in the Sky Chicken”.

There was a bottomless well of “secret recipe” imitation ideas and inspirations within the food industry, that Mom could tap into – and she did – between supermarket shelves, delis, fast food chains and restaurants, just to name a few. Her self-published books and newsletters stood out from all the others – from the subject matter, itself, to its presentation and promotion!

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

Some of the other national, month-long (March), food-related observances being celebrated this month include Celery Month, Caffeine Awareness Month, Flour Month (with Nat’l Flour Day on the 20th), Frozen Food Month, Noodle Month, Nutrition Month, Peanut Month and Sauce Month, among others. Again, not food-related but close to my heart and Mom’s, as well – it’s also going to be National… Craft Month and Small Press Month!

Yesterday, March 1st, began National eBook Week! Don’t forget to get your copy of Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective, available in eBook form, through the publisher, Balboa Press, for $3.99, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253.

Also, in hard copy, through the publisher, Balboa Press, for $20.99 each, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062252.

#ThankGodItsMondayDay suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story, again, and, hopefully, re-inspire love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. Nine down, 43 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Any Reason to Celebrate with Food

Hi, everyone! Thank God, it’s Monday, again! It’s my chance to write about my mom and share my memories of her with you…

Today is Mardi Gras Eve, the day before Mardi Gras; which is, now, called Lundi Gras, [aka: “Fat Monday”] in New Orleans; and, like Mardi Gras, it has its own traditions and celebrations, including lots of food and drinks, as well as various forms of art and music and fireworks. It’s been a growing and evolving celebration, in New Orleans; especially since 1987. However, since its revival, Lundi Gras is not celebrated the way it was before WWI.

Mardi Gras is French for “Fat Tuesday”. Traditionally, on Fat Tuesday, all of the lard, butter, milk and other animal products were used up by this day, so as to reduce waste before the 40-day fasting period of Lent, which begins the next day (on Ash Wednesday). “Fat Tuesday” is also the last day of “Carnival” week – a Christian feasting celebration, leading up to Lenten season’s fasting ritual. The modern “Carnival” celebration is a festival extravaganza, including parades, street parties, music and the arts; plus, other entertaining elements similar to a circus – with elaborate costumes and masks, as well.

Nothing gathers people together more than food. These days, all of the holidays, special events and other reasons for gatherings are, in some fashion, marketed in the food industry! Any reason to celebrate, is a reason to celebrate with food! That should be somebody’s slogan – and remember, I coined it, here, first! Mom was one of the grandest celebrators of food! Every imitation Mom created of a popular dish or food item was, in itself, a celebration! The more food imitations that Mom developed, the further her fans and followers clamored for additional ones, as there was no one else doing such a thing, in those days!

Critics of the junk food and fast food industries thought that Mom’s type of copycat cookery was a fad that wouldn’t last long. But it was only the beginning of a revolutionary movement in the food industry – one that Mom called “Taking The Junk Out Of Junk Food” and “Eating Out At Home”! As a matter of fact, that was the name of an article (reprinted below) that Mom wrote in her “Secret Recipes” column that was printed in the Port Huron Times Herald in the 1970s. In honor of February being National Hot Breakfast Month, I’m including Mom’s recipe from that article for “Big Batch Scrambled Eggs”, like McDonalds once served.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

“Secret Recipes From… Gloria Pitzer” (Times Herald, Port Huron, MI; August 3, 1978) and

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press,; Jan. 2018, p. 136)

TAKE THE JUNK OUT OF JUNK FOODS – EATING OUT AT HOME

Going to a restaurant is like going to a movie, a way of escaping your day-to-day environment in the office or home or at most place you’re in that are functional. Restaurants should be places that make you feel separated from your daily environment.

Many restaurants are very successful because their design is very theatrical, suggesting another time or environmental experience that makes you feel far away from your problems. McDonald’s [restaurants] have been successfully employing the theme of total decorating concept into their units for many years, with the family as the center of attention… [such as] what appeals to family groups – children, parents, grandparents.

Their concepts are warm, functional, attractive and wholesome. They have set the trend in the fast food industry for this type of decor, always emphasizing their immaculate concept. So, how can the food purists and the experts degrade and deplore a company that has survived a competitive marketplace, where so many others have come and gone…?

First 5 books of the Secret Recipes Collection

#NationalHotBreakfastMonth

The introduction of a breakfast menu to the fast food franchise was also their idea and they probably do it better than others because of their organized food-planning concept. Try making scrambled eggs for your next big family breakfast like the ‘Golden Arches’. This recipe, from our ‘Secret Restaurant Recipes, Book #1’, has been adopted by many smaller restaurants and used quite successfully.

Big Batch Scrambled Eggs, by Gloria Pitzer

Break 8 eggs into a large bowl. Avoid using plastic (I prefer earthenware), for plastic seems to discourage fluffiness when beating eggs… Beat on low speed with electric mixer for two minutes. Add ½ teaspoon salt and ½ cup milk – continue beating another minute. Melt and cool ¼ cup butter (or margarine) and beat this in. Add a little at a time until blended. Lightly butter bottom and sides of a double boiler top [piece] and place over gently simmering water in the bottom [piece]. Pour in egg mixture and cover. Allow to cook on low heat for about 8 to 10 minutes. After time is up, turn congealed portion of eggs into middle of pan; cover and continue cooking another 5 to 6 minutes or until all of eggs are in large congealed pieces. Serve on heated platter. (I run mine under hot water or leave in dishwasher for one minute on dry.) Serves four.

In contrast to those critics who condemned “junk food” as being bad for us, Mom’s definition for real “junk food” was simply “poorly prepared food”. People know what they want and they like the so-called “junk” food that’s purportedly so bad for them. However, along with the “everything in moderation” theory, Mom found a way to – forgive the pun – “have her cake and eat it too”, by taking the junk out of junk food through making copycat versions at home, where she controlled the ingredients.

Gloria Pitzer, Recipe Detective

In the 1970s, this was a break through that had many companies up in arms! Someone was duplicating their products at home – cheaper and healthier – and publicly sharing her secrets of how she did it through her self-published newsletters and recipe cards and cookbooks! She was also talking about it on radio and television, as well as in newspapers and magazines!

Though, Mom never really knew what any of the companies’ actual “secret recipes” were for their sumptuous products, she had a talent for figuring it out, based on basic recipes and the specific food’s flavors, smells, textures and color. In fact, Mom had enough talent that some companies sent their lawyers after her, but to no avail.

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Eating Out at Home Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1978; p. 2)

You don’t have to know exactly how the original dish was prepared by the commercial food chains. All you need is a basic recipe to which you will add that ‘special seasoning’ or that ‘secret method of preparation’ that sets one famous secret recipe apart from those similar to it…

When I work to duplicate a recipe so that the finished product is as good as (if not better than) a famous restaurant dish, I begin by asking myself a series of questions: I want to know what color the finished dish has…[and] was it achieved by baking, frying or refrigeration?…What specific flavors can I identify?… and about how much of each may have been used…

Photo by Susan L. Tusa for an article about Mom in People Magazine (May 7, 1990; p. 81)

Similar tests are used in chemistry…[to]…break down the components of an unknown substance and try to rebuild it. So the cook must work like a chemist (and not like a gourmet, who, most of the time, never uses a recipe – but, rather, creates one.)

The most remarkable part of the duplication of famous recipes is that you can accept the challenge to ‘try’ to match their [dish or product]. Sometimes, you will be successful. Sometimes you will fail in the attempt. But, at least, it can be done [‘practice makes perfect’], and it certainly takes the monotony out of mealtime when, for reasons of financial inadequacy, we cannot always eat out…even if we could afford to eat at all or most of our meals away from home, wouldn’t that become monotonous in time?

Mom and Dad found out decades later, in their retirement years, that without us 5 kids in tow and being able to afford it from the success of their Secret RecipesTM business, eating out often really didn’t get as monotonous as she thought it might! For years, Mom and Dad enjoyed eating out for, at least, breakfast and lunch almost every day, and making new friends everywhere they went was an extra perk! They were BIG fans of McDonald’s restaurants, thus, Mom wrote and talked about them often.

Mom & Dad with family & friends, 2011, at the Big Boy Restaurant in Marysville, MI

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p.11)

talking about the most successful of the fast food chains – McDonald’s! It’s the only company in the fast food industry that has succeeded in cornering the market on family food and fast service restaurants – the world over! McDonald’s was the trend-setter, the hometown hospitality example in the industry. They took meat and potatoes and turned it into a billion-dollar enterprise.

It was 1954 and Ray Kroc, founder of McDonald’s, was 52 years old. Hardly the time in one’s life when they’d start to think about launching a new enterprise, but rather a time when most began to think about retiring! On one of his sales trips, Ray Kroc, a Dixie Cup salesman, met the owners of a thriving hamburger restaurant in California. Eventually, Kroc purchased the business from Maurice (Mac) McDonald and his brother, Richard. Mac & Dick had a fetish for cleanliness. Their place in San Bernardino was spotless! And much like Ray Kroc in his own experience years later, they weren’t too keen about teenagers. They avoided catering to the teenage market exclusively because kids loitered, were noisy and threw food around. The McDonald’s concept was for ‘the family!’ McDonald’s wasn’t the first company to create a fast food concept; but, by far, it was the most recognized and the most profitable in the industry. While fast food has taken it on the chin for every conceivable infraction of culinary achievement that the critics could possibly contrive, McDonald’s still came out on top!

IN CLOSING…

This year in honor of #52Chances and #MemorableBeginnings, I want to offer you a recipe each week from Mom’s “Original 200” Secret RecipesTM collection – as these are the memorable beginnings of the Recipe DetectiveTM. The following recipe is for today, as it is also #NationalTortillaChipDay

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

Not food-related but close to my heart and Mom’s, as well – it’s the last week of National Library Lovers Month! Additionally, other national, month-long (February), food-related observances that are coming to an end this week include, among others, American/National Heart Month, Canned Food Month, Great American Pies Month, Bake For Family Fun Month , Bird-Feeding MonthCherry Month, Grapefruit Month and Snack Food Month. For lots of great recipes for “Fat Tuesday” feasting, check out the ensemble at Huffpost.com

Next week rings in March! Some of the national, month-long (March), food-related observances for March include Celery Month, Caffeine Awareness Month, Flour Month (with Nat’l Flour Day on the 20th), Frozen Food Month, Noodle Month, Nutrition Month, Peanut Month and Sauce Month, among others. Again, not food-related but close to my heart and Mom’s, as well – it’s also going to be National… Craft Month, Women’s History Month and Small Press Month!

In addition, March 1st begins National eBook Week! Don’t forget to get your copy of Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective, available in eBook form, through the publisher, Balboa Press, for $3.99, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253.

Also, in hard copy, through the publisher, Balboa Press, for $20.99 each, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062252.

#TGIM

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story, again; hopefully, re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. Eight down, 44 to go!