Also published, as seen below, in Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 95). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]
Fill your blender half-full of cold water. Add enough whole, raw cranberries that it displaces the water to within an inch of the top of the container and cap it securely. Use an on/off agitation, on high speed, for half a minute – or until you can see that the cranberries are evenly and coarsely chopped, but not mushy.
Dump it into a colander to let the water drain. Repeat the blender process with an UNPEELED seedless orange, cut in pieces no larger than a marshmallow, until the size of confetti. Measure out the cranberries and then dump the orange pieces into the colander to drain.
Repeat until you have half as much oranges, as cranberries. Mix together, lightly, in a large bowl. Measure enough sugar that you have half as much sugar as you have cranberry/orange mixture.
Combine the sugar with the fruit mixture. Cover and let stand at room temperature for about 2-3 hours, stirring it occasionally. When juice has formed in the mixture, taste it for tartness. Adjust the sugar to taste – if it is too sweet, add another chopped orange, or part of an orange, until the flavor tastes right to you.
It’s not easy to give specific measurements because not all oranges have the same flavor and sweetness. Since the orange peel is included in this recipe, the sugar amount may vary.
Happy Monday and happy “Thanksgiving Week” to everyone! As I mentioned last week, I’m always grateful for Mondays because they’re my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!
‘Gratitude turns what we have into enough.’ – Aesop
Just as “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” – an ounce of gratitude is worth a pound of good cheer! Like the ripples from a pebble tossed into the water, a simple “thanks” and a smile can go a long way. It’s well-known that gratitude is associated with positive emotions and good experiences, which are both linked to happiness; and that, in turn, is connected to good health and well-being.
In other words, gratitude improves our physical and psychological health, as well as our self-esteem. Did you know that it can also enhance empathy and reduce aggression? Gratitude helps us deal with adversity and build strong relationships. In connection with all of this feel-good stuff, it can likewise help us sleep better.
Mom loved to write about finding the blessings in everything – any given day or moment; good or bad! That’s just how she was raised, being grateful for something everyday – not just for Life’sgifts, but also for Life’schallenges. Mom willingly confronted and overcame those challenges, empowering herself to do more rather than discouraging herself to fail.
Unfortunately, just when we start feeling comfortable and happy about how life is going, we find that happiness doesn’t happen without intermissions. These are the times in which we should take stock of our lives and be grateful for the good, as well as the lessons. From time to time, we forget that nothing in life is guaranteed to any of us.
Mom was always grateful for her readers, listeners, and fans who kept her inspired with their requests to find the “secrets” to making this dish or that grocery product at home. She was also very thankful to all the media sources that interviewed, wrote, and talked about her imitations of famous foods (from radio and TV talk shows to newspapers and magazines).
FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 57). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]
I’M VERY GRATEFUL TO CHILI!
ONE OF THE NICEST THINGS about making chili is that it goes so far! After I had walked out of the newspaper editor’s office, telling him to ‘mail me my check,’ I didn’t know if he had fired me or if I had quit! But to go home and start my own paper was an impulsive reaction, if not foolish.
It was a nice job for a housewife with 5 kids. The money wasn’t ‘good’, but it did buy the kids a few things we couldn’t otherwise afford. Paul was working as a draftsman for a sign company in Mt. Clemens and that weekly paycheck was spent on house payments, utilities and insurance even before it was cashed. The money I earned from writing helped and I gave it up because of pride and integrity.
The first thing I did with my writing, at that time, was to take all the recipes I had published in my newspaper column and all of the articles on recipes that I had sold to ‘Lady’s Circle’ and ‘Home Life Magazine’, and secured permission to re-print my own material in a small cookbook. With Free Press columnist, Bob Talbert, to ‘plug’ the little book, I sold all 1,000 copies in a month!
Rather than re-print it at the ‘Quickie-While-You-Wait’ printer shop, I decided I would put those recipes into a monthly publication – not exactly my own newspaper, but certainly worth the opportunity to try it and see if it would pay. We lived on a lot of chili in those days…
It fed our family of seven nicely – night after night – when there was no money for much else but hamburger and beans! And because I only owned 4 cooking pots – small, medium, large, and the no-life-guard-on-duty size, making chili and any of its spin-offs was substantial fare for us for the time being.
It was a good thing that I kept a complete list of names and addresses of those who wrote to me at the newspaper, requesting recipes, and all of those who purchased my first little cookbook, ‘The Better Cooker’s Cookbook’, for I invited each one by post card to subscribe to my monthly newsletter.
The response was sufficiently enthusiastic to cause me to take on the commitment – but, without Paul knowing anything about it, for he surely would have put his foot down and said, ‘NO!’ Until the newsletter could pay for itself, Paul thought what I was earning was coming from the ironing I did each week for other people at $5 a basket.
Since Paul worked late many nights and bowled two nights a week, he couldn’t keep an accurate account of how much ironing I really did. What I scraped together from the ironing money, I used as a down payment on a hand-cranked mimeograph machine so that I could print my own newsletter.
For nine months, I kept this from Paul; and, with our daughter Debbie’s help, put out the publication, paid off the mimeograph and saw my subscriptions reach 100 readers. That is when I was invited to appear on Dennis Wholley’s television program, ‘AM Detroit’, on WXYZ-TV. I had to tell Paul! He took it rather calmly, I thought; but now, in retrospect, I believe he was suffering from a mild case of shock from it all.
Being grateful for anything and everything is as much a part of the preparation for Thursday’s big celebration as the turkey and all the trimmings that will grace our tables as we gather together, with family and friends, to feast and be joyful. Are you ready for these coming days?
Have you paused to consider GIVING thanks – not only in prayer before your Thursday meal but also directly to everyone you come in contact with throughout the week? Thank your cashier at the busy grocery store this week and the stocking clerk who found an item for which you were looking.
Thank the person who delivers your mail, as well as those who collect your weekly trash. Thank the officers and fire fighters that protect your neighborhood. The list can be endless, but it takes only two seconds to say, “thank you”.
Life is short and fragile. All it takes is one unexpected moment or small event to change everything! What do you take for granted? Focus on the simple things that surround you and be grateful for all you have. Send an appreciative ripple to someone or simply enjoy the one someone else gave to you!
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. 11-12)
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!
This is the season of hustle and bustle, now! Keep in mind that the stresses it includes can bring out the worst in some people. But always remember that this season of giving also brings out the best in MOST people! An ounce of gratitude is figuratively worth a pound of gold.
And, as Thanksgiving approaches, I can only hope that everyone remembers those people or things for which they are grateful and, whenever possible, tells them! Start by saying “thank you” whenever possible. Everyone appreciates being appreciated!
Additionally, as you gather around the turkey-laden-table with family and/or friends, try not to let the commercialism of the other up-coming holidays interfere with your heart-felt thoughts of gratitude. As for myself, I’m eternally grateful for everything Mom gave me and taught me.
Since this is still National Peanut Butter Lovers Month, here are TWO of Mom’s secret recipes for peanut butter treats – Peanut Butter Fudge from Mom’s cookbook, The Second Helping Of Secret Recipes (Nat’l Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1978, p. 12) and Peanut Butter Cookies Like You’ve Never Had Before! The latter recipe can be seen in Mom’s last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 225). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]
Saturday, Nov. 21st, was the celebration of World Television Day! Did you know that people have been watching television for almost a century?! Since the Covid-19 pandemic hit, most people have been sort of forced into seclusion and television has become a whole new kind of lifeline for them!
Many people use television for more than just entertainment, especially these days. Watching television is a popular way to get your local and world news, as well as unwinding from a long workday or temporarily escaping a stressful life! People of ALL ages also use television as a learning tool, from pre-school age through adulthood.
Today, I want to share with you some more memories of Mom’s experiences regarding television! The following is sort of a timeline of television appearances Mom had as the Recipe DetectiveTM, which I’ve gathered from excerpts of Mom’s writings.
Nov. 14, 1974 – Mom’s very first television appearance was on “AM Detroit”, with host, Dennis Wholley; at WXYZ-TV, Channel 7 in Detroit, MI.
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. 38-39)
THE HAPPY COOKER
All I was doing was breaking even when Dennis Wholley, at channel 7 in Detroit, received a copy of my September newsletter of that first year of publishing. He called, though, and asked me in the family to appear on one of his broadcasts of ‘A.M. Detroit’, which we did – and which also opened up a brand-new door to opportunities I did not dream of encountering so quickly.
Of course, then, I did have to tell Paul all about the newsletter, what I had been doing and why I could not confide in him, knowing how skeptical he would have been about it. He practically agreed with me that, yes, he would’ve doubted that it would have had a future for us. Today, however, he’s willing to see it quite differently.
December 31, 1974 – On New Year’s Eve day, just across the river from Detroit, Mom appeared with Bob Hines on his television show on CKLW-TV, Channel 9 in Windsor, Ontario (Canada).
When I sent Dennis Wholley a copy of the newsletter, I also sent a copy to Bob Hynes, who then was host for the afternoon movie with CKLW-TV, channel 9, across the river [from Detroit] in Windsor, Ontario. There was no response immediately from CKLW, but the day after I appeared on Dennis Wholley’s program, Bob Hynes called and asked if we could visit his show on New Year’s Eve day [December 31] (1974) and bring the entire family too.
The movie that day, I remember, was ‘Tammy and the Bachelor’ with Debbie Reynolds. His guests for the intermission was Lynn Redgrave, who was there to plug her new movie, ‘The Happy Hooker’. When I introduced myself to Miss Redgrave in the studio that day, I said, ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Redgrave. I understand you are the happy hooker. I’m the happy cooker!’
…It was a thrilling experience. Then several weeks later, with the appearance on Bob Hynes show… The appearances on both of these shows brought us so many subscriptions to the newsletter and as the response increased, so did the amount of time that Paul gave me to processing the orders. He could see that I could not do it alone. Every evening, every weekend and even his two-week vacation from his job at the sign company, were given to working on the recipe orders with me.
Dec. 24, 1976 – Christmas Eve, the following year, Mom agreed to an at-home interview with Jack McCarthy of WXYZ-TV, Channel 7 (Detroit, MI).
‘Jack McCarthy’s TV interview with us on Christmas Eve , however, for channel 7 in Detroit, was one of the highlights of our experiences.’– Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 68)
MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…
As seen in…
Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, pp. 298-299)
THE PHIL DONAHUE SHOW
It was 1977, and we were considering a move from Pearl Beach [MI] to St. Clair [MI], since our 80-year-old house was already packed, wall-to-wall and floor-to-ceiling, with recipe books and newsletter inventory. Just about the time we planned our move, the Phil Donahue Show called and invited us to… appear on their program…
I had to decline. We already had more work than we could handle, and I had found that television appearances were merely food demonstrations that I did not enjoy experiencing. I enjoyed my radio work more, and the number of stations on which I had become a regular participant had grown to include over 100, across the country and in Canada.
We were settling down in our new house, in St. Clair, with our office in the basement. [However,] we outgrew that arrangement in a short time and rented a larger office uptown. But the books became more successful than we anticipated, and the newsletter circulation was growing to over 10,000. Soon, I found that we had to put the [office] back into our home.
I couldn’t depend on being in a writing mood between our regular ‘office’… hours of 8 AM to 5 PM. Some of the radio shows that I took part in were on-the-air at midnight, especially my favorite visits with KMOX in St. Louis and WGY in Schenectady.
With my files and reference materials at the office and me, at home, on the telephone with the radio shows, the arrangement was not satisfactory. So, Paul and our 2 sons remodeled our two-car garage, [which was] attached to the kitchen, and we moved the operation back there; where, for the next 4 years, the business ran quite smoothly.
We were receiving about 1,000 letters a day from the radio shows that I took part in and the newspaper stories that I was more-or-less an acting consultant on subjects related to ‘fast food’. In the spring of 1981, our old friend, Carol Haddix, ran a story about our new book of ‘Homemade Groceries’ in the Chicago Tribune, where she had just been assigned the food department.
Winter, 1980-1981 – Mom did another at-home interview – this time, with PM Magazine’s Detroit area TV crew. Mom also appeared on WDIV-TV’s “Noon News” show, on Channel 4 in Detroit, MI
July 7, 1981 – Mom’s first appearance on a nationally syndicated show was on “The Phil Donahue Show”. Mom thought it would also be her last (see also: 1993 – below).
PERSISTENCE PAYS OFF!
The Donahue Show people called once more and requested our appearance. We had just done a PM Magazine show with Detroit and had declined an invitation to appear in New York on Good Morning America, as well as declining an opportunity to have People Magazine interview us…
I still wonder why in the world I said I would do the Donahue show! On July 6 , Paul and I flew to Chicago, staying at the Hyatt O’Hare, and did the Donahue show, live – for an entire hour – on July 7th, flying back that same afternoon. The next day, 15,000 letters waited for us at the St. Clair post office.
And every day, for 4 months, we picked up THOUSANDS of letters – having received, by Christmas, well over 1 million letters, requesting information on how to acquire our books, which were still available only by mail from our address. We were bogged down with an unexpected response. It was an experience of mixed blessings!
If you’ve ever seen one million letters, you know how we felt when we tried to handle the overwhelming response! It was exhausting! Our home, which was both our office and our sanctuary, became like a factory, with people helping us to process the mail; eventually having to return thousands of orders to customers with our deepest regrets that we could not, in all fairness to them, delay their order. The onslaught of mail had forced us to do this.
We were all working from 7 AM until 1 or 2 AM, the next morning, just to open and read the mail. Our phone bill had been buried in some of that mail and in a month’s time, being something like 23 to 24 days behind in opening the mail, our phone was shut off for non-payment of our bill.
As soon as we realized what the mail was doing to us, we tried to get Donahue’s people to stop the continued scheduled showings of our appearance. But that show remained on their repeat schedule for almost a year, playing in the Panama Canal zone, Greenland, Iceland, Australia and on hundreds of small-town stations.
Most of the letters requested a sheet of ‘free’ recipes that were included with the order blank [in exchange] for a self-addressed stamped envelope… The offer would have been good for us, if it had only been shown that one time – the day on which we appeared on the show – but for nearly a year afterward, the requests still came, as did the complaints and the threats to report us to postal authorities for not having sent those ‘free’ recipes, tore us apart emotionally and physically!
Some people did not include their self-addressed-stamped envelope. Some envelopes were addressed to themselves, such as Joe Smith, but in care of OUR address instead of THEIR address. It was a confusing mess! Some people wrote threatening letters that they hadn’t received their orders and were turning us over to the postmaster general as frauds!
I laid my head on my desk many a time, in tears of anguish and fatigue. The family was falling apart. We couldn’t print our books fast enough, to fill all the orders! Then the post office, in delivering the thousands of books that we DID mail out, lost some, destroyed some, and delayed and even miss-directed other orders.
For most of the year, following that 1981 appearance, our family faced the most chaotic time in the 40-year history of Dad and Mom’s family-operated, dining room table, cottage-style operation. We were definitely not set up for that massive response! Secret RecipesTM was really just a FAMILY AFFAIR!
Other than a full-time Administrative Assistant, who was also a family friend, it was just my parents that took care of the day-to-day operations of their publishing and mail-order business. Every now and then, they’d need me and my siblings for a little extra help. That is, until the summer of 1981! Then my parents needed to bring in a lot of extra help! Even some of my high school friends were asked to temporarily help out with the extra mail that was coming in, as well as going out.
We sent out hundreds of thousands of Mom’s “free recipes and product-ordering information” sheets, in exchange for the self-addressed stamped envelopes that people sent in, per the offer that aired on that Donahue episode. We were also sending out thousands of more newsletter issues than before, because of the extra subscription orders that came back from those “free sheet” mailings.
However, as hectic as it was, in the end, it opened a lot of doors for “The Recipe DetectiveTM” that might never have otherwise happened. It brought Mom’s unique style of “copycat cookery” to the attention of MILLIONS of eyes around the world, as that 1981 episode re-ran for about six months or so after its original air-date, on July 7th!
Feb. 1988 – This was Mom’s first appearance on ABC’s “Home” show (Los Angeles, CA) with host, Rob Weller. It was set up by Mom’s long-time friend, Carol Duvall. The show surprised Mom with meeting Wally Amos in person!
May 1990 – Mom did another at-home-interview – this time with CNN News on Memorial Day, plus they came back the next day to tape even more.
Oct. 1990 – This was Mom’s first appearance on the Kelly & Company show with, hosts, John Kelly and Marilyn Turner of WXYZ-TV, Channel 7 (Detroit, MI).
Mar. 19, 1991 – This was Mom’s second appearance on ABC’s Home show (Los Angeles, CA), with Carol Duvall. For Mom, it did not seem to go as well as the first appearance.
May 8, 1991 – This was Mom’s second appearance on the Kelly & Company show with, hosts, John Kelly and Marilyn Turner of WXYZ-TV, Channel 7 (Detroit, MI).
Surprisingly, in 1993, when the “Donahue” people called again, Mom agreed to return for another episode but only under the condition that the show not give out any contact information for Secret RecipesTM or our family. That stipulation inadvertently resulted in a record-breaking event for the Donahue Show, as its most requested transcript of all time, SHATTERING its previous record!
The Donahue Show sent Mom a congratulatory letter and plaque to commemorate the historic event. It’s unfortunate that the show ended it’s 29-year stretch (1967-1996) a few years later. There are recordings of that 1993, hour-long episode on YouTube, in a series of 5 “grainy” segments. I just wish I knew where I could find a recording or transcript from Mom’s 1981 appearance. If anyone reading this knows, PLEASE, email me at: firstname.lastname@example.org!
1993 – “Ask Mike” was an infomercial developed by Guthie-Renker Corp. (also, produced & directed by Positive Response Television) for Secret RecipesTM and the Recipe DetectiveTM, including food demonstrations and guest appearances by Wally Amos, as “the-man-in-the-street”, conducting blind taste test with random people. Our family received copies of the infomercial when it was finished but it never aired on television; and Mom decided to never do television shows, again, after that experience.
‘I had found that television appearances were merely food demonstrations that I did not enjoy experiencing. I enjoyed my radio work more, and the number of stations on which I had become a regular participant had grown to include over 100 across the country and in Canada.’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 298)]
ONE LAST THOUGHT
Mom believed that life’s best experiences often came out life’s biggest disappointments by, simply, turning “a let-down into a set-up” for something else – something better – something out there, through the opened window. She also believed that every new day was a turning point and that each experience (good and bad, alike) eventually contributed in some way to our growth and happiness. For that Mom was always grateful.
‘…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 over-work… You certainly won’t hear opportunity knocking at the front door if you are in the backyard, looking for four-leaf clovers.’– Gloria Pitzer [As seen in… My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 4)].