Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Faith, Hope, & Love

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

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalMonthOfHope

Last week, I discussed turning points in Mom’s life that directed her journey to being The Recipe DetectiveTM. Mom always accredited these turning points, which she often referred to as “meant-to-be’s”, to being part of God’s plan for her. Mom’s faith was a HUGE part of who she was!

Everything Mom wrote contained messages of faith, hope, and love that she referred to as “food for the soul” – interwoven with a bushel-and-a-peck of humor, her “Food for Thought” articles (from columns she used to syndicate), and “food for the table” recipes. The combination, along with Mom’s other artistic talents, set her publishings apart from any other’s!

In sharing her story and legacy of being The Recipe DetectiveTM, since this is the National Month of Hope, I thought I should also incorporate stories of Mom’s own faith, hope, and love; since that’s just as much a part of who she was, as were her writing and other talents.

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. 104-105)

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE HEALING

MY OLDER SISTER, Hazel, was about 12-years old when [the doctors] told Dad she had polio and probably would not live more than a year. Medical science had done all it could for her. She was unable to eat, to even get out of bed, and she was frail and weak…

Dad was clinging to just a thread of hope and willing to try anything that would help Hazel recover. He once told her, he would if he could, give her diamonds if she would just eat again, like a normal child. Finally, he took a step that turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to our family, and to Hazel.

Dad had known of a cousin who had become a serious student of Christian Science having studied under its founder, Mary Baker Eddy, in Boston, when the cousin was quite young. Dad knew that his cousin had experienced some remarkable healing through the study of this Science, so he took a chance that a visit to her might offer him some hope that Hazel could also be healed of polio through it…

It certainly was a turning point in their lives, for within a year she was completely recovered, restored to perfect health, without even a trace of a limp – no braces on her legs, no crutches. The medical authorities who had originally discharged her from school, readmitted her with astonishment and disbelief.

From that time on, Dad was absolutely devoted to the study of Christian Science, and it was my mother’s deep and abiding faith that served to then inspire me in my adult years, as she also adopted it as her own [faith] when she married my dad. Dad could never understand why any of his children would stray from its teachings as we reached adulthood.

But how proud he would be, today, to see that we have returned to it, without so much as even a backward glance or entertaining any regrets. Each new day is unfoldment and inspiration, finding new meaning to life because of a broader outlook, a deeper sense of prayerful appreciation for God’s perfect plan for each one of us!

PERFECT PRESCRIPTION

A few years ago [in the mid-1980s], in fact, I learned that neither magic nor medicine could make my problems go away, nor even relieve me, temporarily, from physical torment and mental anguish. Doctors and tests and expensive medication did not help.

So, in desperation, I turned again to that faith by which I had been raised, discarding then and there every material, medical aid; much of which I was addicted to in the form of tranquilizers and sleeping aids.

I dumped it all into the garbage, one day – the cigarettes, of which I smoked nearly 3 packs a day for years; and all of the assorted kinds of alcohol, to which I had come to depend so much on, and without which at night I could not fall asleep, along with the medication the doctor said would never cure whatever it was that physically weakened me for several years and caused my heart to race periodically without warning.

The medicine that was supposed to help me was, instead, making me helpless. I sat down on the steps of the office and cried. I told Paul I could not go on like that any longer. So I phoned a friend who was a Christian Scientist and I asked her to give me the name and phone number of a registered practitioner from her Journal, which she did.

I called one, asking him if he would take my case. He did and it was the beginning for me of a brand-new life. Day by day, moment by moment, since that turning point I returned to normal health and energy, progressively free from the many unresolved fears and pain that seem to preoccupy me for such a long time. One step after the other, I gained confidence, courage and character. My cup runneth over and over and over!

A lot of stories Mom wrote were about finding the blessings in any given day or moment; good and bad, alike. That’s just how she was raised, being grateful for something, everyday – not just for Life’s gifts, but also for Life’s challenges. That which she confronted and overcame, empowered her to do more rather than discouraged her to fail. Failure was never an option Mom’s faith would allow in!

Besides being grateful for something every day, Mom would also strive to learn something new every day. She looked at every day as a defining moment, in which the combination of experience, faith, and knowledge can positively influence one’s personal evolutions.

Mom was a devout Christian – born and bred in the Christian Science faith, with Jewish and Lutheran influences, as well. No matter what the problems and struggles she faced, she never lost hope that it was all a part of “God’s plan” for her. She would always try to find something, from which to learn and for which to be grateful.

‘You have not failed until you quit trying.’ Gordon B. Hinckley

Mom held fast to hope, faith, and love; trudging through whatever she had to face, to get where she needed to be. Mom not only wrote daily about her faith in her personal journals but also in all of her cookbooks and newsletters. She shared it publicly and openly, with hopes of inspiring others – to be a candle, if not a lighthouse!

LAST THOUGHTS…

Happiness is a state of thought. It begins with gratitude for all we’ve already received and achieved – not with what we ‘own’ or the ‘things’… – Gloria Pitzer, as seen in Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM  Newsletter, Issue #218 (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Nov. 2000, p. 5)

Happy Easter (in advance)!

IN CLOSING…

In honor of TODAY, being National Pet Day, here are some of Mom’s secret recipes for homemade pet foods. Having been part of her original catalog of 200+ recipe cards, they were reprinted in her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 44).

#NationalPetDay

By the way, National Pet Parents Day is coming soon, too!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

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

As the second full week of April (2022), it’s also… National Library Week, which includes… National Education and Sharing Day (today), National Library Workers Day (Tuesday), National Bookmobile Day (Wednesday), and National Library Workers Day (Saturday)!

Today is also… National Cheese Fondue Day and National Submarine Day!

April 12th is… National Colorado Day, National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day, and National Licorice Day! 

April 13th is… National Make Lunch Count Day, National Peach Cobbler Day, and National Scrabble Day!

April 14th is… National Gardening Day, National Reach as High as You Can Day, and National Look Up at the Sky Day! It’s also… National Pecan Day AND National Pecan Month! Thus, here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitation of Pecan Pie, Like Big Boy’s!

#NationalPecanDay#NationalPecanMonth

April 15th is… National Banana Day, National Glazed Spiral Ham Day, National Rubber Eraser Day, and Good Friday (for 2022)!

April 16th is… National Eggs Benedict Day!

April 17th is… National Ellis Island Family History Day, National Cheeseball Day, and Easter (for 2022)! Plus, as the start of the third full week of April (2022), it’s also… National Volunteer Week; which goes with April being National Volunteer Month, too!

#TGIM

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

…15 down and 37 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Turning Points

Happy Monday and happy April! I love Mondays, as they’re my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

Every day is a new day – a turning point, a gift, an opportunity! Each one has something to celebrate! Celebrating develops gratitude, which creates “turning points” for attitudes. Likewise, it generates a greater enjoyment of what we already have. As Ava Freeman wrote in one of her beautiful paintings (circa 1980s), ‘Every new day offers many gifts… Untie the ribbons!

Did you know that today is, among other things, National Hug a Newsperson Day? Mom worked as a newsperson and syndicated columnist for years before developing her recipe business. Every day was a turning-point-opportunity to Mom. I wish I could hug her! Her newspaper days were among the many turning points in her life that lead to her becoming The Recipe DetectiveTM.

Long before that, when Mom was 10, she saw the 1946 movie, Devotion (about the lives of the Bronte sisters), which created her own personal devotion to daily journaling. That was the first turning point for Mom, in becoming a writer. As a teenager and young adult, every story she wrote, for the various contests she entered and won, usually had something to do with food. Mom accredited these to being turning points in her journey as a writer.

Another major turning point came in the early 1970s, when Mom left her job (as a columnist at a local newspaper), to go home and start her own business with her groundbreaking concept of copycat cookery. That, in itself, was also a major turning point in the food industry!

All the media exposure Mom received from newspapers, magazines, radio, and TV talk shows, were more turning points in her growth and notoriety as The Recipe DetectiveTM. The most influential of all was probably The Phil Donahue Show, on which she appeared twice! Each time, the episodes were re-run around the world, with an over-whelming response!

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, pp. 299-300). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

THE PHIL DONAHUE SHOW

SURPRISE – A DREAM COME TRUE!

If you’ve ever seen 1 million letters, you know how we felt when we tried to handle the overwhelming response [from our July 7, 1981, appearance on The Phil Donahue Show, in Chicago]! 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 the orders to the 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 for a self-addressed stamped envelope to us. 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 mis-directed other orders.

I remembered what Dick Syatt, one of our radio friends, had told me about finally getting everything you ever wanted, when he said, ‘Hell is God, giving you what you thought you wanted.’ Sometimes we need to have something, lose it and get it back again before we can really appreciate what we have. I had that chance, and I am so glad for it. It was [a turning point] a time to learn and to grow.

Mom claimed that one important “turning point” in her recipe work was the influence she got from Col. Sanders, himself, during one of her radio show visits on a Dallas station. His suggestion of finding one supermarket product for his “secret herbs and spices” made her fried chicken recipe more like the one he originally developed.

Mom shared her famous imitations (as she developed more than one version) of his chicken, during each of her appearances on The Phil Donahue Show. She humorously insisted that (with either version) the Colonel would’ve been a General if he had used her recipes!

Other imitations she shared in her ‘Donahue’ appearances included her Recess Peanut Butter Cups, Gloreo Cookies, Hopeless Twinkles, Hopeless Filled Cupcakes, Quacker Jack, White Tassel Hamburgers, Big Match Sauce, Wednesday’s Chili, and Wednesday’s Frosty Drink. [See the “Recipes” tab for these.]

At one time or another, these were all on Mom’s “free sheet” – a dozen or so copycat recipes that she gave away in exchange for self-addressed-stamped-envelopes, including ordering information for her newsletters and the cookbooks she had in print.

Friday is the 29th anniversary of Mom’s SECOND appearance on The Phil Donahue Show (1993), which SMASHED national records for transcript requests – since Mom and Dad insisted that the show NOT give out any of their contact information; creating another turning point, not only for Secret RecipesTM, but also for Journal Graphics and The Phil Donahue Show!

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

By Gloria Pitzer, January 1996 (unpublished)

THE PHIL DONAHUE SHOW, AGAIN!

ON APRIL 8, 1993, we accepted the invitation to appear for the SECOND time on ‘The Phil Donahue Show’, with one provision – they would promise not to give any information as to our whereabouts. It was a one-of-a-kind experience that is still talked about, remembered, and known for having broken all records in transcripts sold, as well as video tapes of ‘The Recipe Detective’, as provided by Journal Graphics in Denver, CO.

The reason this show could never again be equaled was because of the spontaneous, un-rehearsed, energetic give-and-take between the audience, Phil Donahue, and myself as we spent the hour ‘live’, preparing 10… of my ‘Secret Recipes’.

The show was so well received it was rerun in June of 1994. Perhaps the reason I’ve declined other TV show invitations, which included Letterman, is that I would rather people remember how well my last TV appearance went than to have them see a show that was not as well presented as Donahue’s.

Unique to the April 1993 show was the unity we all felt as… I worked with the staff, crew, producers, and every person in the backstage kitchen to put those… recipes together. Molly Fowler had shopped for all of the food and gave every dish we did a special touch, along with the efforts of Executive Producer, Pat McMilan, and Program Producer, Donna Wright… even Joe, who had met us when we were in Chicago [1981] for the FIRST appearance.

It was a beautiful reunion and the plaque that they received for their success with it, was later passed on to us, with deepest appreciation. We did the show for the honor of being a part of it rather than to drum up sales and that made it special. The prayers that reinforced the energy, cooperation, and harmony of the entire production blessed everyone involved.

Journal Graphics’ Vice-President called us two days after the telecast to tell us they had sold some 1,000 transcripts for the most popular show before ours, which was Ross Perot; but, in two days, our show had sold 50,000… transcripts and some 3,000 videos. It was up to half a million in a few months – the most ever sold of any show in the history of that company.

LAST THOUGHTS…

ALSO 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. 41)

EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY!

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 ‘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!

IN CLOSING…

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

Since it’s National Pecan Month, here’s Mom’s imitation of Butter Pecan Bark, like Sanders’; from her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 233). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).]

#NationalPecanMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

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

Today is also… National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day, National School Librarian Day, and National Vitamin C Day!

Tomorrow is… Gold Star Spouses Day, National Caramel Day, National Deep Dish Pizza Day, National Nebraska Day, and National Raisin and Spice Bar Day!

April 6th is… National Twinkie Day, National Caramel Popcorn Day, and National Teflon Day! Plus, as the first Wednesday in April (for 2022), it’s also… National Walking Day!

#TwinkieDay

April 7th is… National Beer Day, National Coffee Cake Day and National No Housework Day! Mom would LOVE celebrating this! Plus, as the first Thursday in April (for 2022), it’s also… National Burrito Day!

April 8th is… National All is Ours Day!

April 9th is… National Chinese Almond Cookie Day!

April 10th is… National Cinnamon Crescent Day, National Encourage a Young Writer Day, and National Siblings Day! Plus, as the start of the second full week in April, it’s also… National Library Week!

#TGIM

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

…14 down and 38 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Cleaning Week Is Here

Happy Monday and happy National Cleaning Week! I look forward to Cleaning Week as much as I do Mondays. And if you know me, you know I LOVE Mondays! They’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalCleaningWeek

Yesterday (the fourth Sunday in March) kicked-off National Cleaning Week! I’ve mentioned before that this isn’t something Mom would’ve celebrated. Dad might have, though. They always seemed to balance each other out! Mom joked about the impending disaster that would happen if she left Dad home alone with us kids.

However, before he met Mom, Dad was in the air force for a few years; and he was no stranger to cleaning chores when he was growing up, either. Dad taught me how to make my bed properly. He’d say, “a quarter should bounce on it!” Out of all the household chores, Mom hated making the bed, overall, and Dad hated “KP duty”. Again, they balanced each other out!

Even though there are calorie-burning benefits involved, Mom still didn’t like cleaning! It’s not that she didn’t do it – she just didn’t like it. My parents were, both, brought up in a generation that did what they “had to”, like it or not. Keeping a clean home was just something they were taught to do as responsible, civilized people.

When I was growing up, my siblings and I had to keep our rooms clean and our beds made. We earned an allowance, doing extra chores. My sisters and I helped Mom with the inner housework, while our brothers helped Dad with the yard and other maintenance projects, as well as taking out the trash. Back then, our 50 cents a week allowance went a long way at the penny candy counter of our neighborhood convenience store.

Before Women’s Lib developed in the1960s (and in many ways, still, today), cooking and cleaning were deemed “woman’s work”. Call me weird, but I actually grew to like cleaning. I feel a sense of accomplishment, in keeping a clean home.

I’m a little OCD – my family teases me that, in my case, it’s CDO because I like things alphabetical (and numerical) – so it’s no surprise that organizing is one of my favorite “hobbies”. Mom had her own system for organizing and I totally messed it up one time when I thought I was doing her a favor, organizing her desk. Afterward, she got the sign pictured below.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in… “No Laughing Matter”; a syndicated column by Gloria Pitzer

(date unknown; circ. 1970s)

GIVE ME LIBERTY OR…

WITH ALL DUE RESPECT to Women’s Lib, I don’t think they can help me. I think they’ve done enough for me already! Frankly, I think I was doing alright before they came along. At least I could get a seat on a bus. Now I’m lucky if a man will offer to hold my packages for me.

I can also remember when cutting the grass was considered “man’s work”. These days my husband flips me two-out-of-three to see which of us gets the lawn mower and who will fix the iced tea and sit on the patio chair to watch.

Last week, I was visited by a new militant group of women in our neighborhood who are protesting the proposed 4-day work week for MEN. They advocated a simple test. If you cannot get through a two-week vacation and the Christmas holidays with a man who over-waters your house plants and alphabetizes your refrigerator then how can you get through a three-day weekend, 52 weeks out of the year?

For you must then decide if you have to run the sweeper [aka: vacuum] while he’s taking a nap, or does he have to take a nap while you’re running the sweeper. Arguing with a husband (especially when he’s your own), is like taking a shower/bath in a scuba outfit. But I have a theory!

There are some things in this liberated life, which a woman just cannot control. You have tasted instant failure when neither of you can agree on who gets custody of the only controls on the electric blanket; and if it’s fair that she who makes the garbage must also carry it out; and whose mother calls more – yours or his?

This is the same man who warned me not to go into labor on his bowling night and who, on Christmas, gave me a monogrammed tool box and a gift certificate from Sunoco for an oil change and lube job, and a can of Easy-Off in my stocking.

The liberating females of our society have missed the joy of knowing what it means to live with a man who claims he’s always out of socks, but YOU know there are two more pairs in the drawer and [of course] only YOU can find them!

Most husbands are generally quite liberal with their wives in spite of the ‘Lib Movement’… I’ll have you know that my husband has always allowed me to make all sorts of important decisions – like: ‘Does that child need a nap?’ ‘Should that baby have her pants changed?’ ‘Do you really need another new pant suit?’ ‘Must your mother call here every day?’ ‘Should we recognize Red China?’ ‘Will they find Howard Hughes?’

The only liberation I want is to get away from the kids once in a while, without having the school counselor label me as a parent who doesn’t care. When you cannot free yourself from the oven encased in molten lasagna and apple pie fossils, you know that liberation is but a piper’s dream in your soap opera saga.

On the other hand, my husband takes a realistic approach to my emancipation. He claims women have never had it so good… (What does HE know?) His trying to tell me about women’s rights is like trying to tell General Eisenhower about World War II. However, I look at it this way: ‘Either give me liberty… OR GIVE ME A CLEANING LADY!

LAST THOUGHTS…

If you don’t like to clean, as Mom didn’t, make it less intimidating. Break it down into smaller tasks, doing only one room at a time. Don’t forget to take personal breaks! I start by cleaning the ceilings first, especially around crown moldings, light fixtures, and fans. Then I move to the walls, door and window moldings, picture frames, shelves, and other decorations. I follow that by cleaning lamps, table tops, and other furniture; leaving the floor for last.

Plus, if the achievement, itself, isn’t reward enough; create something that is. Thirty minutes of doing various household chores, vigorously, can burn numerous amounts of calories. According to 20 Everyday Activities and the Calories They Burn, by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd. (HowStuffWorks.com) you can, in 30 minutes, burn 252 calories moving furniture, 153 mopping, 84 sweeping and/or vacuuming, 80 dusting, 74 making dinner, and 72 folding laundry.

IN CLOSING…

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

Since today is National Something on a Stick Day, here are Mom’s copycat recipes for Corn Dogs & Fresh’s Mild Mustard; as seen in her last book… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, pp. 110 & 23). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].

#SomethingOnAStickDay

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

March is still celebrating, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Women’s History Month, and National Sauce Month! Moreover, it’s unofficially Maple Sugaring Month!

Today is also… National Black Forest Cake Day!

Tomorrow is… National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day, National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day, and National Nevada Day!

Wednesday, March 30th is… National Take a Walk in the Park Day, National I Am in Control Day, National Pencil Day, National Turkey Neck Soup Day, and National Virtual Vacation Day!

Thursday, March 31st is… National Bunsen Burner Day, National Clams on the Half Shell Day, National Crayon Day, and National Tater Day!

Friday is the beginning of April, which observes, among other things… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Volunteer Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and Stress Awareness Month!

Additionally, April 1st is… April Fool’s Day, National One Cent Day, and National Sourdough Bread Day!

April 2nd is… National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day and National Reconciliation Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in April (for 2022), it’s also…  National Love Our Children Day, National Play Outside Day, and National Handmade Day!

Sunday, April 3rd is… National Chocolate Mousse Day and World Party Day! Plus, as the start of the first full week of April (2022), it’s also… National Public Health Week!

#TGIM

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

…13 down and 39 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Tips For Branding Yourself

Happy Monday and happy spring! I look forward to Mondays every week, as they’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!

#TheRecipeDetective

There’s an endless list of advice and tips, on the web, for how to do just about anything. I recently learned about how to brand yourself, as well as your business. The branding concept, itself, isn’t new but the process has evolved. Most businesses began by getting people to know who they were, where to find them, and what they offered. Customer service begets customer loyalty.

The accessibility of internet for the masses has certainly evolved the methods for creating or building a brand. Especially in the last couple of years, due to the pandemic and an increase in internet usage for just about everything from shopping to working/schooling. With new social media platforms popping up, more and more people are branding themselves and launching their own home-based businesses. I’ve narrowed the consensus of tips I’ve found to “my favorite five” for here.

 1. DEFINE YOUR BRAND…

This is simply expressing who you are and what you stand for. It’s the new “first impression” people get when they “Google” your name. You are your brand. Just as my mom’s name, Gloria Pitzer, was synonymous with “The Recipe DetectiveTM”. That was how she defined her brand of investigating coveted, secret recipes for her copycat cookery concept.

Nowadays, the objective is to make yourself known to the masses through the internet; connecting directly and in almost real time, around the globe, with current and potential clients, colleagues, and friends – consistently building on these relationships.

Branding yourself not only keeps you current, which can open doors for you; but, if done right, it can also create a lasting impression. The question is: What do you want to be known for? Establishing who you are and how you come across to others are really important factors to successful branding.

Creating a personal brand is not a quick process. Goldie Chan summed it up well in her wonderful article, 10 Golden Rules of Branding (Nov. 8, 2018), as seen at Forbes.com. She wrote: “Even Oprah Winfrey began by going through several style iterations on a small local show before defining her voice into one of the most influential personal brands in the world.”

Goldie also shared some great advice from Adam Smiley Poswolsky, the author of The Breakthrough Speaker (20s & 30s Press; September 2018), who she says took “it one step further when he’s advising speakers: ‘Carve a niche, and then carve a niche within your niche. The best personal brands are very specific.’” It’s a few years old, but I recommend the read!

In the mid-1980s, Mom made a new niche within her own ground-breaking, copycat cookery concept, when she came up with her own “short-cuts” concept, as well; using mayonnaise in place of oil and eggs, for example, or a cake mix in place of the many dry ingredients in cookies.

Mom’s 3-to-5-ingredient short-cut recipes for imitating some of her imitations became a whole new sensation! When my dad found out he was diabetic, Mom revamped her recipes, again, to accommodate those watching their sugar and carb intake but still wanting to indulge in their favorite dishes.

 2. BECOME AN EXPERT IN YOUR FIELD

Follow a successful example. All the greats were inspired by someone else! An effective brand can go a long way with self-promotion, loyalty, consistency, and quality. In the beginning, try to avoid being a Jack-of-all-trades and focus on your specialty, first, whatever it may be.

With experience comes expertise. Mom always wanted to be a writer and journaled daily for over 70 years. However, she believed she was directed by a higher power to write about recipes and other homemaking topics. Faithfully, she did.

 3. MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN

Build a consistent online presence on various social media platforms and through your own, personal, website and/or blog. Purchasing your full name as a domain name (yourfullname.com) is a great way to do this. But it should be separate from your company’s website, including your picture, bio, email address, and links to other sites where you’re active (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, etc.).

Mom didn’t have the advantage of the internet over 50 years ago, when she started branding herself and what she had to offer as a syndicated columnist (before she even started her Secret RecipesTM legacy). She mailed her “branding” promotions to various newspapers and magazines. Later, she branched out to radio and television “talk shows”.

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

[CIRCA 1973] I ENLISTED THE HELP of the children. I was taking in ironing at the time, at about $5 a basket and sometimes I would earn as much is $50 a week. The money was supposed to supplement Paul’s paycheck, which – as soon as we found could make ends meet, discovered somebody had moved the ends.

So I took what money I could from the ironing earnings and kept the paper, ink and other supplies in stock in order to produce what was necessary to complete the newsletter. I cut the stencils on my typewriter, added the drawings and fashioned a literary ‘silk purse out of a sow’s ear’, as my dad would’ve said.

The utility room, which was in the back of the house and looked out over the yard and the long driveway to the road was a perfect position to be in when it was time for Paul to arrive home from work at the end of the day.

I would post the kids at the window to watch for Daddy so that I could be able to get everything put away and out of sight. I could not tell him what I was doing until I could assure him that it was paying for itself and that I was not going to lose money.

For nine months I mimeographed, assembled and mailed out about 100 copies a month of my newsletter, the names of the subscribers having come from letters I kept from readers of my columns and from names and addresses given in other magazines where folks were looking for recipes.

I mimeographed my own business cards and, as I have already told you, had no qualities at all about cutting them out and inserting them into cookbooks in bookstores or department stores, leaving them in phone booths, in ladies’ restrooms in restaurants or wherever I might find a likely audience. You must take every opportunity when you start out. Some ideas work. Some don’t.

We tread a rather steep path when we attempt to wish on everyone what seems a solution to our own problems. It actually takes courage to think for oneself in a world which appears to have more than its share of profits of despair. I wasn’t listening to any of them. I had my listening thoughts tuned into Angel messages that were leading me in a happier direction. I was never willing to give up. I’m still not!

[SEPTEMBER 1974] 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.

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 CK-TV, 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!’

The Dennis Wholley appearance was November 14, our daughter Lori’s [10th] birthday. We had to be at the studio an hour before airtime and the drive there was over an hour, in a blizzard… All was well, however, when we arrived at the studio. We were sharing the Wholley show with the newly elected mayor of Detroit, Coleman Young.

It was amusing, to say the least, that somebody mistook Paul for one of Mayor Young’s bodyguards because of the rather obvious bulge in the pocket of Paul’s coat. Somebody behind us, in the studio hall, whispered to someone else (and I overheard), ‘That blonde fellow is probably carrying a gun. See his pocket bulging?’

What it was, in Paul’s pocket, was the autograph book that Debbie had given her dad to have signed for her, because she had to be in school and could not go to the studio with us. Probably the rest of Pearl Beach was gathered at the post office in front of the television set to watch us that morning. It was a thrilling experience… Then several weeks later, was 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 for processing the orders. He could see that I could not do it alone. Every evening and 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.

 4. GENERATE AWARENESS THROUGH NETWORKING

This can be accomplished by connecting, not competing, with other professionals in the same industry. You can also use social media networks, commenting on posts and blogs. Form relationships to grow your business and brand. Again, that’s not a new concept either but the manner in which it’s done has come a long way in the past 50 years.

Nowadays, for networking, you join and participate in virtual groups, in almost real-time; along with instant messaging and emailing. Way-back-when, Mom joined and participated in groups, live-and-in-person. Her favorite was the Michigan Federation of Press Women – of which she was a member for MANY years. Otherwise, you talked to each other through land-line phones or wrote each other, using the U.S. Postal Service (aka: “snail mail”).

 5. GATHER FEEDBACK FROM THOSE WHO KNOW YOU

This can be done at work, at home, in your neighborhood and local communities – anywhere you’re active. Ask those with whom you network what they think your best attributes and core strengths are – they could be honest, creative, funny, generous, etc. Promote and grow those qualities in your brand.

LAST THOUGHTS…

‘Building a personal brand is much bigger than building a business. The only exit strategy is legacy.’ – Blake Jamieson; artist at Blake Jamieson, LLC

Think about what kind of legacy you want to leave behind – because a personal brand is a lifelong project that constantly evolves and changes like life, itself. Both, the Recipe DetectiveTM and Secret RecipesTM, were Mom’s brands, as well as her legacy. I’m proud to share them with the “new” digital generations.

IN CLOSING…

For National Flour Month and National French Bread Day, here are Mom’s tips for Flour Equivalents and her secret recipe for French Bread, including her homemade Cornstarch Glaze; all of which can be found in her self-published cookbook, Top Secret Recipes al’a Carte (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Sept. 1979, p. 23).

#NationalFlourMonth

#NationalFrenchBreadDay

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

#NationalDayCalendar

#TGIM

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

…12 down and 40 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Write Down Your Story

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

#TheRecipeDetective

#WriteDownYourStoryDay

Today is National Write Down Your Story Day! This is me – I’ve always loved to write, draw, and create/craft things (like Mom), since I was a young girl. Skills in the arts seem to run in my family’s bloodline. If there is such a thing as an artistic gene, my family seems to be blessed with it.

Art, writing, and creativity were always encouraged and nurtured by our parents, grandparents, aunts & uncles – whenever we created anything. Mom inspired me in so many ways…as a writer, artist, crafter, homemaker, cook, mother, teacher… The list goes on.

Except for a few of my teen years, when I thought I knew more than she did, I was always amazed at how Mom managed to start her own business and juggle all of those other responsibilities and hobbies; along with a husband, 5 kids, and a dog for which to care.

During the last few years of Mom’s life, I got to know her in a whole new way – one that I missed out on in my self-centered teen years. That was when I helped her re-write her favorite, self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (1982), so it could be re-published for a new digital generation, by someone else this time.

For decades, Mom didn’t want any of her cookbooks to be published by a company that wanted to change her creations. But times changed, lives changed, situations changed, and attitudes changed. After much research, the publisher we chose for the project (Balboa Press) didn’t want to change much of anything.

I had to edit a few illustrations (because of their likeness to KFC’s “Colonel”). That wasn’t an issue to Mom. However, they also wanted to change the book’s title (as it too closely resembled Betty Crocker’s title). At first, we thought this was going to be a deal-breaker.

I couldn’t get Balboa to understand that imitation was the premise of the whole book, including the title. They wouldn’t budge – so Mom and I collaborated on another title by simply re-arranging the words on the cover of the original book. That was close enough to a new imitation of the original imitation, so Mom was happy.

Additionally, I had to change the recipes’ layout a little bit because of the digital revolution and printed format we chose for the final product. Mom and I also decided to omit some parts of the original book due to outdated information or something else. Years ago, Mom would’ve said, “Never! I’m not changing a thing!”

Over the years she found that it’s better to go with the flow than swim against the tide. Re-reading Mom’s creative “Food for Thought” articles and discussing them with her during the re-write process, brought us closer together, in a whole new way. Mom’s favorite thing in life was to write. She also loved to mentor those who shared her love!

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop (Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 75)

ASPIRE TO INSPIRE

We embrace the challenge to inspire…The care and concern that an author has for their readers is part of the pleasure of presenting interesting ideas in either an entertaining way or in an informative way. I try to balance my own presentations between the two.

When I am broadcasting over the numerous radio stations around the country, sometimes around the world, I try to lift the listener to a new height of interest and enthusiasm, and I leave the serious side of nutrition to the experts, who have the medical background to support their claims.

My hope is to present my recipes in such a way that cooking is a joy and never a job! I try to present these recipes with the same concern as I do giving a gift to a special friend. Each of our 5 children, who have grown up helping Paul and me with these recipes, have gone out into the world with this legacy of love and enthusiasm. We can only hope that they use what we have given them.

‘When you’re wishing for a happier, fuller life, a life with real meaning, there’s a need to remain steadfastly receptive to intuitions & inspirations that whisper to the listening thought of hope & courage.’ – Gloria Pitzer [as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (St. Clair, MI; Issue 183, Nov-Dec 1997; p. 10)

I can only hope I’ve made Mom proud of what I’m doing with her legacy of love… especially regarding these blog posts, her website content, and her last cookbook. I’m trying to develop and promote them, in her memory and honor, with the love and passion that she inspired in me. I’ll be honest, though – while I love to write, promoting and selling are not my forte, as they were Mom’s.

One of my favorite and youngest memories of me & Mom is when she taught me how to write the alphabet and my name, from how to hold the pencil to how to draw the letters to how to form the words by putting those wonderful letters together.

Much like Mom, when I was growing up, I was always drawing, reading, and writing little stories, as well as a lot of poetry. English was also my favorite subject throughout school. I always loved the essay assignments the most!

Me and Mom

My road block, however, is promoting and selling; which is much more of a learning process for me, while it just seemed to come naturally for Mom. Luckily, I love to learn! Another one of the things Mom inspired in me is my passion to learn – she’d always say, “learn something new every day!”

Nowadays, knowledge is literally and instantaneously at our finger tips! For most of my life, I was a bookworm. I continue to love the hard copy in my hands; but now, I’m also a world-wide-web-worm! There’s so much out there from which to learn!

But you have to be self-motivated and self-inspired to grab the book or the computer and open the “pages” and just read, soaking it up like a sponge! Of course, you also have to be able to differentiate between what’s fact and what’s fiction; but that’s a discussion for another time.

LAST THOUGHTS…

‘In doing our best, we run into road blocks we hadn’t counted on; and it is not the falls we take that make the difference, but how well we recover and continue on that matters.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop (Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. xi)

IN CLOSING…

In honor of TODAY, being National Potato Chip Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Rough All’s Without Ridges, plus 2 chip coating flavors; as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Second Helping Of Secret Recipes (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1977, p. 5).

#NationalPotatoChipDay

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

March observes, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, National Women’s History Month, and National Sauce Month! Unofficially, it’s also Maple Sugaring Month!

Additionally, National Procrastination Week is the first two weeks in March, which is either the 1st-14th or the 6th-19th (if it’s the first two FULL weeks)! Basically, you can put this observance off until whenever it’s convenient for you!

Today is… National Children’s Craft Day, National Learn About Butterflies Day, and National Pi Day! Plus, as the day after Daylight Savings Time Day (for 2022), it’s also… National Napping Day!

Tomorrow is… American Legion Birthday, National Everything You Think is Wrong Day, National Kansas Day, National Pears Helene Day, and National Shoe the World Day!

Wednesday, March 16th is… National Artichoke Hearts Day, Everything You Do Is Right Day, and National Freedom of Information Day!

Thursday, March 17th is… National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day and St. Patrick’s Day! Thus, here are re-shares of Mom’s Corned Brief and The Reuben According To Julia Lega!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

Friday, March 18th is… National Awkward Moments Day, National Lacy Oatmeal Cookie Day, and National Sloppy Joe Day!

March 19th is… National Certified Nurses Day, National Chocolate Caramel Day, National Let’s Laugh Day, and National Poultry Day! Additionally, as the third Saturday in March (for 2022), it’s also… National Quilting Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of March Madness, which changes annually [March 13th-April 4th (2022)], it’s also… National Corn Dog Day!

[NOTE: March 19th is also the 31st anniversary of Mom’s SECOND appearance on ABC’s “Home” show (in 1991), with Carol Duvall!]

Sunday, March 20th is… World Flour Day, National Proposal Day, National Ravioli Day, and Spring Begins (for 2022)!

#TGIM

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

…11 down and 41 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Maple Madness

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

#TheRecipeDetective

#MapleSugaringMonth

#PureMichigan

March is Maple Sugaring Month! It’s not an official, national observance; however, making maple sugar and syrup is a big event that Michiganders enjoy, along with other mid-west and eastern states. Unfortunately, the proverbial sugaring window is only open for a short period of time (4-6 weeks).

Sugaring is a process of collecting maple sap and boiling it down into a sugar and/or syrup form. [NOTE: This is NOT the hair-removal process by the same name!] As the official start of spring gets closer, the nights are staying at or below the “freezing point”, while the days are warming-up to about 40°F or so. [That’s warm to Michiganders in March!] These are the ideal conditions required for the maple sap to flow well.

Once the trees start to bud, the sap is no-longer good for sugaring and the season is done. A few years ago, on my local morning news show, there was a great segment by Jill Washburn [aka: “Jill Of All Trades” (March 26, 2019)] about collecting maple tree sap; plus, a simple way to cook down a small batch (2 gallons) for a day or so in a slow cooker, until it renders a thick syrup. I highly recommend watching it!

Two gallons of sap only yields about a half cup of syrup, when all’s done, but there’s such a great feeling of accomplishment in being able to say, “I made it, myself!” Jill Washburn used to do a lot of these wonderful “how to” segments on my local news show. I miss them – she has a great way of making everything seem so easy and simple.

There’s also a terrific article about the longer, traditional method of sugaring that I recommend reading, at the Michigan State University’s Extension’s website, called March Is Maple Syrup Season In Michigan.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

ABUNDANCE

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! 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!

Mom wrote, illustrated and self-published about 40 books (+/-) and penned hundreds of her own newsletter issues. Equally as well, she also wrote and syndicated thousands of columns across the country and for local newspapers during her long writing career.

However, Mom is best known for pioneering the copycat recipes movement back in the early 1970s! When times were tough and we were on the edge of another recession, Mom created the concept of “eating out at home”! It was not only for her own struggling family, but also, for all the others for whom she knew were struggling and looking for answers too!

One of my own personal favorites is called The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979). This book is no longer in print, but I’ve seen used copies on eBay and Amazon. This book taught me how to make some grocery products at home, and how to stretch/extend other products, saving me quite a bit of money on my monthly groceries expense!

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979, p. 4)

THE GOOD OLD DAYS’ GROCERIES

SUPERMARKETS AND GROCERIES have come a long way in 80 years – but, perhaps, it hasn’t all been that wonderful, considering that food continues to increase in cost and quality is being sacrificed for production, promotion, and distribution overhead [costs]. We are not only paying more for the packaging but also for the advertising of a product – more than we are for the item, itself…

BASIC PANTRY FOODS

We can begin making homemade groceries by taking a personal inventory of what our particular preference is when [we] shop for groceries. If you buy quite a few boxed mixes, your food bill is probably 40% higher than it would be if you made your own.

Most of the popular food mixes on the modern-day market are kissing cousins of the same family, beginning with powders that can withstand a short shelf-life or be refrigerated for a longer period and frozen up to a year.

A freezer will be like a family bank vault, in keeping homemade groceries at a savings; and it should be used just as a bank account would be used, making regular deposits toward a future time when the withdrawal is appreciated and needed.

There are so many groceries that you can make at home – especially if you plant the seeds and grow it, yourself! In the past few years, homesteading has found a new revival movement, as health and wellness are coming back to the top of the fundamental “priorities list”.

More and more people are regaining interest in making their own food and OTC health and beauty products. Many even starting new online businesses to sell their homemade products to those who don’t have the time or talents for it, themselves. Of course, nowadays, with the internet, we can order just about anything we want, from just about anywhere, and have it all delivered to our doorsteps! But, sometimes, homemade is just better.

Additionally, there’s also a renewed movement to make a lot of things at home because stores are struggling to keep shelves stocked, due to supply chain problems. Another major reason for making your own mixes and such is that you can control the ingredients and save money, too – that is, as long as you don’t add the value of your time into the equation!

That is, basically, what first inspired Mom to create her copycat concept. Like I mentioned the other week, it was my Grandma Pitzer who first taught Mom about going back to the homemade ingredients concept, in order to save money in the household food budget.

LAST THOUGHTS…

Since it’s also National Flour Month, here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitations for homemade griddlecakes AND syrup (without sugaring) like she once had at a Pancake House.

#NationalFlourMonth

IN CLOSING…

In honor of March, being National Sauce Month, here is Mom’s secret recipe for Rum Sauce; as seen in her self-published cookbook, Secret Knock-Off Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 19).

#NationalSauceMonth

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

March observes, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, and National Women’s History Month!

Additionally, National Procrastination Week is the first two weeks in March, which is either the 1st-14th OR the 6th-19th (if it’s the first two FULL weeks)! Basically, you can put this observance off until whenever it’s convenient for you! Other week-long observances, for this 2nd full week in March, include National Girl Scout Week, National Words Matter Week, International Women’s Week, and National Read an E-Book Week! Speaking of which…

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

Today is also… National Flapjack Day, National Be Heard Day, National Cereal Day, and National Crown of Roast Pork Day! 

Tomorrow is… International Women’s Day, National Oregon Day, National Peanut Cluster Day, and National Proofreading Day!

Wednesday, March 9th is… National Barbie Day, National Crabmeat Day, National Get Over it Day, and National Meatball Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitation for Wind Shooter’s Meatballs!

#NationalMeatballDay

Thursday, March 10th is… National Blueberry Popover Day and National Pack Your Lunch Day!

Friday, March 11th is… National Johnny Appleseed Day and National Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day!

Saturday, March 12th is… National Baked Scallops Day, National Girl Scout Day, and National Plant a Flower Day!

[NOTE: Mar. 12, 1991 – is also the anniversary of a story in Woman’s World, by Una McManus, about Mom, being the Recipe DetectiveTM.]

March 13th is… National Good Samaritan Day, National Coconut Torte Day, and National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day! Plus, as the second Sunday in March (for 2022), it’s also… Daylight Saving Time Day!

#TGIM

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

…10 down and 42 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Moms Are Inspirations

Happy Monday, once again, and happy March Eve! I love Mondays! They’re my 52 Chances, every year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#WomensHistoryMonth

March (2022) and National Women’s History Month starts tomorrow! There are so many famous women to recognize world-wide – Amelia Earhart, Margaret Thatcher, Mother Teresa, Madam Curie, Rosa Parks, Margaret Sanger, Princess Diana, Sandra Day O’Connor, Eleanor Roosevelt, “Rosie the Riveter”, Maya Angelou – the list goes on!

I want to include “moms”! I’ve been writing every week about my mom’s own amazing history, of being “The Recipe Detective”. Mom created the copycat cookery concept about 50 years ago, in the early 1970s – imitating fast foods, restaurant dishes, and grocery products at home.

Most of what Mom knew in the kitchen, when she first started what became her “Secret RecipesTM” business, she had initially learned from, both, her mom and mother-in-law. I think, in most families, the moms are probably the greatest sources of inspiration.

Let me tell you about the women who inspired my mom (and me)! Mom’s mom, Esther (Klein) Carter, “Grandma Carter” to me, taught her many cooking, baking, and presentation techniques. Pies were Grandma’s specialty, as well as, crafting skills (like sewing, knitting, crocheting, cross-stitching, etc.).

I don’t know much about Grandma Carter’s mom. Grandma’s family had immigrated to the Ohio/Pennsylvania area from Prussia when she was small. Her mom died after her youngest brother, Earl, was born. Grandma’s dad struggled with trying to raise them all by himself and find work, too.

Grandma and her seven siblings were then raised in a Catholic orphanage, even though they were Jewish, because there weren’t any places, at the time, that could/would take them. The nuns made sure the children stayed together (until they aged-out) and went to the synagogue down the road every week, for the Sabbath.

After starting to work as my Grandpa Carter’s secretary [circ. 1934], in his real estate business, they fell in love and married a few years later. Grandma became a member of Grandpa’s church (the Church of Christian Science). She also got her own real estate license, in spite of the male-dominated profession.

Grandma retired from realty when she was about 74 years old. However, she couldn’t be idol. She stayed involved in her church (becoming a Reader and a Practitioner). She volunteered in local civic organizations and sold her crafts. She also put together her own recipe folder/collection, to sell by mail-order, with a little of Mom’s help.

Below are some articles that Mom had saved over the years from the Royal Oak area’s “Daily Tribune” about my grandma, the first of which includes Grandma’s own secret recipe for Veal Olympic.

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. 106)

THE BEST THINGS IN LIFE – AREN’T THINGS!

MY MOTHER TAUGHT ME early-on that the best things in life aren’t things! I have tried to pass this on to my children as well. Feelings and thoughts and expressions of caring are more important to me, and I am not one bit surprised to learn from many of our newsletter readers, that they feel the same. We must remember to remove price tags from people. Everyone has worth; the excitement lies in the discovery of their value!

A FEW OF MY FAVORITE THINGS…

The quests for the loaves and fishes’, however, gives us a false sense of what is of value, and this is the notion that I’ve tried to convey in my writings. In spite of the real value of the intangible things in life, I do still have a few favorite things. These are simple belongings with no redeemable value to anyone but me.

There is, for instance, a set of all five of Elsie Masterton’s cookbooks from her Blueberry Hill Farm series of the 1950s. There is a cross in a crown on a necklace chain that I fashioned for myself out of an Avon tie tack [of a] crown and a drugstore crucifix, plus some Super Glue. I really enjoy wearing it. Wearing it reminds me to find a feeling of oneness with my Source, first thing every day.

On the wall of our bedroom, there is a picture frame containing photos of each of our five children taken a few minutes after each was born. On a shelf, in the kitchen, is a cookie tin that bears the picture of Wally Amos (Famous Amos of chocolate chip cookie fame), which he personally presented to me in February 1988, when he surprised me during the televised filming of the ‘Home’ show in Hollywood, with Rob Weller as host.

A letter from Pres. Ford, thanking me for the moral support I gave him after his first televised press conference, and the cookbook I had sent him, is another small treasure among my ‘things’. There is also a framed citation from WXYZ-Radio for having given an outstanding broadcast with them during the Republican Convention in Detroit.

The silver ice bucket that our five children presented to Paul and me on our 25th wedding anniversary [June 1981] is but another favorite ‘thing’. Wealth does not equal worth and so the amount of money we could have earned, but turned down instead, as a result of keeping our publication at home, is not as important as the work itself.

My dad’s mom, Anise Knotts Pitzer, “Grandma Pitzer” to me, taught Mom about gardening and canning; plus, how to make her own grocery products at home, to save money. All of which Grandma learned from her own mom. Grandma Pitzer grew some great, prize-winning tomatoes! Mom learned a lot from her.

That’s when Mom and Dad lived with Dad’s parents, for a short time, right after they got married. Years later, Mom wrote a prize-winning story, about living with in-laws, for a magazine contest. In fact, Mom wrote many inspiring stories about Grandma and her mom’s West Virginia, backdoor bakery. I’ve shared some of her stories in a few previous blog posts, including Heirlooms (June 8, 2020).

LAST THOUGHTS…

This is the last day of February (2022), for observing the month’s national celebrations, such as… National Fasting February, An Affair to Remember Month, Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Creative Romance Month, National Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Snack Food Month, and National Weddings Month! Do something special – learn something new!

IN CLOSING…

In honor of tomorrow, being National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for homemade, sugar-free Peanut Butter (with a maple option); as seen in her self-published cookbook, Sugar-Free Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1987, p. 47).

#PeanutButterLoversDay

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Today, February 28th is… National Chocolate Souffle Day and National Floral Design Day! Plus, as the last Monday of February, it’s also the start of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week!

Tomorrow, March 1st is… National Dadgum That’s Good Day, National Fruit Compote Day, National Minnesota Day, and National Pig Day! Plus, as the day before Ash Wednesday (2022), it’s also… Fat Tuesday (aka: Mardi Gras), Paczki Day, Fastnacht Day, and National Pancake Day (per IHOP)!

March also observes, among other things… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month and National Sauce Month!

March 2nd is… National Banana Cream Pie Day and, National Old Stuff Day! Plus, it’s… National Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Day) [NOTE: If the 2nd falls on a Saturday or Sunday, this celebration moves to the closest school day.] Additionally, (for 2022) it’s also… Ash Wednesday! This year, the season of Lent runs through Thursday, April 14th.

Thursday, March 3rd is… National Anthem Day, National Cold Cuts Day, National I Want You to Be Happy Day, National Mulled Wine Day, and Soup It Forward Day!

March 4th is… National Grammar Day, National Pound Cake Day, and National Sons Day! Plus, as the first Friday in March (for 2022), it’s also… National Day of Unplugging, National Dress in Blue Day, National Speech and Debate Education Day, and National Employee Appreciation Day! 

March 5th is… National Cheese Doodle Day! Plus, as the first Saturday of the month (for 2022), it’s also… National Play Outside Day!

Sunday, March 6th is… National Frozen Food Day, National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day, and National Oreo Cookie Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a re-share of Mom’s Oreo imitation, which she called Gloreos!

Plus, National Procrastination Week is the first two weeks in March, which is either the 1st-14th or (for the first two FULL weeks) the 6th-19th! Basically, you can put this observance off until whenever it’s convenient for you! Other week-long observances, starting on the 6th, include… National Read an E-Book Week, National Words Matter Week, International Women’s Week, and Girl Scout Week!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

#TGIM

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

…9 down and 43 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Joy Of Copycat Cookery

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

#TheRecipeDetective

My mom passed away just over four years ago, leaving behind a very special legacy of love. I started and continue to write these blog posts to celebrate that and to re-share her many talents with the world! “The Recipe Detective” is the name that was given to Mom in the 1970s by the fans that followed her on her regular visits with Bob Allison, on his “Ask Your Neighbor”  talk show (WWJ-Radio; Detroit, MI).

The nickname was a natural fit for Mom, as she loved to sleuth-out the secrets of the food industry; similar to how Sherlock Holmes solved many mysteries. He also happened to be one of her favorite fictional characters. Mom always loved to solve a good mystery!

A lot of her endeavors, as to which “top secret” recipes to crack, were inspired by requests from her quickly growing fan base. Although radio was Mom’s first (and favorite) form of getting the word out about the unique niche she carved in the food industry, with her copycat cookery; she also appearing on some famous local and national TV talk shows.

After Mom’s FIRST appearance on the Phil Donahue Show, in 1981, when she demonstrated several of her popular fast food imitations; our small-town post office was inundated with about a million letters from viewers wanting more of what she had to offer – the “offer” being a sheet of samples of Mom’s recipes and ordering information for her books and newsletter subscriptions in exchange for a self-addressed stamped envelope!

The business boomed and the experience nearly crushed our family and the cottage-style dining room table operation of Secret RecipesTM. All parties involved eventually survived. However, Mom swore she’d never do another national TV show again.

Nevertheless, this month marks the 34th anniversary of Mom’s FIRST appearance on ABC’s “Home” show (Feb. 1988), when she was surprised by Wally Amos, in person! She told me it was one of the most thrilling and memorable events she had ever experienced. Mom did the show again in March 1991. Below is a brief story she wrote about the first occasion.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Copycat Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1988, p. 3)

TALKING FOOD

I know I said I would never do another television show after the Donahue experience (July 1981), but when good friend, Carol Duval, called me and asked me to give [ABC’s] ‘Home’ show a try, I was glad that I finally agreed. The most exciting part of the experience was being completely surprised by a visit on stage from Wally Amos, who (in 1975) founded the world’s first cookie shop!

The ‘Home’ show [people] had brought him into Los Angeles just to meet me and sample my version of his product, which I was preparing on that show. I was absolutely delighted with the sample tin [I received] of his assorted cookies…

In my BETTER COOKERY Cookbook [1982], I give you accounts of unhappy experiences with companies who’s legal advisors had us quite frightened at one time, for having attempted to duplicate their secrets in my own kitchen.

Wally Amos – like Harland Sanders [of KFC], Jack Sanders (…the famous confectionary), …Arthur Treacher, the people at White Castle Hamburgers, and those good folks at General Foods – as well as McDonald’s own Paul Duncan have given me encouragement [and] appreciation for having attempted to compliment them with flattery.

I still, however, do prefer the wonders of radio to that of doing television presentations. My favorite contacts are always with radio listeners, because it is a more personal communication, like friends or family; where television is a vast make-believe land of 90% cosmetic appearance.

The imagination can be free to explore new ideas more readily with radio, I believe. No matter what time of the day or night – and often that means the middle of the night, too – the broadcasts are always lively and interesting and include challenging questions and requests from enthusiastic listeners.

Because we do not have our books in bookstores, sending them out ONLY by mail from our address, we have been able to acquaint many folks with our work by talking about the secrets of the food industry over the radio. From California to New York… From Florida, Texas, Oklahoma and then as far north as Washington State and into Canada, we have visited with listeners.

We’ve talked to folks in Japan and Australia, Guam, Hawaii, even Alaska, as well as West Germany – and we’ve confirmed what Walt Disney knew all along – it’s a small, small world, after all! Making new friends through good food ideas, we’ve helped to take the monotony out of mealtime and turn a job into a joy!

Mom had a very special talent for determining the sources of flavors in almost any restaurant dish or supermarket product. Some of her copycat recipes used unlikely ingredient combinations, which were unheard of at that time, like cake mix and mayonnaise, to achieve a certain flavor, color or texture.

Mom also had a very special talent for promoting herself, as well as her unique concepts and creations. Right from the start, radio and Mom formed a seemingly natural friendship/partnership. She knew who her target audience was and where to find them! Likewise, it didn’t take people long to find her, either!

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

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. 45)

CAROL DUVALL

IT WAS DURING THIS time that I became friends with Carol Duvall, who then had her craft letter and daily five-minute TV show on Channel 4 in Detroit. We exchanged recipes and would even swap ideas on crafts, which I reprinted from her craft letter in our recipe newsletter. We would get together for lunch now and again and enjoyed a happy relationship for a long time.

I was sad when she decided to cease publication of her craft letter, in preparation of her move to the Traverse City area. But when she did go out of business, she offered her subscribers the option of switching over to our recipe newsletter which was by subscription at the same price as Carol’s letter.

We acquired hundreds of new readers from this experience, and we still enjoy hearing from her crafty followers, although, since Carol moved to Bear Lake, Michigan I have missed our old lunch get-togethers. It was Carol, in fact, who suggested to the Home Show that I appear on the television show in February 1988. Carol has a regular spot with them. Watch for her. You’ll love her!

LAST THOUGHTS…

One of Mom’s favorite “treasures” was the cookie tin with the picture of Wally Amos, which he personally gave her during their visit in February 1988, on the set of the ‘Home’ show, hosted by Rob Weller. Mom kept it on a shelf in her kitchen for many years!

IN CLOSING…

In honor of TODAY, being National Sticky Bun Day, here are Mom’s copycat recipes for Pillsbury-Style Hot Rolls & Sticky Buns; as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Joy Of NOT Cooking – Any More Than You Have To (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1983, p. 134).

#StickyBunDay

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of February’s month-long observances include… National Fasting February, An Affair to Remember Month, Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Creative Romance Month, National Great American Pies Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Snack Food Month, and National Weddings Month!

Yesterday began the start of the third full week of February, which is… National Brotherhood/Sisterhood Week!

Additionally, today is… National Grain-Free Day! Plus, as the third Monday in February (for 2022), it’s also… Presidents Day!

Tomorrow is… National California Day, National Cook a Sweet Potato Day, and National Margarita Day! Plus, as the last Tuesday in February (for 2022), it’s also… World Spay Day!

Wednesday, February 23rd is… National Dog Biscuit Day and National Banana Bread Day! In honor of the latter, here’s a reshare of our imitation of banana bread like we enjoyed at the Grand Hotel (Mackinac Island, MI)…

#BakeForFamilyFunMonth

#BananaBreadDay

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

February 24th is… National Tortilla Chip Day! Plus, as the fourth Thursday in February (for 2022), it’s also… National Chili Day! Additionally, as the last Thursday in February, it’s also… National Toast Day!

Friday, February  25th is… National Chocolate Covered Nut Day and National Clam Chowder Day!

Saturday, February  26th is… National Pistachio Day and National Tell a Fairy Tale Day!

Sunday, February 27th is… National Retro Day, National Strawberry Day, and National Polar Bear Day!

#TGIM

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

…8 down and 44 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Love And Kindness

Happy Monday and happy Valentine’s Day! As I always say, I LOVE Mondays! I look forward to each and every one of them because they’re my 52 Chances, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#ValentinesDay

The celebration of Valentine’s Day has changed dramatically throughout the centuries. Going from a Christian observance, with a day of feasting (like Thanksgiving) to honor Saint Valentine; to an Americanized, modernized, and commercialized celebration for couples in love.

However, Valentine’s Day isn’t just for the couples/adults, on who most advertisers focus. Love comes in many forms between relatives, friends, neighbors, co-workers, congregations, communities, and so on. That’s the love that humanity should celebrate today – people showing each other kindness and compassion.

‘Friends are a treasure and when we count our blessings we count our friends twice! It’s not possible to have a full and happy life without others to share with, to help when help is needed, to be helped when help is offered.’ – Gloria Pitzer, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 100)

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 43)

YOU’VE MADE A FRIEND

A SMILE IS THE universal, unspoken language between us. Some people smile more easily than others, but a smile is as good as a hug. I just LOVE people who smile a lot! Even when I’m shopping or [when Paul and I are] walking around the campgrounds on one of our abbreviated ‘get-aways’ with our motorhome, I find myself smiling at people I have never seen before, and they smile back. It’s contagious!

People don’t smile as much as they should! I’ve noticed lately how seldom strangers smile at each other in shopping centers and restaurants and other places where average folks mingle or pass. It occurred to me that there was nothing to lose by smiling and nodding at people as I shopped or glanced across a restaurant to other tables.

A surprising thing happened! Grim looking faces spontaneously responded with smiles and nods, as if they were trying to place me or recall where we might have met before. It was just wonderful!

#RandomActsOfKindnessDay

#RandomActsOfKindnessWeek

This is the perfect time, while we celebrate LOVE, to integrate National Random Acts of Kindness Day (which is on the 17th) and National Random Acts of Kindness Week (which runs today through the 20th, for 2022). Personally, I believe that being kind and loving to each other should happen every day!

After  all, weren’t we taught, since we were toddlers (or even earlier), to be good and kind to each other? According to Wikipedia’s interpretation of Fulghum’s All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, the author “explains how the world would be improved if adults adhered to the same basic rules as children, i.e. sharing, being kind to one another, cleaning up after themselves, and living ‘a balanced life’ of work, play, and learning.”

It’s a shame that the simple act of being kind to each other isn’t “the norm” for everybody. Why is being kind forgotten by so many after they leave kindergarten? Bullies seem to start blooming, like bad weeds, as early as adolescence. If a kindergartener can understand its importance in society, shouldn’t we all? I often wonder, “Why can’t we, all, just get along?”

In so many ways, my parents set good examples for me to follow, of being kind to others. I’m so grateful that my family heritage is full of good and kind people. I’m proud to do the same, setting a good example for my own children to follow (as well as for people that know me) and that they’ll pay it forward, too.

‘No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.’ – Aesop

Kindness helps others feel valued, among so many other wonderful things. Showing even the smallest amount of kindness can go a long way. Many believe that acts of kindness have the potential to change lives world-wide – not only the lives of the receivers, but also those of the givers – in more ways than one!

The simple act of being kind is well-known to have many physical and mental health benefits for, both, the givers and receivers. It’s an essential part of an evolved and growing society that bridges divides such as race, religion, gender – even politics. It empowers personal energy and self-esteem. It also make us happier, which is good for our hearts; thereby, helping us to live longer.

You can read more about it at RandomActsOfKindness.org!

LAST THOUGHTS…

I want to pass the following on, once again, for Random Acts of Kindness Week. It’s from an article I read on StarTribune.com, called ‘Why Being Kind Makes You Healthier’, by Chrystle Fiedler (July 24, 2019):

“Try the seven-day kindness challenge: That means, do at least one act of kindness every day for seven days. Ground rules: Do something different each day; push yourself out of your comfort zone at least once and be sure one of your acts of kindness is anonymous – no one should ever find out who did it.”

IN CLOSING…

In honor of February, being (among other things) National Cherry Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Aunt Jenny’s Blackberry Tart (aka: “Tuck-away Roll”), which is also super delicious with cherries or strawberries instead of blackberries! [As seen in her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 5).]

#NationalCherryMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of February’s month-long observances include… National Fasting February, An Affair to Remember Month, Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Creative Romance Month, National Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Snack Food Month, and National Weddings Month!

The second week of February (13th-19th for 2022) also observes, among other things… National Kraut and Frankfurter Week, Freelance Writers Appreciation Week, National Secondhand Wardrobe Week, Great American Pizza Bake, National Jell-O Week, Take Your Family to School Week, and Westminster Dog Show at Madison Square Garden – which is always the week of Valentine’s Day (13th-19th for 2022).

Today is also… National Cream-Filled Chocolates Day! Plus, as the second Monday in February (2022), it’s also… National Clean Out Your Computer Day! Additionally, for 2022, it’s also… National Football Hangover Day (which is always the day after “The Big Game”).

Tomorrow is… National Gumdrop Day and National Wisconsin Day!

Wednesday, February 16th is… National Almond Day and National Do A Grouch a Favor Day!

Thursday, February 17th is… National Cabbage Day!

February 18th is… National Battery Day, National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day, and National Drink Wine Day! Plus, as the third Friday in February (for 2022), it’s also… National Caregivers Day! Additionally, National Great Backyard Bird Count always begins on the Friday of the week/weekend of Valentine’s Day.

Saturday, February 19th is… National Chocolate Mint Day!

Sunday, February 20th is… National Cherry Pie Day, National Love Your Pet Day, and National Muffin Day! As the start of the third full week of February, it’s also… Brotherhood/Sisterhood Week (for 2022).

#TGIM

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

…7 down and 45 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Marriage And Compatibility

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

#TheRecipeDetective

Today is the start of National Marriage Week, which is always February 7th through Valentine’s Day. This blog post is dedicated to my parents, whose marriage withstood the test of time, as well as many other tests – struggling with in-laws, raising five kids and various pets, just making ends meet during a recession (even when they both worked – outside the home), then running their own business from home and being together 24/7/52 for 38 years!

Here’s Mom’s own story about their marriage and compatibility…

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. 62-64)

COMPATIBILITY AND FORGIVENESS

THE MOST OFTEN ASKED question about Paul and I working together in this family enterprise is how we managed to remain so compatible after 24-hours-a-day, 7-days-a-week, since August 1976. The basis, I believe, for every successful relationship is always between two good forgivers. Sure, we get in each other’s way once in a while. But we never stay mad for long.

When we were in Ventura, California, in August [1989], we visited an old Spanish mission that was founded over 200 years ago. In the church edifice was a one-word sign on the wall near the rear of the room. It’s so greatly impressed me that I thought about it for days. The word was FORGIVE. A powerful message. The essence of The Master’s own message during his earthly ministry nearly 2000 years ago.

FORGIVE – who, why, what for? In forgiving, we free ourselves from the imprisoning thoughts of resentment, of retaliation [and] anger. In forgiving, we let go of bitterness, contempt, even hatred. We are free then to love, to heal, to be healed altogether.

One word – FORGIVE – but 1000 messages. A dictionary says of this word, ‘to give up resentment against or the desire to punish; pardon (an offense or offender).’ Forgive! It’s final, complete. There are no stipulations, no exceptions in the activity of forgiveness – no qualifications for anyone to meet.

Whatever the offense, we let go of the urge to see the offender punished when we forgive. It’s a cleansing action. It wipes clean the slate of past grievances. The more we remember past offenses, the less likely we are to exercise our freedom to pardon.

Sometimes, forgiving ourselves is even harder than forgiving someone else. Forgiving requires loving. And loving is spiritual activity. Spiritual activity is prayer. So, when we are praying, we are also forgiving and, likewise, being forgiven. Our Heavenly Father forgives us so easily, so completely. He never withholds His forgiveness from His children, His beloved offspring, which include each one of us – you, me, everyone!

So, in examining the meaning of the word forgive, I can erase the pain of past offenses. I can put the word FORGIVE into action – put it to work in my relationship with others. It’s remembering to do so that takes a little work and a lot of practice, but before you know what, it becomes a habit!

The last thing every night and the first thing every morning, I whisper a ‘thank you’ to God for Paul. The last thing every night Paul’s arms around me as we go off to sleep, and I find his arms around me again when awakening in the morning and then, too, my first conscious thought is ‘Thank you, Father, for this good man’s love, for the beautiful partnership we have in our marriage, with our family, in our work… Thank you.’

It’s something I do automatically every night and every morning. Even the laws of physics and physiology can never reveal to us the indisputable way in which the Creator constantly participates in the life of each of us. It points out to me over and over again that the launching pad for successful change around us is actually the change within us!

To be in marvelous accord on a number of important issues in a conversation with someone you love, who loves you back, is grand. But… lasting marriages just do not ‘happen’. They have to be shaped and molded out of the good that one or both who are concerned will see and act upon opportunities to inspire improvements.

Most marriages begin with the expectation that they will last forever. In marriages that do last, forever is not only a hope, but an ongoing philosophy. The partners simply do not think seriously about divorce as a viable option. This attitude that a marriage will last, must last, tempers their approach to conflicts and imperfections.

These people are committed to the marriage, as well as to each other. They know that love needs time to take root and then expand; that in an enduring marriage, time is on your side. Time allows you the security of taking each other for granted, in the best sense of the term, without having constantly to impress or to prove yourself.

I don’t know how or when the transformation took place [for Paul and me], but it did – gradually, beautifully. I am not sure, but perhaps the Divine hand of heaven moved the family to become more harmonious. We never really talked about specific changes in attitude or behavior…

Most folks don’t like to be ‘preached’ to. To be ‘ministered’ to is different, however. When we are ‘ministered’ to, we are cared for, looked after and handled with quiet compassion – but never with pity. We can inspire someone to change but we dare not insist upon it!

When we see those we care about, somehow in conflict, and we know we can’t interfere; we can, instead, give out strong, moral support in silent prayer. Sometimes we focus so much on what is WRONG, that we failed to see how to correct it. We worry too much on WHO is right, rather than on WHAT is right!

In overcoming just the ordinary aggravations of being in business for ourselves, we also had to iron out the little conflicts over who would handle certain aspects of the work and how it would be handled. We were constantly having to compromise. That was the toughest step! Paul’s mother surely would have been proud of us and what we had accomplished together, if she had been able to witness any of this.

It is not easy to carry out the details of a demanding schedule and keep harmony at a priority, making every effort to keep the atmosphere healthy and still harmonious. To me, this was of utmost importance. Sometimes being in complete agreement was impossible, but the error to be corrected was always in separating the act from the person.

That, alone, made forgiving so much easier and without that forgiving we could never have worked together all these years – seven days a week… 52 weeks a year. To be able to overlook the things that are not important has made the compatibility easier to experience, too.

Being picky about something, we have said to each other, could only lead to increased discontent and sometimes snowball right into a major confrontation of shouting and fist-clenching. Thank goodness, neither of us ever let it get to that stage, since we both wanted to have the best possible relationship. We work at it!

LAST THOUGHTS…

Another great read on marriage and compatibility is What Makes A Marriage Last, by Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue (HarperOne; May 5, 2020).

All marriages are happy… Love songs and laughter – What causes all the trouble is the living together AFTER! – Gloria Pitzer

IN CLOSING…

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

In honor of February, being National Great American Pies Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Coffee Cream Pie; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 238). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)]. I also shared this recipe on Kathy Keene’s Good Neighbor” show, on WHBY, last February.

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of February’s month-long observances include… National Fasting February, An Affair to Remember Month, Black History Month, National Canned Food Month, National Creative Romance Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Snack Food Month, and National Weddings Month!

Today is also… National Fettuccine Alfredo Day and National Send a Card to a Friend Day!

Tomorrow is… National Boy Scouts Day, National Kite Flying Day, and National Iowa Day!

Wednesday, February 9th is… National Cut the Cord Day, National Bagel and Lox Day, and National Pizza Day!

February 10th is… National Cream Cheese Brownie Day and National Umbrella Day! Plus, as the second Thursday in February (2022), it’s also National Giving Hearts Day!

Friday, February 11th is… National Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk Day, National Inventors’ Day, National Make a Friend Day, and National Peppermint Patty Day, and No One Eats Alone Day (which changes annually – February 11 for 2022?)

Saturday, February 12th is… National Plum Pudding Day! Plus, as the second Saturday in February, it’s also… Global Movie Day!

February 13th is… National Cheddar Day and National Tortellini Day! Plus, for 2022, it’s also… National Pork Rind Day and Super Bowl Sunday!

#TGIM

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

…6 down and 46 to go!