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

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

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

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

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES

Excerpts written by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…

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

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

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

For one thing, I didn’t know I had what is considered a ‘radio voice’. I had never heard my own voice, at least, recorded. Heaven knows, our five kids will, to this day, even in their adulthood, testify to the fact that, on occasion, during their upbringing, I have been known to discover conditions that would prompt me to accelerate vocally in a pitch that only dogs in the next county could hear!

My introduction to radio began with Bob Allison and [his] nearly 30-year-running ‘Ask Your Neighbor’ show. [Feb. 5, 1963] I was folding diapers at the kitchen table, waiting for my favorite, daily segment of ‘My True Story’ to come on the air, when, instead, WWJ announced that it had been replaced with a NEW show.

This new show turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to me. To this day [December 1989], almost every Monday morning, I visit with Bob Allison and his neighbors, now [in 1989] heard weekdays at 10 AM (EST) over WEXL-radio (Royal Oak/Detroit, Michigan), 1340 on your AM dial.

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

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

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

I called the show about two or three times a month for the first year or two to ask questions of Bob’s ‘neighbors’ that my newspaper column readers were asking me. When I could not find the answers from consulting other sources, I knew I could rely on Bob Allison’s ‘neighbors’ to come up with the right answers for me. In return, I would often then phone in an answer that I occasionally had in reply to one of their questions or recipe requests.

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

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

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

In mentioning that the hamburger sauce recipe would appear in the next issue of my monthly newsletter, which I had given in response to one of his listeners previous requests, Bob reacted with great interest and curiosity. ‘You have a newsletter, do you?’ He asked. ‘Well, tell us about it and how much it is and where our neighbors can get it.’

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

So I spent all of one day and most of the next, thinking about and trying out a single page description with a few sample recipes from the publication that I could send out to interested and perspective subscribers. To this day, we still use the same procedure and it has worked very well. We offer, for a self-addressed stamped envelope, 12-15 sample recipes and, on the other side of the page, all the [ordering] information on our books and newsletter.

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

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

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

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

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

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

#NationalTaterDay

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

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

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

#NationalMonthOfHope & #StressAwarenessMonth

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

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

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

#ThankGodItsMondayDay 

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

…13 down, 39 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Homesteading

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

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

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

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

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

Gloria Pitzer, Recipe Detective

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

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

First 5 books of the Secret Recipes Collection

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

WHEN LIFE GIVES YOU LEMONS…

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

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

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

Photo by Gloria Pitzer (1970-ish)

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 40)

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

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

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

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

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

BEER BREAD By Gloria Pitzer

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

Ingredients:

2 cups self-rising flour

3 tablespoons sugar

1 egg, beaten

12-ounce can Busch Light beer

Instructions:

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

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

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

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

#NationalStressAwarenessMonth & #StressAwarenessMonth

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

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

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

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

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

 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#NationalCleaningWeek

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

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

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

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

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

#CleaningWeek

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

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

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

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

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

Illustrations by Gloria Pitzer

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

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

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

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

#CornedBeefAndCabbageDay

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

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

THE REUBEN – According to Julia Lega

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

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

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

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

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

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

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

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

#ThankGodItsMondayDay 

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

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

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

As always, happy Monday to everyone and #TGIM!

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

#WomensWeek

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

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

The following excerpts are from…

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

EVERY DAY IS A TURNING POINT

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

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

1974, Gloria Pitzer mimeographing her newsletter and recipe cards.

MARKETING INSPIRATION

To make the mimeograph pay for itself, I even printed up my own business cards on it, using dime-store construction paper and then cutting the cards apart with scissors until I had neat little stacks of about 50 and a total of 200 or 300 cards. These I distributed at the mall whenever and wherever we might be in one. Paul did not know I was doing this, at first, either, or he would’ve disapproved.

It was unprofessional and risky, but I thought anything was worth a try and what I could do ‘quietly’ until I could prove it was either a mistake or a benefit, would have to be my little secret. Well, actually, the kids were a part of that secret too. I had heard an interview on TV or radio with ‘the world’s most successful salesman’, who was a Chevrolet salesman in Detroit and who believed heartily in business cards, placing them everywhere and anywhere that it was allowed.

From his story, I found it was easy to drop my card into the pocket of a bathrobe in the ladies’ wear [areas] in the department stores and in the purses and tote bags, on public phone booth stands, [in] restaurant restrooms, even in cookbooks in the bookstores. From these, you’d be surprised, we DID hear from people who wanted to know about my recipes, which was the first experience I had with public response. What I had at that time was a little book entitled ‘The Better Cookers Cookbook’ [1973], as opposed to our current popular book, ‘Better Cookery’ [1983].

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

1974 heading of Mom’s first newsletter.

HOW TO LAUNCH A NEWSLETTER

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

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

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

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

THE BEGINNING OF THE FAMILY ENTERPRISE

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

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

HOW TO SELL IT – RADIO

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

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

1985 Gloria Pitzer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#NationalMeatballDay

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

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

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

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

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

#NationalWomensHistoryMonth

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

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

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

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

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

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

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

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

At the suggestion of one of Bob’s callers that I should put all my column recipes into a book, I wrote my 1st edition [1973] called ‘The Better Cooker’s Cookbook’. In less than a month, I had sold 1000 copies. I wasn’t satisfied with the book, so I didn’t reprint it – but, decided that it might work out better if I could do those recipes monthly.

So, in December 1973, I put together my 1st issue of what came to be my ‘Secret Recipe Report’; a newsletter that, for 106 consecutive monthly issues, brought me in contact with the many so-called secrets of the commercial food and restaurant industry. I probably wouldn’t have done the [newsletter], except for a falling-out I had [at the time] with the editor of a small-town paper for which I was writing a food column.

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

That’s when I decided it was time to launch my own paper. That afternoon, I put out my charter issue, sending samples of it to those whose names and addresses I had on file from having written to me at the paper. That was the beginning of ‘Secret Recipes’!

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p.296)

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

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

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

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

The Pitzer Kids – Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

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

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

First 5 books of the Secret Recipes Collection

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

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

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

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

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

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

First 5 books of the Secret Recipes Collection

#NationalHotBreakfastMonth

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

Big Batch Scrambled Eggs, by Gloria Pitzer

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

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

Gloria Pitzer, Recipe Detective

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

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

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

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

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

IN CLOSING…

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

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

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

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

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

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

#TGIM

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

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

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Golden Rule

Thank God, It’s Monday, again!  Happy Monday to all! In addition to the many celebrations taking place today, happy Random Acts of Kindness Day AND Week! Plus, on a similar note, it’s also National Brotherhood/Sisterhood Week!

#BrotherhoodSisterhoodWeek

NationalDayCalendar.com explains that National Brotherhood/Sisterhood Week “encourages people of diverse faiths to discuss not only our differences but to recognize how we are all the same—uniting in our human brotherhood and sisterhood.”

The “Golden Rule” is a basic, moral principle for society that encourages us to TREAT OTHERS AS WE WANT TO BE TREATED! It is just a commonsense, moral ethic, by which we should all live on a daily basis. Its core is based on the biblical suggestion from the “Book of Matthew”, which says: “do unto others as you would have them do unto you.” (Matt. 7:12) According to Wikipedia, the name “Golden Rule” came about “because there is value in having this kind of respect and caring attitude for one another.”

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. 83-84)

MOM’S ANCESTRY STORY

The principal was not sorry he hired me, for the job required filling in for a teacher who would be out about six weeks due to an auto accident in which she was injured. I took over her class and initiated a school newspaper while I was there… That class was a difficult challenge to say the least.

Perhaps, I took still another risk though, when I told the class that whatever their ancestors were, whatever their ethnic or religious persuasion was, they could not use such conditions as excuses for not at least trying to develop their individual talents and skills. It sounded good. The tough kid in the class…[was] amused and decidedly uninterested in anything I could say. He seemed to be in charge and the rest of the students appeared to yield to his lead, so I talked directly to him, but so that the rest of the class could hear.

I told him that calling me a ‘WASP’ was not a description of what I really was. Of course, WASP meant ‘white Anglo-Saxon Protestant’ and it surprised me that he even knew enough to use that term. He finally shut up and found himself listening to me as I then moved around the classroom telling everybody that it was okay to be sore about not getting a fair break, as long as you didn’t take it out on somebody else.

Since I had their attention, finally, I launched right into a story about my own background and how my mother’s parents were originally German, but they were also Jews, and living in Russia at the turn-of-the-century. It was dangerous for any Jew in Russia at that time, so much like the story of ‘Fiddler on the Roof’, my grandparents with two small children and my grandmother then expecting a third child, took a crowded freighter to America. They couldn’t speak a word of English and had nothing with them but what they could carry by hand.

On the way over, unfortunately, they came down with what [was] suspected to be TB. A few years following the birth of their seventh child, TB finally took my grandmother. Having settled in Pittsburgh, my grandfather moved on to Cleveland where he hoped to find relatives who would help him with a job and a place to raise the motherless children. It didn’t work out as he expected, however.

The relatives were not where he had last contacted them. The orphanage was overcrowded that he had been directed to, in order to leave the children and seek treatment for the TB that seem to be getting worse for him. Having been turned away by the orphanage, he was about to leave the children all on a street corner, telling them somebody would come along to help them, but that he had to get his train to the sanatorium that the government was sending him to for help. At that point the nuns were passing by on their usual afternoon walk.

What happened that particular day was rather sketchy in details, since all of the children were then too young to clearly recall it; but apparently, as he left the orphanage and was expressing his despair in tears on the street in front of the school, two nuns were passing by on their way back to the Catholic orphanage down the street. They stopped long enough to ask if they could be of help, and upon hearing the story from the older children who spoke English and Grandpa’s broken English, they concluded that the children needed to be cared for.

They took the children to the Catholic orphanage, assuring my grandfather that they would see to it that they went to Temple every Saturday, even though they would be in the Catholic schools and living in the dormitories with the other children. When there was room for them at the Jewish orphanage, they would then be transferred, and the promise was kept. There, they all remained until each one turned 16 years of age, only to be dismissed into the world, like a prisoner, with nothing more than a change of clothing and bus fair to the city.

#BrotherhoodSisterhoodWeek

The compassion of those Catholic nuns and the care they gave the children of that Jewish immigrant, when Jews were hated as much as they ever were in this country, kept me from ever harboring feelings of prejudice toward other people due to the religious or racial background. But there was more in the lessons I derived from my roots, since every one of those seven brothers and sisters became prosperous and famous in their own right.

One [brother] became an attorney, another a famous artist, and another [became] manager of an apartment complex, while still another became a fine professional carpenter. And [there was my] aunt, who danced as a ballerina with a New York ballet company, as well as an uncle who had his own advertising agency.

The Carter Family, Sept. 1943
Clockwise: Eugene, Esther, Gloria and Joy

My mother met my father when she applied for a job as a typist and secretary at his real estate office. My dad was a devout Christian, so when they were married, she easily embraced his faith and was able to pass on to me the best of three worlds, reflecting the Catholic upbringing with Temple on the Jewish Sabbath and, then, the Christian church, where the precepts were strictly followed in my parents’ home during my own childhood.

The story held the attention of the class just long enough… By the time I had completed the story, I led directly into an assignment of bringing in an account of each students own background and heritage or family roots with much discussion and their various religious practices and ethnic customs. It was a successful experience… Until now, I never wrote about this. Perhaps somebody will benefit from knowing about it, however.

The ‘boy’ Mom spoke of in her memories (above) went on to be a writer and he spoke at Mom’s memorial service, a couple of years ago, about the positive impact she had on him over those teen years and beyond. He credited Mom for influencing him to become a writer and for the quality time she spent with him, voluntarily, to encourage and nurture his love for writing.

#RandomActsOfKindnessDay

Today is also, among other things, Random Acts of Kindness Day and yesterday kicked off Random Acts of Kindness Week, which, this year, is February 16th-22nd. However, while this is an awesome day and week to celebrate acts of kindness, in general, being kind and compassionate should happen every day!

After all, weren’t we taught to be good and kind since we were toddlers in Kindergarten, or even earlier? According to Wikipedia’s interpretation of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten,  Fulghum “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.

#MakeKindnessTheNorm

Many others thought this way, as well. One group developed a non-profit organization, which has its own website at https://www.randomactsofkindness.org, where they promote making random acts of kindness “the norm”, offering a lot of stories about kind acts and other inspirations of kindness. Additionally, at WisdomQuotes.com , you’ll find “440 Kindness Quotes That Will Make You A Better Person” – more than enough ideas of which to follow at least one every day for the rest of the year! Practice makes perfect – it also creates habits, which will, hopefully, become natural reflexes.

It’s a shame that the simple act of being kind to someone is forgotten by many after they leave kindergarten. If a kindergartner can understand its importance to society, shouldn’t we all? Like Aesop said: “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” In other words, a culture of kindness can have a positive ripple effect. However, doing something nice should be a selfless act. That’s what inspires others to pay it forward, in the same fashion. On the other hand, being kind solely for the recognition of it throws a selfish disruption in the whole system.

In fact, we receive many other types of rewards from simply being kind to others, without the want of recognition. NationalDayCalendar.com lists some benefits that performing random acts of kindness give us, as psychiatrists claim, it… “Fuels personal energy and self-esteem… Makes you happier… [Is] good for your heart… [And] helps you live longer…” Even science has proven the health benefits that being kind promotes. You can read about it at https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness.

#RandomActsOfKindnessWeek

I want to pass this on, to do for this week’s celebration of Random Acts of Kindness Week. It’s from an article 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 so many ways, Mom and Dad, both, set good examples for me to follow. I am so grateful that my family heritage, on both sides, that I know, were good and kind people. I’m proud to do the same, setting a good example for my children to follow (as well as for people that know me) and that they will continue it, as well, making kindness the daily norm. Like a smile, a random act of kindness – just because – can be contagious. But, unlike the coronavirus, that’s a good thing. Plant the seed, every day, and watch kindness grow wild!

IN CLOSING…

This year in honor of #52Chances and #MemorableBeginnings, I want to offer you a recipe each week from Mom’s “Original 200” Secret RecipesTM collection – as these are the memorable beginnings of the Recipe DetectiveTM. This is Mom’s copycat recipe for Kentucky-Style biscuits, which was also among her “free recipes” offers.

This recipe is for today, being #NationalCabbageDay! It’s an encore of Mom’s copycat recipe for Kentucky-Style coleslaw…

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

#TGIM

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

NationalDayCalendar.com says, “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story, again; hopefully, re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. Seven down, 45 to go!

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

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Love and Marriage

Happy Monday and #TGIM, everyone! As I’ve been saying each week, “thank God, it’s Monday, again” because every Monday is another chance.. to write about my mom… impart memories of her talents with the world… and share one (or more) of her great, original, copycat recipes.

#NationalMarriageWeek

This second week of February has a lot of great things going on! To begin with…and what I want to write most about today… February 7th through the 14th (Valentine’s Day) is National Marriage Week! As NationalDayCalendar.com says, “…marriage is more than a day or a ceremony. A marriage requires dedication and commitment that generates a lifetime of rewards.”

Mom wrote often on the subject of marriage. She even had a few cartoon panels on the subject, too. One of Mom’s quotes about marriage can be found, in part, at WiseFamousQuotes.com (as pictured below) – the complete quote, as seen on page 11 of Mom’s book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989) says, in full: “Good marriages are made in heaven, or so it may seem. But, if that’s the case, a lot of the details will have to be worked out, right here, on earth.” Additionally, in her book, Mom went on to say the following:

https://www.wisefamousquotes.com/gloria-pitzer-quotes/

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 11-12)

LOVE & MARRIAGE – ALL IT TAKES IS DETERMINATION!

If good marriages are, indeed, made in heaven – where are all the bad ones made…? Of course, good marriages are made right here, on Earth, by ordinary mortals, like us; and it’s no help to think otherwise.

To take the fatalistic view that a good marriage is a foreordained blessing from On High is merely to evade responsibility for our own choices and behavior. It just decreases our chances of attaining the kind of loving and mutually rewarding relationship that most human beings long for and avidly seek.

To come even close to approximating such a union, one with another, it’s obvious that we have to scrap all the misleading old myths that stand in our way. I can think of no better way to do this than by repeating what may be a new one: ‘When it comes to love and marriage, the only infallible rule is that there are no rules at all!’

NO MATTER WHAT Marlo Thomas Donahue is saying about a marriage becoming anything you want it to be in today’s society… our husbands, who were raised [before the 1950s, believe] ‘women’s work’ is STILL women’s work! Of course, now, I have a workable solution to all of this, which enables a gal to undo whatever nonsense was taught a man along the way about a ‘woman’s place’ in the marriage.

WHAT’S VALUABLE – THE FAMILY

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

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

Like The Beatles sang, “love is all you need”; however, as TheList.com explains in their article, “The Surprising Benefits to Being Married” – that “marriage has so many awesome perks”! In fact, they list 11 major advantages that covers most everything from better finances to more happiness to improved health for married couples. I’ve also heard most of these benefits on several different occasions from multiple news sources; so, I suppose, there must be some merit to them.

When I started to write this week’s blog, I knew what I wanted to write about, but I didn’t have a good title in mind. Then, the more I wrote, I just couldn’t get a certain song out of my head. I kept hearing Frank Sinatra, one of Mom and Dad’s favorite performers, singing “Love and Marriage”! This song was also used as the theme song for the famous, television comedy, “Married, With Children”.

MARRIAGE IS TRULY A COMMITMENT in which two compatible people promise each other “to be faithful…to have and to hold, from this day forward, for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer, in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish, until death do us part”… as some of the standard, civil, wedding vows commonly recite.

Compatibility, forgiveness and communication are probably among the most major qualities required for the success of a marriage. After Dad retired from the sign company, in 1976, to help Mom manage the business side of their family enterprise, so she could concentrate on the creative side of it; they spent almost every single day together, 24/7/52, for the rest of their lives! Throughout the years, their marriage was tested in more ways than one – but it withstood all the tests… and not until death did they part. And, now, they are together, again for eternity.

Paul & Gloria Pitzer, Algonac, MI – 1976

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. 62-64)

#Compatibility & #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 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 1,000 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!

Paul & Gloria Pitzer, 1956

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 are 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.

Paul & Gloria Pitzer, 1956

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.

[As for Paul and me,] I don’t know how or when the transformation took place, 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. [However,] to be ‘ministered’ to is different… 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!

Paul & Gloria Pitzer, December 1970

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 fail 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.

Paul & Gloria Pitzer, Thanksgiving Day 2005

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!

Paul & Gloria Pitzer, summer 2012 (Ohio)

According to Business Insider, Nevada holds the highest divorce rate in the country, advocating the ease of it. Meanwhile, according to RealSimple.com, Hawaii has the lowest divorce rate, which they attributed to less stressful lifestyles.

There are so many reasons why some marriages make it, and some don’t. Even though couples, in general, have many commonalities, every couple is inevitably different. Some are “meant to be”, as Mom would frequently say. In fact, Mom and Dad were always “meant to be.” Now, they’re together forever. I believe my husband and I are “meant to be”, as well; our friendship (and my husband’s patience with me) makes a solid cornerstone in our relationship. The longer we grow old together, the more I think we seem to follow in Mom and Dad’s footsteps quite often.

One last thought on marriage… from one of Mom’s 1973 syndicated panels, called “Could Be Verse©”, which was three or four lines of satirical rhyme or bumper-sticker-type logic… Mom wrote: “All marriages are happy… Love songs and laughter – What causes all the trouble is the living together AFTER!” She also did a cartoon panel about it in her series, Full House as Kept by Gloria Pitzer, and it can be seen in her “Food for Thought” editorial, on page 52 of My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989).

IN CLOSING…

This year, in honor of #52Chances and #MemorableBeginnings, I want to offer you a recipe each week from Mom’s “Original 200” Secret RecipesTM collection – as these are the memorable beginnings of the Recipe DetectiveTM. The following recipe is also in honor of today, being National Cream Cheese Brownie Day…this recipe is found in Mom’s cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 18).

#CreamCheeseBrownieDay

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

DON’T FORGET – FRIDAY IS VALENTINE’S DAY! Other national week-long observances and celebrations going on, this 2nd week of February, include the Great American Pizza Bake, National Jell-O Week & Random Acts of Kindness Week!

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story, again; hopefully, re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. Six down, 46 to go!

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

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – More Little Steps

Happy February and happy Monday to all! Thank God, It’s Monday, again! #TGIM

February is Great American Pies Month and National Bake for Family Fun Month; plus National Hot Breakfast Month and National Snack Food Month! On top of that, TODAY is National Football Hangover Day and National Carrot Cake Day! Hence, check out the end of this blog entry for Mom’s copycat recipe for a carrot cake like Awrey’s used to offer in our local grocery stores – another one of her “Original 200” recipes that helped launch her success as the Recipe DetectiveTM.

That was the name bestowed on her in the mid-1970s by the radio listeners of Bob Allison’s “Ask Your Neighbor” show heard, at that time, on WWJ-Radio, in the Detroit area. That was a significant cornerstone in the building of Mom’s Secret RecipesTM legacy. She always referred to her business as a “family enterprise”. But it was, truly, Mom’s creation right from its very inception. The recipes, the research, the tests – everything, from the design of her products to the development of their contents to the marketing of it all – that was all Mom! Dad managed the business end and kept all the records (I think that’s from where I got my OCD.) We kids helped Mom with simple tasks, after school and on the weekends… even into our adult hoods, and we continued to help out when business was more than busy for Mom and Dad to handle alone.

However, as with most every other small business, about the time that the internet became a household item for most people, the “Mom and Pop” operations began to dwindle. Likewise, the “hard copy” bookstores followed suit. It wasn’t easy for Mom to give up her life’s work when she retired her newsletter in December 2000, after 27 years of being in print. She had planned to still keep her hands in the industry a little bit, by consulting and free-lance writing among other things. But the newsletter was Mom’s baby!

Last week, I wrote about all the little steps it took for Mom to trail-blaze the copycat recipes movement – but that was only the beginning, as there were many, many more little steps in the journey to her success as the Recipe DetectiveTM. There is so much more to it, so this is my continuing story of Mom’s story, as she wrote about in many of her self-published books and newsletters. But especially so, in 1989, when Mom wrote and published, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop, which was, basically, her story – although, she referred to it as ‘our family’s story’, because she always considered her Secret RecipesTM legacy a “family enterprise”. Mom had, at one time, in 1996, intended on writing a sequel to that book, as I have some of her lay outs for it. They inspire me even more so to re-tell her story!

Since 1974, when Mom began focusing on the development of her copycat-style recipes to imitate popular and famous grocery products, franchise restaurant dishes and fast food items, she subsequently carved out a unique niche in the food industry that brought her much attention; as word traveled fast across the wire services, considering the day and age it was, before common internet – mind you, this was decades before home computers and the world wide web!

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. 24)

HOW SECRET RECIPESTM BEGAN – ALL THE LITTLE STEPS

IT WAS WHILE I WAS WRITING for the Port Huron Times Herald that I was asked to do the food page column… And found [me] answering a stack of readers’ mail. The first question I came to, really launched what was to become Secret RecipesTM. [1973] A reader wanted to know how to make the sauce like a place, called McDonald’s, puts on their double-deck hamburgers.

‘A place called McDonald’s’ meant a drive into the city, where this place, then, had only one arch. A sample of what they called their ‘secret sauce’ turned out to be a very good Thousand Island dressing, not unlike what Bob’s Big Boy was already using on their double-deck hamburgers.

After a few taste-tests at home, the family agreed that we had come pretty close to their sauce; and, so, I included my version of their product in my food column along with a few other tidbits. The response from readers was so gratifying that the editor was only too happy to have me continue along this path for several weeks to come.

Each week, I took another famous place, similar to McDonald’s, and tried to re-create a dish at home that would come close to what the restaurant called their ‘secret recipe’. I was doing just fine until the week I decided to do a cheesecake recipe – ‘the one that nobody doesn’t like.’ [Sara Lee’s slogan]

Well, those wonderful people [from Sara Lee] had just bought a whole page of advertising in that week’s food section, and they thought it was not only ungrateful, but downright rude of us to run a recipe for a product that was supposed to be just like theirs. I could see their point. The editor was beside himself with worry and immediately told me to drop the column!

I thought ahead to the time when we could… [flatter them with imitation…] But they were hardly flattered. I wanted to talk with the advertisers and try to work out something that would flatter them and their product…

[…which did indeed work in Mom’s favor, later on, with the Hershey’s people; regarding their indignation of her imitation for homemade peanut butter cups, allegedly like theirs, AND using a name for her product that too closely resembled their own…]

…but [for Sarah Lee’s people] the editor would not hear of it. He told me to go back to the old way of doing the food column, which meant lima bean casseroles, plain chocolate cake and recipes with boring ingredients; or, as he told me, I could pick up my check.

Well, I was so sure that the recipe imitation idea would work, if not with his paper, was somebody else’s that I told him to ‘mail it to me!’ …I went home to eventually start my own paper – what is now our Secret RecipesTM Newsletter©, and as the events leading up to and beyond, developed, step-by-step, the learning experiences contributed beautifully to the outcome.

In the opening paragraph of Charles Dickens’ famous novel, A Tale of Two Cities, he wrote: ‘It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness, it was the epoch of belief, it was the epoch of incredulity, it was the season of Light, it was the season of Darkness, it was the spring of hope, it was the winter of despair…’ Those times were not much different from those which we experienced in small town, mid-America in the 1970s.

Like most Americans, back then (and still), Mom and Dad struggled to make ends meet for our family of seven (plus, a dog and cat, too), even though both of them were working. But, somehow, they always found a way to get through those trying times. Mom was very crafty at making whatever they could not afford to buy, from clothes and accessories to personal products like soap to food products like pet treats and many grocery items from frozen to shelf-stable options. As the old proverb says: “Necessity is the mother of invention!”

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. 36)

HOW SECRET RECIPESTM BEGAN – ALL THE LITTLE STEPS (Cont’d)

IT WAS THE WORST POSSIBLE TIME to launch a new business. The unemployment rate was terribly high. There was a newsprint paper shortage. There was a gasoline shortage. I couldn’t pass up the opportunity to at least try to have my own publication, however. My confrontation with the editor at the Times Herald over the cheesecake recipe [like Sarah Lee’s], was probably the best thing that ever happened to me – us, as a family, in fact.

I was forced to finally do something that, until then, I had only talked about doing because the advice I had listened to was bent on having somebody else handle my work. Of course, I could not tell Paul what I was going to do – that I was going to publish a newsletter and I was going to try and sell subscriptions to it all without the help of the [publishing and syndicating] agencies to which I had previously been turning.

I was determined to make this idea work, because I knew it was a good idea! It was a service that was needed [and not being met] and one that I could provide without ever having to leave the children again. With the help of the Almighty, I had every confidence that turning out a recipe newsletter was going to be something that would bless everyone concerned: me, the readers, the products mentioned, the reviews of restaurants – every idea was a blessing!

Whenever Mom was told that something was not achievable, her first instinct was to try to disprove it! She always had to at least try, anyway! After all, as Gordon B. Hinckley once said, “You have not failed until you quit trying.” That was the kind of attitude on which Mom was raised. She always had faith in whatever she thought the Lord had planned for her, and she would trudge through whatever she had to face, in order to get where she wanted to be.

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 38)

HOW SECRET RECIPESTM BEGAN – ALL THE LITTLE STEPS (Cont’d)

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 would 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 qualms at all about cutting them out and inserting them into [other] 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!

Mom and I at her 80th Birthday Party – Photo by Paul Jaekel, Jan. 2016

And neither am I, willing to give up what I am doing in Mom’s stead…as many steps as it takes!

IN CLOSING…

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

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

#TGIM

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it’s 52 CHANCES to tell Mom’s story, again; hopefully, re-inspiring love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. Five down, 47 to go!

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

 

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – All the Little Steps

#TGIM! Once again, thank God, it’s Monday!  So, happy Monday to everybody!

I still want to create a small email newsletter, similar to what Mom had created 46 years ago (Jan. 1974) when she started her own newsletter, Gloria Pitzer’s Homemaker’s Newsletter©. However, my “paying” job has suddenly become so hectic that, for now, I don’t have time to follow through on my own projects – and while my husband is laid off for the winter, I need to take advantage of this short-term opportunity. If money was not an object by which we need to live, I would gladly give it all up to just do this.

I truly understand Mom’s feelings that writing made her living worthwhile. I just wish I could make a living with it, myself. I’m most happy and content when I’m writing and artistically creating like Mom. I can feel her angel hugs around me now, while I’m typing this, as she whispers in my ear, “be patient.” I’m disappointed by the delay but I know that this busy time in my “paying” job will subside in a month or so. I just need to be tolerant of it until I can get on with my preferred plans. In the meantime, I do what I have to do, as dreams and desires don’t pay the bills! I’m not giving up on my aspirations, just putting them on hold temporarily.

It takes a lot of little steps to get where you want to be – literally and figuratively. I see all of my little steps in this process coming from all the years of helping Mom and Dad with their “dining room table operation” to the last few years of Mom’s life, when I was helping her to re-write her favorite, self-published cookbook – Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Printing) – in order for it to be re-published for a whole new digital age of people. And, even now, in writing this blog series, Mondays & Memories of My Mom, I am taking more little steps in learning about social media and our digital means of how we do most things.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in…

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

ON PATIENCE…

Sometimes, we force ourselves into making hasty decisions; when, it turns out, this can be a misguided attempt to try to shape an event that just isn’t ready to be shaped yet! Encouragement to be patient and consider all of the options was always one of the supportive ways that my parents tried to see me through the rough times, when I was growing up.

No matter what the problem, the emphasis was always on being patient; on letting my listening thought be receptive to new ideas, right ideas. I was never disappointed when I waited. I might have been a little impatient, but the more experiences I had with waiting, the easier it [became]. (p. 20)

Cartoon written and illustrated by Gloria Pitzer

ON JOURNALISM…

Journalism is a peculiar profession to follow. I’ve been a serious journalist [since 1954]. I’ve worked among writers who wrote to live, while the rest of us lived to write. We had to communicate to reach out to someone with ideas, with thoughts, with reasonings and [remembrances].

Somehow, we had to make a difference, touching others with some good – like the single stone tossed into the still waters of a shimmering pond, the ripples begin, as they always do, where the stone touched the water’s surface and responded around and around, until the widest circle touched the grassy edge [of the shore], again and again.

While I live to write, I must consider that others do not. Writers never retire – not if they are truly writers. Editors retire. [Even] reporters retire from their work at some given point. But old writers never die, they just run out of words.

There is great joy in an exchange of ideas; specifically, when you have something of value to share. when that exchange of ideas flows from a mutual appreciation of the good in human life, there is no doubt that the abundance of good continues to unfold around us from only one Unlimited Source. We don’t think too much about that Source until we’re in real trouble. Then, we’re willing to reach out because, after all, what have we got to lose?

Too bad we don’t tap that Source when everything is going well and exercise our ability to think [and be grateful], which is something very few people take the time to do. One of my favorite writers, Norman Cousins – a contributing columnist in The Christian Science Monitor – talks about our ‘taking the time to think’ in many of his own writings. He talks about our leisure hours, now, exceeding our working hours and how foolishly we waste that time; because we’ve managed to persuade ourselves that we are too busy to think [and] too busy to read… He reminds us that [‘too busy’] is a national excuse! (p. 22)

Gloria Pitzer, 2013

[Unfortunately, Mom ran out of words on January 21, 2018.]

Nevertheless, the words that Mom put in print will live on for generations to come. Thus, I’m here to carry her torch onward by re-telling her story and all the little steps she took in becoming the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM. For me, Mom is “that source” from which I derive my own inspiration, as well as gratitude for all that she’s given me, all that she’s taught me and all that she continues to teach me throughout her writings. Thus, in re-telling Mom’s story, I will draw from her own writing of how it all began for her…

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. 23)

IN THE BEGINNING

At the time the assignment was handed to me by the newspaper editor for whom I then worked; I knew more about cooking than anyone else on the staff. I was also the only ‘married lady’ on the staff, which in those days of homemaking, housewives and the Donna Reed show, automatically qualified me to handle the food page at the newspaper (when I had been a feature writer and columnist for a long time.)

I accepted the challenge wholeheartedly because I did want to write for the paper. If they had told me to do the obituaries, I would’ve given even that assignment my best effort. The food page was a challenge for me, in view of the fact that there was no test kitchen at the newspaper. I would be testing the recipes in my own kitchen at home. There was a small compensation in my paycheck at the end of the week for the groceries I used, but not enough to fully reimburse me. I accepted what they gave me gratefully, however…

Of course, I look back now in amazement at what I was able to do for a whole week with a 3-pound package of hamburger. How it began as spaghetti sauce, then sloppy Joe mixture and, with the addition of red kidney beans and some other seasonings, chili concurrently… It was fun, too, now that I recall those early days.

MAKING TIME FOR OPPORTUNITY

But some of the thoughts of which I wished to write were never properly developed on paper and published because there just wasn’t enough time. Later, when I could have made the time, there wasn’t a market for [it]; so, here I am, 17 years after the first recipe collection [Jan. 1973] was an outstanding success, still looking for the time and opportunity to write the book I have always wanted to write.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

Every book and newsletter Mom ever penned was, in fact, those which she wanted to write; and, in doing so, enjoyed; as ambitions change and evolve with time and experiences. Mom believed that everything in our lives happens for a reason, as do I; so, when Life puts detours in my way, I just need to be patient, learn from those unexpected turns and, then, recalculate my course in order to get where I want to go (which seems to be easier to do, in my mid-50’s then it was 20-30 years ago.) It takes a lot of little steps, along with patience – but, it’s all about the journey, not the arrival! Like Mom, I would much rather have the joy than the job.

FINAL THOUGHTS 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. 8)

CHALLENGES & PATIENCE

Surely, after all of this is now presented to us in the form of treasured memories, I can see that life’s challenges teach us to be compassionate toward others [and] ourselves. Whenever we must sometimes face the harsh circumstances of human living, in which there [doesn’t] seem to be any clear-cut answers to even the smallest events, as well as the big [ones]; patience and great moral courage are needed in every case, in order to overcome defeats.

Certainly, the effort put into the service of every business, whether it is a flourishing corporation or – like ours – just a dining room table enterprise, is more important than how much money you’re going to make at what you do. When the money is more important, the journey becomes a job instead of a joy!

IN CLOSING…

This year in honor of #52Chances and #MemorableBeginnings, I want to offer you a recipe each week from Mom’s “Original 200” Secret RecipesTM collection – as these are the memorable beginnings of the Recipe DetectiveTM. The following recipe is Mom’s imitation of Sanders’ Fudge Cake & Buttercream Icing, also representing National Chocolate Cake Day, which is today… Happy #ChocolateCakeDay!

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

To read more of Mom’s “Food for Thought” editorials on how it all began, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective is available for sale, at $20.99 each, through the publisher, Balboa Press, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062252; it’s also available in eBook form, for $3.99, at https://www.balboapress.com/Bookstore/BookDetail.aspx?BookId=SKU-001062253

#ThankGodItsMondayDay

NationalDayCalendar.com suggests that we… “Stop shaming Monday and look at what Monday has to offer… 52 CHANCES to see a beautiful sunrise… share your talents with the world… teach someone a new skill that will better their lives…” For me, it is 52 CHANCES to re-tell Mom’s story, again; and, hopefully, re-inspire love in the kitchen, in the home and family, throughout the neighborhood and around the world. Four down, 48 to go!