Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Happy Fall And Family

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

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalFallFoliageWeek

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

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

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

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

#NationalFamilyDay

#SelfImprovementMonth

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

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

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

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

HAVING A GOOD ATTITUDE TOWARD COOKING

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

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

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

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

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

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

LAST THOUGHTS…

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

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

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

#NationalCornedBeefHashDay

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

COMING SOON…

OCTOBER IS NATIONAL BOOK MONTH & NATIONAL COOKBOOK MONTH!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Other celebrations for this week include:

Today is also… National Chocolate Milk Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#TGIM

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

…39 down and 13 to go!

Happy Fall Y’All

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

#TheRecipeDetective

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

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

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

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

#SelfImprovementMonth

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

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

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

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

HAVING A GOOD ATTITUDE TOWARD COOKING

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

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

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

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

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

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

LAST THOUGHTS…

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

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

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

#NationalCornedBeefHashDay

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

COMING SOON…

OCTOBER IS NATIONAL BOOK MONTH & NATIONAL COOKBOOK MONTH!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Other celebrations for this week include:

Today is also… National Chocolate Milk Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#TGIM

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

…39 down and 13 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Flavors Of Michigan

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

#TheRecipeDetective

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

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

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

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

#PureMichigan

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

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

#NationalAmericanaMonth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

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

THE SECRET RECIPE REPORT

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

IN CLOSING…

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

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

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

TODAY IS ALSO NATIONAL READ A BOOK DAY!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

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

Other celebrations happening this week include:

Today is also… National Coffee Ice Cream Day!

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

Wednesday, September 8th is… National Ampersand Day!

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

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

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

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

#TGIM

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

…36 down and 16 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Americana Happiness

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

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalBeachDay

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

#NationalBackToSchoolMonth

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

#PureMichigan

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

#HappinessHappensMonth

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

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

‘FRIENDS ARE A TREASURE and, when we count our blessings, we count our friends twice! It’s not possible to have a full and happy life without others to share with, to help when help is needed, to be helped when help is offered.’ – Gloria Pitzer

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

IN THE SUMMERTIME…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#NationalSandwichMonth

#NationalAmericanaMonth

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

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

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

#NationalSandwichMonth

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

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

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

Other celebrations happening this week include:

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#TGIM

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

…35 down and 17 to go!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Retailers And Restaurants Unite

Happy Monday everyone and, once again, #TGIM! I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances a year, in which I can share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

Over the past few weeks I’ve been identifying some of the oldest, American fast-food/restaurant-chain franchises, whose famous menu choices were among the building blocks upon which Mom created her legacy as the Recipe DetectiveTM. She investigated, tested and imitated their famous dishes at home, in her own kitchen, and shared her developments in her self-published newsletters and cookbooks – as well as through radio and TV talk-shows – for over 40 years (1974-2014).

#NationalAmericanaMonth

As I mentioned last week, September is National Americana Month! It’s a great opportunity to reminisce about the “Norman Rockwell basics” of life in America. We often idealize and idolize those simple things that have uniquely woven us together as Americans!

When I think of the nostalgic icons that represent Americana to me, in terms of food-related, I think of the famous fast-food chains across our country, as well as the traditional state fairs, carnivals, and carhop drive-ins. Even department store restaurants and dime store cafeterias make the reminiscing list for me!

1974 heading of Mom’s first newsletter.

Department store eateries are just another niche in the vast food industry from which Mom found inspiration in imitating “famous foods from famous places”. DepartmentStoreHistory.net says: “The three biggest department stores in the mid-1960s, both in sales volume and physical size, were Macy’s, Hudson’s, and Marshall Field, in that order.” Their mentioning of Hudson’s (a former Detroit area icon), really brought me a lot of pleasant childhood memories.

In fact, there was a report on the iconic J.L. Hudson’s site, in Detroit, not too long ago, in our local news; as it is being re-developed. The Detroit Hudson’s store was once the tallest department store in the world! It was such a sad day, when they closed their doors in 1983; and even sadder, when the iconic, historical building was imploded in 1998.

There is a lot of great information about the new project and the history of Hudson’s at https://www.hudsonssitedetroit.com/. Mom imitated at least 28 menu offerings from the Hudson’s dining room – as Hudson’s was one of her favorite places to shop and dine! She used to joke that she wanted her ashes spread around Hudson’s purse department, after she was gone.

First 5 books of the Secret Recipes Collection

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

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

During the financial panic of 1873, Joseph L. Hudson was a young man, working with his father in a men’s clothing store in Michigan. Times were hard. Customers could hardly pay their bills. After Joseph’s father died, partly from worrying, young Joseph struggled with the business for about three years and eventually went into bankruptcy, in spite of all he tried to do to bring the business up.

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

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

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

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

Recently, I read an article by Katherine Martinelli (July 20, 2018), at EatThis.com, about stores with amazing restaurants. I was flooded with memories of going to the malls and big department stores, like Hudson’s, as a young girl, in the 1970s.

I remember when Mom would take me and my sisters to the malls and department stores like Sears, J.C. Penny’s and J.L. Hudson’s. It was an all-day shopping event combined with Mom’s work, as each of us girls would get a handful of her business cards to stick in the pockets of various clothes and purse displays while we shopped. It was an innovative way she had developed, to advertise to her “target audience”, based on inspiration from a Detroit car salesman. It was so fun!

After a few hours of shopping and marketing, we’d all take a break to have lunch in one of the department stores’ dining rooms, where Mom found a lot of great dishes to mimic at home. My sisters and I had a 5-star rating system of our own for the restaurants we went to with Mom on any of her investigative reviews – it was, actually, largely based on how clean they were, especially in their restrooms!

Alex Witchell wrote an article Feb. 25, 2019 about the best department store restaurants, which was posted on the NYPost.com website. In it, she reminisced about those by-gone days of shopping and lunching with her own mom and sisters. I related to a lot of it.

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

MARKETING INSPIRATION

To make the mimeograph pay for itself, I even printed up my own business cards on it, using dime-store construction paper and then cutting the cards apart with scissors until I had neat little stacks of about 50 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.

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

Due to the ever changing shopping and eating habits of Americans, we’ve seen the rise and fall of many retail establishments. In this new era of Amazon and online shopping, department stores and malls are now becoming more like the relics of bygone days.

The idea of eating where you shop can be tracked back to 18th century Europe. Many argue about who started the idea of “eating where you shop” in America. Macy’s claims to have opened the first restaurant within a department store in May 1878 (originally Marshall Field’s Walnut Room).

Others say that in-store restaurants were already established (in America) earlier, in the 1870s, when Wanamaker’s, in New York and Philadelphia, were offering consumers the first in-store eateries, in which shoppers could pause in the middle of their bargain-hunting excursions to rest and have some sustenance (before continuing on).

The idea was based on the theory that the longer consumers remained in a store, the more they were likely to look at more things and, thus, buy more things. It was a groundbreaking marketing tactic to attract and keep shoppers!

‘You certainly won’t hear opportunity knocking at the front door, if you’re in the back yard looking for four-leaf clovers.’ – Gloria Pitzer [My Cup Runneth Over – And I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 4)]

In a 2015 essay by Angela Serratore, “In Praise of the Department Store Restaurant”, at Racked.com, she wrote: “Department store restaurants allowed middle-class women in the throes of consumer ecstasy to pause and refresh themselves in a manner that was, above all, civilized… The food was fancy but not overly so – consommé, tongue sandwiches, and delicate fruit salads all appear on a 1901 Macy’s menu – and nothing served would render a woman incapable of continuing to shop after she’d finished.”

Famous department stores with restaurants, cafés and tea rooms – as they were often called – which come to mind, past and present, include Marshall Field’s, JL Hudson’s, JC Penny’s, Saks 5th Avenue, Tiffany’s, Bloomingdale’s, Bergdorf Goodman, Macy’s, Neiman Marcus, Barney’s, Nordstrom’s, and Lord & Taylor’s.

Even the, later, general merchandise, “big box” stores like Walmart, Target, Kmart, Kresge’s, Sears, and Woolworth’s joined the band wagon with their own lunch counters and cafeterias – or they rented space within their stores to “established brands” like Starbuck’s and Subway. From most of these places, Mom imitated at least one of their famous dishes, but usually more.

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer, as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997, p. 2)

We’ve seen Mom-and-Pop shops struggle to compete against department and “big box” stores, which competed with the all-inclusive mall settings, which are now struggling to compete against virtual stores, online. Small and large retailers, alike, have been disappearing due to the rise in online shopping over the years, but it especially exploded this year due to the brick-and-mortar store closings for the Covid-19 pandemic restrictions.

Those establishments that were not already involved with the growth of the internet and hadn’t yet closed their doors, were teetering on bankruptcy due to the rise in online shopping over in-store shopping, especially among the newer generations. To make matters worse, those retailers who were hanging on by a thread, trying to come up with new marketing gimmicks to bring consumers back to their brick-and-mortar stores, were more-or-less “done-in” by the pandemic’s restrictions.

Additionally, according to a blog at Cheapism.com, about 38 companies that were already on shaky ground have filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy, this year, due to the various impacts from the Covid-19 pandemic. Among those listed were iconic department stores like Neiman Marcus, Lord & Taylor’s, J. C. Penny’s, and Sears-Kmart.

In memory of Hudson’s iconic footprint, here is Mom’s imitation of the famous Hudson’s Maurice Salad & Dressing…

As seen in her self-published cookbook…

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

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

#GoodNeighborDay

Next Monday, September 28th, is National Good Neighbor Day!

Additionally, I will be on the Good Neighbor show, next Monday (at about 11:08am Central Time); which is hosted by Kathy Keene, on WHBY!

You can listen, live or later, through the station’s website at https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/.

https://www.whby.com/goodneighbor/

#CelebrateEveryDay

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

…38 down, 14 to go!

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