Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Dawn of Summer

Hello and happy Monday to all! I personally look forward to Mondays, each and every week! They’re my 52 Chances a year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

The year is almost half-way through and the dawn of summer (aka: Memorial Day, which is considered the un-official start of summer) is only a week away! Memorial Day was originally established as a day of remembrance, set aside to honor our veterans who died, serving in the U.S. military.

Our hearts go out to their surviving families, as those veterans gave their lives, protecting our country and our freedoms. Therefore, while we enjoy celebrating our freedoms this coming weekend, keep in mind at what cost we have them, in the first place! Likewise, let us also commemorate those veterans for the ultimate sacrifice they all made for us.

Traditionally, many towns honor their local veterans with floral wreaths and small American flags on their graves, as well as with community parades and special memorial services. Afterward, many of us will celebrate the extended weekend with pot-lucks or family picnics or backyard barbecues [as it is National Barbecue Month, too]!

#NationalBarbecueMonth

For some reason, Americans always like to find ways to “celebrate”, even the most somber of days, with optimism, happiness, and hope – and, of course, food! As I mentioned a few weeks ago, this is one of those holidays that didn’t make Wikipedia’s top 10 celebrated Public Holidays in the United States. But it’s still noteworthy as being celebrated with a lot of food!

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 turn out. How little did we know what big challenges would tempt us to give up [and] to succumb to defeat.

#RoadTripDay

#NationalCoolerDay

Additionally, this coming Friday will also be National Road Trip Day and National Cooler Day! It’s one of those times, with the extended weekend, when hundreds of thousands of people (me and my husband included) will hit the road for a long weekend getaway – or maybe just a one day journey with a picnic somewhere.

After my parents became empty-nesters and needed a break from their long work week, they often chose to go on a road trip somewhere. It didn’t matter if it was a planned route or the “other scenic route” (that’s what Dad called it when he got lost). They were together and away from “it all”, just enjoying each other and the beautiful Michigan scenery!

#PureMichigan

Sometimes, however, work would always manage to creep back in whenever they stopped for a bite to eat, as Mom usually managed to find something good that she wanted to analyze and duplicate when she got back home. My husband and I can relate to the road trip getaway. We love taking road trips like my parents did. Michigan, and the whole Great Lakes area, is a wonderful place to explore and unwind from a hectic work week.

Needless to say, I can’t wait until we can begin our ‘motor-home camping’ again with our Good Sam friends. It’s our weekend vacation pleasure, May through October. Becoming part of the Good Sam organization is the best thing that has ever happened to us, where we could both enjoy mutual friendships and activities. Wonderful, caring people, who constantly remind us that ‘there are no strangers in Good Sam – only friends we haven’t met, yet!’ – Gloria Pitzer, from Gloria Pitzer’s Secret RecipesTM Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May-June 1987, 126th issue, p. 3)]

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipes Newsletter (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Jan-Feb. 1988, p. 1)

GOOD SAM, GOOD EXAMPLE

One thing among many that I have learned from Good Sam, the national RV organization, to which Paul and I have belonged for three years now [since 1985]; is that you should never ever withhold your enthusiasm for caring about others.

Never regret anything you do or say on behalf of the good it might bring to those [about whom] you care – for, if your motives are unselfish, and your intentions are to encourage or enrich or benefit others, you can’t lose. You should jump right in, adding enthusiasm to whatever it is that you are doing that might appear to be just a passive condition when enthusiasm is needed.

Try a little enthusiasm! …Enthusiasm and optimism go hand-in-hand with happiness. These provide us with an emotional springboard from which we can dive quite smoothly, into deep and troubled waters, and still surface refreshed and invigorated. (p. 1)

The trouble with trying to be happy all the time is that most people look for one particular condition or experience or possession, from which they hope to derive complete contentment, forgetting that happiness is a moment – not a forever! (p. 4)

MANY PEOPLE FEEL THAT life is uphill all the way. They fail to look at the things that are good, enjoyable, and worthwhile. They are conscience only of the climb. No road is ever uphill forever! We should soon learn the importance of being able to also come downhill without fear and be able to notice the scenery along the road, too.’ – Gloria Pitzer, The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979)

LAST THOUGHTS…

Here are four basic tips for planning road trips that I shared last year…

    • Always bring a real roadmap, as there are places that actually don’t have any cell service for miles.
    • Allow extra time and gas (or electric charge – whatever the case may be) for spontaneity. In case you decide to take a detour or two to other map dots along the way!
    • Stop frequently and take breaks – “smell the roses”, photograph the memories, and talk to the locals.
    • Pack a cooler with some drinks and snacks, even if you plan to eat at restaurants along the way. You know what they say about the best laid plans…

I hope you enjoy your extended weekend and 2022’s dawn of summer!

IN CLOSING…

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

In honor of May, also being National Salad Month, here is Mom’s secret recipe for Seven Layer Salad – from her last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 37), a revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition).

This was always a popular dish that Mom to took to many summer pot lucks. I also shared this recipe with Kathy Keene’s “Good Neighbor” audience, on WHBY (in Appleton, WI), around this time last year.

#NationalSaladMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of May’s observances include… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month,  National Inventor’s Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Today is also… National Lucky Penny Day and National Taffy Day!

May 24th, is… National Yucatan Shrimp Day, National Brother’s Day, National Escargot Day, and National Wyoming Day! 

May 25th, is… National Brown-Bag It Day and National Wine Day!

May 26th, is… National Blueberry Cheesecake Day!

May 27th, is… National Grape Popsicle Day! Plus, as the Friday before Memorial Day (for 2022), it is also… National Don’t Fry Day! 

May 28th, is… National Brisket Day, National Beef Burger Day, and National Hamburger Day! [NOTE: It’s also National Hamburger Month!] In honor of the latter three, here’s a re-share of Mom’s imitation of White Castle’s sliders…

#NationalBeefBurgerDay

#NationalHamburgerDay

#NationalHamburgerMonth

Sunday, May 29th, is… National Coq Au Vin Day!

#TGIM

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

…21 down and 31 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrate Your Neighbors

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

#TheRecipeDetective

#DoSomethingGoodForYourNeighborDay

Today is National Do Something Good for Your Neighbor Day! A neighbor was once defined as being near or next door to another. That has since expanded broadly to include any fellow human being.

Key traits of good neighbors include being friendly, available, and approachable. Other good traits are being respectful, mature, helpful, and trustworthy. Friendly neighbors always welcome new residents, introducing themselves, as well as other neighbors; always maintaining relationships and being sociable.

Generations ago, it was commonplace to know most, if not all, of your neighbors! However, according to a great article by John Anderer (Dec. 27, 2019), Sign Of The Times: 75% Of Adults Aren’t Friends With Any Of Their Neighbors, “1 in 4 people are living somewhere with ‘no sense of community spirit’ in their neighborhood.”

Over the decades, people have withdrawn from socializing with their neighbors. Furthermore, John wrote that “56% say they have no interest in getting to know those who live next door any better than they already do. But the survey did find that people living in rural areas (18%) are more likely to have friends in their neighborhood than city dwellers (15%).”

Mom celebrated “neighbors” (in the broader meaning) over the radio airwaves for many decades, 1974 to 2014, starting with Bob Allison and his Detroit area Ask Your Neighborshow’s audience, who were the first to call her “The Secret Recipe Detective”.

Bob and Mom formed a fast friendship, and she soon became a regular guest on his show every Monday for decades, sharing her secrets for imitating famous foods.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Secret Restaurant Recipes Book (National Homemaker’s Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; Jan. 1977)

ASK YOUR NEIGHBOR

FOR NEARLY TWO YEARS, we had only a hundred readers or so. Then, because some good folks in the media took a liking to the newsletter and mentioned it, subscriptions picked up. Bob Allison of Detroit’s WWJ-Radio [show], Ask Your Neighbor, probably gave us the most enthusiastic reception, which led to our becoming a sponsor of the show and caught the attention of the ‘Detroit Free Press’ ‘Newsweek’, ‘National Enquirer’ and many others until we found our circulation had jumped…to nearly 4,000 in a little more than a year.

The duplications of the famous name recipes stirred the [public’s] interest. It was a service that apparently had not been offered to the public yet, and one we were most happy to supply. The humorous columns I had [been syndicating] to newspapers just a few years before became a popular attraction in the monthly newsletter…

The operation grew so quickly that it had the whole family working seven days a week, just to keep up with the orders. All of our five children helped to assemble, staple, address, and mail out the copies under my husband’s supervision, until we reached about 3,000 readers and then we found it [to be] such a full-time activity that my husband resigned from his position of 20-some years as an account t executive for a sign company… just  to devote all of his attention to running my ‘office’. 

It was such a joy to be doing something for people that brought them so much happiness and our own family such a sense of unity. When our oldest son, Bill, went off to college… and our [other] son, Mike… we had to replace them. It was pure luck [or Divine intervention] that one of my friends, and the wife of one of the Little League coaches that Paul had worked with in baseball, here, in town, was anxious to help us out.

Sherry Ellis joined us, and I can only describe her as ‘bubbling like a happy brook’ – the best thing that this office could have hoped for. Debbie, our oldest daughter, continued to help us after school and our two younger daughters, Laurie and Cheryl… It even included my mother’s assistance and, you’ll note, I have used some of her recipes. Without her, I never would have learned to boil water properly. She’s a superb cook!

[As of] January 1977, we will publish our 37th monthly issue of the ‘National Homemaker’s Newsletter’ and we [now] have close to 5,000 readers. We say that getting the newsletter is just like getting together once a month for coffee with friends!

It was a bittersweet day when Mom published her last newsletter (Issue #219) in December 2000 – after 27 years of “getting together” with her thousands of readers, who she always thought of as her neighbors and friends. But she reveled in keeping in touch with them through her radio “appearances”.

By the way, Mom also celebrated neighbors for almost 13 years (June 1992 through December 2005), as did I for 13 months (April 2020 through May 2021), with radio talk show host, Kathy Keene, and her “Good Neighbor” show’s audience, on WHBY in Appleton, WI. I’m honored to have been able to share that with her.

According to a consensus of online advice, a few great ways to make friends with your neighbors, new or otherwise, include taking the initial step (if they haven’t come to you) and knocking on their doors, with a greeting and introduction.

Sometimes organizing a housewarming party or backyard barbecue can create a great ice-breaker event between neighbors, in which they can get to know each other. Such gatherings help neighbors and neighborhoods find common ground on which to connect.

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

Excerpts by Gloria Pitzer, from…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, pp. 50 & 59)

DON’T GIVE UP!

PEOLE NOWADAYS GIVE UP too easily. They’ll donate a dollar to an anonymous recipient of any given charity but won’t give two words to an offended neighbor – the two most important words of successfully living side-by-side – ‘I’m sorry.’

You don’t throw away the patient because the bandage needs changing. You try again, and again, and again for some common ground of understanding. Otherwise, how will we, as a society, ever be able to love our neighbors across the world, until we’ve first learned to love those across the street? (p. 50)

SATISFACTION GUARANTEED

IT’S GOOD TO HAVE good neighbors! I guess that’s why I never want to move from this house. We don’t even know all of our neighbors by name, but we recognize their smiles and respond to their waving when we passed by or see each other in town.

The other day I asked one of the older neighbors on the block where he got his lovely outlook on life, which he said he borrowed from Khalil Gibran: ‘I have learned silence from the talkative, toleration from the intolerant, and kindness from the unkind.’ (p. 59)

LAST THOUGHTS…

IN CLOSING…

Today is National Barbecue Day AND it’s National Barbecue Month! In honor, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for sugar-free “Barbeque Sauce” AND FOUR MORE – #DoSomethingGoodForYourNeighborDay – related recipes including sugar-free versions of Apple Sauce, Ketchup, Apple Butter, and Catalina Dressing; all of which are found in her self-published cookbook, Sugar-Free Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1987, pp. 12, 50, 54 & 67).

#NationalBarbecueDay

#NationalBarbecueMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of May’s observances include… American Cheese Month, National Asparagus Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Other celebrations this week include… National Bike to Work Week, which began yesterday; with National Bike to Work Day observed on Friday!

Today is also… National Love a Tree Day, National Mimosa Day, and National Biographer’s Day!

Tomorrow is… National Pack Rat Day, National Cherry Cobbler Day, National Walnut Day, and National Idaho Day!

May 18th, is… National Visit Your Relatives Day, National No Dirty Dishes Day, and National Cheese Soufflé Day! Plus, as the third Wednesday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Juice Slush Day! In honor, here’s a re-share of Mom’s “Orange Brutus” recipe that is 3-in-1; from her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p. 32)!

#NationalJuiceSlushDay

Thursday, May 19th, is… National Devil’s Food Cake Day!

May 20th, is… National Pick Strawberries Day [plus it’s National Strawberry Month] and National Quiche Lorraine Day! Plus, as the 3rd Friday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Pizza Party Day!

May 21st, is… National Strawberries and Cream Day! Did you pick strawberries yesterday? Plus, as the 3rd Saturday in May(for 2022), it’s also… National Armed Forces Day and National Learn to Swim Day! 

Sunday, May 22nd, is… National Craft Distillery Day, World Paloma Day, National Maritime Day, National Solitaire Day, and National Vanilla Pudding Day!

#TGIM

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

…20 down and 32 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrating Food And Foodies

Once again, happy Monday! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays; as they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#MothersDay

I hope everyone enjoyed their Mother’s Day celebrations, yesterday, with their families! It’s been five years since I celebrated it with my mom. I still miss her, so much! However, I do love celebrating it with my own kids (now adults), just as Mom did with us – at a restaurant, or with carry-out, or having a backyard cookout – as long as it doesn’t involve me having to cook or clean-up for one day! On the other hand, I actually enjoy doing all that for any other celebrations!

Did you know that Mother’s Day is America’s third most celebrated holiday? The top 10 celebrated Public Holidays in the United States, according to Wikipedia, are as follows:

    1. Christmas
    2. Thanksgiving
    3. Mother’s Day
    4. Easter
    5. Independence Day
    6. Halloween
    7. Father’s Day
    8. Valentine’s Day
    9. Patrick’s Day
    10. New Year’s Day (& Eve)

Other noteworthy, unofficial “holidays”, celebrations of which embrace food (and/or drinks) in some way, include Major League Baseball’s opening day, Super Bowl Sunday, Spring Break Week, Memorial Day Weekend and Labor Day Weekend!

There are also special milestones that we celebrate with food, as well – engagements, weddings and anniversaries, along with pregnancies and birthdays are most common. Additional fetes include confirmations, bar/bat mitzvas, graduations, family reunions, retirements, job promotions, and house-warmings.

People usually celebrate almost every special day or event with some kind of food (and/or drink) – except for a few religious holidays, as they focus on “fasting”. New Year’s Day through New Year’s Eve, all the big holidays and special events in our lives are, in some fashion, marketed in the food industry as much as they are commemorated in the greeting card industry!

As I’ve said before,Any reason to celebrate, is a reason to celebrate with food(Feb. 24, 2020) would make a great ad slogan – but remember, I coined it first! No matter the occasion, even for something as simple as a Sunday supper, nothing amasses people together more than food. All-in-all, we love food almost as much as we love each other.

Sharing food is how we celebrate, make friends, nurture relationships, and mend conflicts. I remember when I was young, crying to Mom that I didn’t have any friends. The next day, she sent me to school with a lunch bag full of cookies to share with the other kids. Mom firmly believed that the way to the heart is through the stomach. Thus, friendships can be formed through the sharing of good food – and cookies are great ice-breakers! It worked for me!

Food brings us comfort, happiness, and joy. It makes us feel welcomed and connected, bringing out the best in us. Common interests in food allow us to bond with others, creating a sense of fitting in. Humans, by nature, seek pleasure and they often find it in food. Certain “comfort foods” – sugar, salt, and fat based foods are the three basic culprits – trigger pleasure censors in our brains, making us feel good (emotionally).

Food obviously provides nutrients for energy, growth, and health. However, in many cultures, certain foods and drinks symbolize status, power, and wealth. Food, as well as cooking, connects people – to each other, events, and places –crossing all borders, both, literally and figuratively. “Foodie” is the modern term given to the artisan who is passionate about food (& cooking).

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

FOOD FOR THOUGHT

Gloria Pitzer’s Secret Recipe Report (Secret Recipe Report, St. Clair, MI; Issue 85, January 1981; p. 2)

COOK’S HORROR-SCOPE

NOT MANY FOLKS KNOW, and even fewer folks care that cooking habits and preferences give a clue to others about your hidden characteristics and secret personality ingredients.

If you look closely at the kind of cooking that people enjoy, you can tell a lot about their disposition and attitudes toward life. Like an astrological reading – only in some cases it’s more like a ‘horror’-scope, the experts tell us what to expect of folks who choose the following cooking preferences:

THE GOURMET COOK – Is a perfectionist in theory – but not always in practice. They set high standards for themselves – and for others, making it difficult to please them. They’re conscientious about improving their present position, never completely satisfied with what they have and always secretly desiring to identify with the refinement and good taste that purports to accompany elegance.

THE JUNK FOOD COOK – Is a person who can make instant decisions and not be upset by an exhilarated lifestyle. They are a bit reckless in their choices, usually preferring total freedom and personal happiness even if there is a risk to be considered. They don’t like to waste time and cannot be troubled with unimportant details or pretensions. They like short-cuts because they are usually impatient – but extremely thrifty.

THE HEALTH FOOD (OR NATURAL FOODS) COOK – …Is pre-occupied with sound, physical health and well-being to the extent of sometimes sacrificing emotional well-being for disciplined decisions. How one feels physically and what makes the body operate and function properly is more important than how one thinks to this cook. They are basically apprehensive, fearful and suspicious. They insist upon facts – not assumptions. Hardly careless and extremely dedicated, they are dependable people.

DOWN-HOME COOKS – …are usually content with whatever sufficiency is assigned to them in life. They make the most of what they have, ‘making-do’ and ‘doing-without’ when necessary. They’re inventive and creative and appreciative.

ETHNIC COOKS – […are] proud of their heritage – are very family-oriented and serious about tradition, home life and moral obligations. Stable and sometimes stubborn people, but loyal!

When you enjoy cooking, spending time in the kitchen eases stress and restlessness. Cooking engages all of our senses. It also generates pleasant memories, which relieves anxiety and boosts attitudes. The immersion enhances the cook’s mood and improves happiness.

Mom turned creative cooking into a new art form when she pioneered the copycat cookery movement over 45 years ago. Cooking can be like any art form in that the artist – or the cook, in this case – finds harmony in the process of creating and satisfaction in seeing the finished product, as well as the joy it brings others.

When I was growing up, it seemed like every gathering Mom (and Dad) hosted or to which she took a dish-to-pass, Mom was a combination of David Copperfield and Da Vinci; creating, both, magic and art with her delightful, culinary cuisines! Check out a great, timeless article that I’ve recommended before, called Cooking is an Art: What Makes a Chef an Artist, Craftsman and Visionary by Colt Taylor (July 3, 2014), at EliteDaily.com!

LAST THOUGHTS…

Even if you’re not a “foodie”, here are some ways to help you fall more in love with cooking:

    • Get familiar with the basics by watching videos and/or taking a beginner’s cooking class.
    • Start with searching (online) for individual recipes that you’ll enjoy before investing in collections (i.e. books).
    • Experiment with different ingredient combinations to customize to your tastes.
    • Get family and friends involved with your new passion – share the love!

IN CLOSING…

In honor of May, being National Strawberry Month, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for Aunt Jenny’s Strawberry Chiffon Pie; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; June 1997, p.5).

#NationalStrawberryMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of May’s observances include… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Additionally, as the second full week in May (8th-14th of 2022), it’s… National Salvation Army Week and American Craft Beer Week!

Today is… National Moscato Day and National Butterscotch Brownie Day! Plus, it’s the start of National Etiquette Week (9th-13th for 2022)!

Tomorrow is… National Clean Up Your Room Day, National Shrimp Day, and National Washington Day!

Wednesday, May 11th, is… National Eat What You Want Day and National Foam Rolling Day!

Thursday, May 12th, is… National Limerick Day and National Nutty Fudge Day!

May 13th, is… National Crouton Day, National Apple Pie Day, and National Fruit Cocktail Day! Plus, as the first “Friday-the-13th” of the year (for 2022), it’s also… National Blame Someone Else Day!

Saturday, May 14th, is… National Buttermilk Biscuit Day! In honor, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for Kentucky Biscuits, as seen in her self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, p. 101).

#ButtermilkBiscuitDay

Plus, as the 2nd Saturday of May (for 2022), it’s also… Stamp Out Hunger Food Drive Day!

Sunday, May 15th, is… National Chocolate Chip Day! Plus, it’s the start of Bike to Work Week [15th-21st for 2022], which is always the week of National Bike to Work Day [3rd Friday in May (the 20th for 2022)]!

#TGIM

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

…19 down and 33 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Celebrating Mom

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

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalInventorsMonth

Mother’s Day is coming soon but there are also many other reasons for me to celebrate my mom this week! For one, it’s National Inventor’s Month! In the early 1970s, Mom broke new ground in the food industry, with her “invention” of “copycat cookery”, by imitating Americans’ favorite fast foods, restaurant dishes, and grocery products right at home!

Mom took the junk out of the junk foods that the critics warned us not to eat. For 40 years she wrote and self- published 40+ cookbooks, as well as hundreds of newsletter issues. Over the decades, her recipe catalog grew from a couple hundred imitations to tens of thousands! I’m still working on a master index list of all of her recipes.

Mom was on many TV and radio talk shows, locally as well as nationally and even internationally, promoting her copycat cookery concept that was taking the world by storm. As the food industry grew and evolved, so did Mom’s recipes! She also covered recipes for different needs such as sugar-free and low-carb diets and special, homemade, grocery products.

On top of all that, Mom also invented a new concept with-in her copycat cookery. She called it short-cut cookery – using 5 ingredients or less to accomplish the same end result as a longer list would achieve. For example, Mom discovered that mayonnaise made a great substitute for eggs and oil, while cake and pudding mixes contained many of the long list of dry ingredients found in things like from-scratch-cookies.

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)

HOW TO LAUNCH YOUR OWN RISKY BUSINESS

LET ME ASSURE YOU, there is no formula for furthering a business like ours. Many people have asked for advice in writing and publishing a cookbook or putting out a newsletter like ours and have seemed so disappointed when I also assure them that I cannot convey to them in a brief letter conversation, what it has taken me nearly 20 years to learn, mostly through experience, through trial and error – sometimes a lot of error!

But it is always a learning experience, as was the case with Thomas Edison when he was trying to invent the dry cell battery. After 200 tests and all failures, somebody else came out with the invention. Reporters asked Edison how he felt about his 200 failures, to which he replied: ‘Those weren’t 200 failures, at all. They were 200 things I found that wouldn’t work!’

#SmallBusinessWeek

Additionally, it’s also National Small Business Week! I’ve shared Mom’s story so many times, about how she quit her job at the newspaper and went home to start her own cottage-style, dining-room-table, recipe-publishing business, with her copycat cookery concept of “eating out at home”.

Mom definitely broke new ground, in the food industry, with her concept of imitating famous fast food fares and popular restaurant dishes at home, without any fancy gadgets or ingredients that waste money. If it saved her family’s food budget, Mom wanted to share it with the world!

‘THE HAPPIEST PEOPLE I know are those who discover that what they should be doing and what they are doing are the same thing!’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 19)

Mom had a knack for branding and promoting herself, her cooking concepts, her writings, her drawings, and her recipes. She was a very talented “Jill-of-many-trades”. I fondly remember when she used to take me and my sisters to the various shopping malls and department stores for a day of “working” and shopping, combined with lunch, too!

Each of us girls would get a handful of Mom’s business cards and, while we shopped, we’d stick them in various places throughout the stores; such as in the pockets of clothes and purses and inside the covers of books, just to name a few. We’d often take a lunch break in a Hudson’s dining room – one of Mom’s favorite places, as she imitated almost three dozen of their dishes (eight of which are in her last book)!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

I always thought it was so fun! Looking back, it was a very innovative way for Mom to advertise, locally, to her target audience; which, at that time, were other homemakers, like herself. Mom found her inspiration for this marketing method from an interview she had heard of an award-winning car salesman from the Detroit area.

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 [each] and a total of 200-300 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 [area of] 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.

LAST THOUGHTS…

Last month, we celebrated National Hug a Newsperson Day and National Columnists’ Day! Thursday is National Cartoonists Day! Mom wore each hat proudly in her lifetime – and she really did wear a lot of hats! I miss her a lot, especially as we approach next Sunday, which is Mother’s Day! Hug your mom if you can!

#NationalCartoonistsDay

IN CLOSING…

Today is National Truffle Day! In honor, here’s Mom’s secret recipe for homemade Truffles, from her self-published cookbook, The Joy Of NOT Cooking – Any More Than You Have To (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1983, p. 199).

#NationalTruffleDay

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of May’s national observances include… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Stroke Awareness Month, Older Americans Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Photography Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

Additionally, as the first full week in May (1st-7th of 2022), it’s also… National Wildflower Week and National Pet Week (1st-9th of 2022)!

Today is the first Monday in May (for 2022) and as such it’s also the start of… Teacher Appreciation Week!

Tomorrow is… National Garden Meditation Day, National Chocolate Custard Day, National Raspberry Pop Over Day, and National Montana Day! Plus, as Tuesday of the first week in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Teacher Appreciation Day!

Wednesday, May 4th, is… National Bird Day, National Orange Juice Day, National Candied Orange Peel Day, and National Star Wars Day!

#StarWarsDay

May 5th, is… National Totally Chipotle Day, National Hoagie Day, and Cinco de Mayo! Plus, as the first Thursday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Day of Reason!

Friday, May 6th, is… National Beverage Day and National Crepe Suzette Day!

May 7th is… National Packaging Design Day, National Paste-Up Day, and National Roast Leg of Lamb Day! Plus, as the first Saturday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Scrapbook Day, National Homebrew Day, Join Hands Day, and National Play Outside Day (which is on the 1st Saturday of EVERY month)!

Sunday, May 8th, is also… National Coconut Cream Pie Day and National Have A Coke Day! [NOTE: This is also the anniversary of Jeopardy referencing Mom & “The Colonel” (in 1986), as well as her second appearance on the Kelly & Company show (in 1991, on WXYZ-TV; channel 7, Detroit).]

Plus, as the start of the second full week in May (8th-14th of 2022), it’s… National Salvation Army Week and American Craft Beer Week!

#TGIM

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

…18 down and 34 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Stories Of Our Lives

Happy Monday, once again! I think Mondays are fabulous and I always look forward to every one of them, as they’re my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#TellAStoryDay

#NationalHumorMonth

Wednesday is celebrating National Tell a Story Day! That’s just what I try to do, here, every Monday. I love telling stories about my mom – and it’s become one of my favorite things to do every week! Likewise, Mom always loved to tell up-lifting and humorous stories in her columns, newsletters, and books – even through her cartoon panels.

By the way, for the rest of this week, it’s still National Humor Month, too! Similar to some of her favorite comedians, Mom found her “family life” to be the best source, on which to draw inspiration for her cleverly witted, food-for-thought stories and cartoons. She was creatively gifted as an artist, writer, and story-teller – among many other things.

#CoupleAppreciationMonth

Additionally, April is National Couple Appreciation Month! And, when you think about it, none of us would be here, with stories to tell, if it weren’t for our parents getting together – and their parents (pictured above) getting together – and so on! Therefore, as far as couples go, I have to say that I really appreciate my own parents – as well as each of their parents, etcetera.

However, I would think this national observance could be better celebrated in August (rather than April) – especially in this context – as that’s when most family reunions are held, especially on Labor Day weekend, to honor the families’ elders. Otherwise, wouldn’t it make better sense to hold family reunions in April, in honor of Couple Appreciation Month? This could be the new trend for “Spring Break” events!

Mom and Dad were together for 58 years, before Dad passed away in October 2014. The first 20 years of their marriage, Dad worked in various positions at a sign company. He retired in 1976 to help Mom with her business, which had grown a lot in its first couple of years, alone; and it was taking all of his attention, when he wasn’t working at the sign company, as it was. The last 38 of those years, Mom and Dad lived and worked together, side-by-side, 24/7.

#MarriageAndCompatibility

[NOTE: I shared this in one of my February blog posts, Marriage And Compatibility, along with Mom’s story of “Compatibility And Forgiveness”, from her own self-published book, My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 62-64).]

It takes a very special bond – and, as Mom claimed, a lot of forgiveness – to be practically inseparable, day-in and day-out. Many couples discovered that in the early months of the “pandemic shut-down”, when most states were issuing “stay-at-home” orders to try to curb the spread.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© Book (Secret RecipesTM, St, Clair, MI; June 1997, pp. 28-30)

HOMESPUN AFFORDABLE & EASY TO WORK WITH

When the recipe cards became so popular that we were packaging them, sometimes in complete [$40] sets of the full 200 selections, I began to look at the possibilities of doing my own recipe books – less-expensive to the customer, surely, and less work for us considering all of the myriad choices one can have with 200 individual cards.

I assembled several single page books that I could mimeograph, remaining independent in the production of them, and came up with several workable ideas. It was very shortly thereafter, [from] a printer Paul was dealing with, at the company he worked for in the city, that we learned how to layout our own camera-ready copy and provide the recipes quite inexpensively. It was such a relief to be rid of the messy mimeograph machine.

SELF-SUFFICIENT & SUCCESSFUL

Self-publishing is a hard row to hoe, but worth all efforts when the final product is the result of your dedication and determination not to fail. We hope to now be able to accept QVC’s offer to let them sell our books in a series of six, as they asked us to do just two weeks after we signed with Guthie-Renker [1993]. With that now long behind us, we are finally free to fix things the way they were before we fixed them!

BLESSING IN DISGUISE

It was a blessing in disguise that Paul’s assignments at the company where he worked had given him the job of purchasing agent, for it certainly prepared him strongly for the responsibilities that would come our way in branching out into self-publishing our books.

Every department he worked in at Willey Sign Company gave him a basic foundation for being able to structure our business into a self-sufficient operation, from advertising to marketing and bookkeeping.

It was right after the ‘National Enquirer’ and ‘People’ magazine and ‘The Washington Post’ interviewed us and [printed] stories about our work, that he found himself spending every evening after he got home from his job, every weekend and his two-week vacation time, as well, working on our recipe business, that he knew he had to make a choice.

He had to give up his 20-year job and the benefits and such in order to devote full-time to Secret RecipesTM. It was a decision we have never regretted. With only $1000 in the bank and all of the bills that continued to come in day after day, we launched our ship of dreams and have never once had any regrets. Nor have we ever gone one day [as of this printing] since that date, August 13, 1976, without an order!

‘The experiences we have encountered in building this family enterprise of ours, this cottage industry…has occurred while distributing recipe secrets through radio [and television] broadcasting and newspaper exposure… I have met some of the nicest people in the world, some of the most generous people who want to share their good ideas with me as much as I want to share mine with them. Of these good people, I will speak often and lovingly.’ – Gloria Pitzer [My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 2)]

LAST THOUGHTS…

I have a sign, hanging proudly, near my dining room table that reads: “There’s a room in every home where the smallest events and biggest occasions become the stories of our lives.” The table is the same one I grew up with in the 1960s and 1970s. It always seemed to be my family’s favorite spot in which to gather, eat, laugh, and talk about our lives. Those were, at least for me, great times; inspiring many, humorous, family stories.

IN CLOSING…

In honor of TODAY, being National Zucchini Bread Day, here is Mom’s copycat recipe for “Zucchini Bread, Inspired By Bill Knapp’s”; as seen in her self-published cookbook… Secret Knock-Off Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, Marysville, MI; Nov 1996, p. 35).

#ZucchiniBreadDay

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Some of April’s observances include… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Decorating Month, National Fresh Celery Month, National Garden Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, and Scottish-American Heritage Month!

Today is also… National Telephone Day and National Poem In Your Pocket Day (which changes annually – April 25 for 2022)!

Tomorrow is… National Kids and Pets Day, National South Dakota Day, and National Pretzel Day! Plus it’s also… National Soft Pretzel Month! Here’s another re-share of one of Mom’s imitations!

#NationalPretzelDay

#SoftPretzelMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

Wednesday, April 27th is… National Devil Dog Day and National Prime Rib Day!

April 28th is… National Blueberry Pie Day, National Great Poetry Reading Day, and National Workers’ Memorial Day! Plus, as the fourth Thursday in April, it’s also…  National Take Our Daughters and Sons to Work Day and National Teach Children To Save Day!

April 29th is… National Shrimp Scampi Day! Plus, as the last Friday in April (for 2022), it’s also… National Arbor Day!

April 30th is… National Oatmeal Cookie Day, National Raisin Day, and National Hairstylist Appreciation Day! PLUS, being the last Saturday in April (for 2022), it’s also… National Sense of Smell Day!

May begins on Sunday, observing, among other things… American Cheese Month, Better Speech and Language Month, National Asparagus Month, National Stroke Awareness Month, Older Americans Month, National Barbecue Month, National Egg Month, National Get Caught Reading Month, National Hamburger Month, National Inventor’s Month, National Photography Month, National Preservation Month, National Recommitment Month, National Salad Month, National Salsa Month, National Strawberry Month, and Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month!

May 1st, is also… National Loyalty Day, National May Day, and National Chocolate Parfait Day! Plus, as the first Sunday in May (for 2022), it’s also… National Lemonade Day! Additionally, as the first full week in May (1st-7th of 2022), it’s also the start of… Small Business Week, National Wildflower Week, and National Pet Week (1st-9th of 2022)!

#TGIM

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

…17 down and 35 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Columnist & Cartoonist

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

#TheRecipeDetective

A couple of weeks ago was National Hug a Newsperson Day and today it’s National Columnists’ Day! I used to think they’re the same but learned they’re not. A newsperson reports news stories objectively, fairly, and accurately, without opinion or viewpoint. Columnists write narratives to provoke and produce particular feelings and/or beliefs. Mom did both, preferring the latter. For many years, she was a proud member of the Federation of Press Women, in Michigan.

Before authoring and self-publishing over 200 newsletter issues and more than 40 cookbooks, Mom wrote and syndicated many journalistic columns with satirical viewpoints of current events and hot topics, particularly as they related to homemakers and their families, during the Women’s Liberation era.

Mom’s columns ran under various titles, such as The Pitzer Patter, Minding the Hearth, The Cook’s Corner, Food for Thought, and No Laughing Matter. Mom also created a series of cartoon panels, many of which I’ve shared in these blog posts, called Full House, as kept by Gloria Pitzer; which also focused on the humorous side of the not-so-liberated-life of a homemaker, like herself.

Mom always had a cynical sense of humor – not just in her writings and drawings, but also in her outlook on life. Fifty years later, I’m still amazed by the timelessness of some of the issues, about which Mom wrote. I guess the old adage is true, “the more things change, the more they stay the same”.

History continually tends to repeat itself in new forms of old events. We still need to fix the roads and there’s still corruption in politics. Every now and then, we still face a food crisis or flood or drought or some kind of seasonal/regional natural disaster. There continues to be reoccurring rises in unemployment, interest rates, the cost of living, and general inflation. These were topics Mom covered as, both, a newsperson and columnist.

‘It was all leading to my eventual work in the food industry – but I couldn’t see that at the time – I could only see that I had to write and with any luck at all, luck would be when preparation and experience met opportunity. The opportunity was close at hand.’ – Gloria Pitzer [As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 294).]

About fifty years ago, Mom left her newspaper job and began her family-owned-and-operated, cottage-style, dining-room-table business; releasing her first, self-published, cookbook, The Better Cooker’s Cookbook, in early 1973. It was compiled from a collection of recipes she had developed while writing her syndicated, recipe column, Cookbook Corner.

Mom faced major challenges, personally and professionally, when she suddenly switched gears, going from a syndicated columnist to a self-published author. In addition, during the 1970s, there were food shortages, paper shortages, sky-rocketing unemployment, and more.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 6)

IT ALL STARTED WITH THE STROKE OF A PEN

IN THE EARLY 1970s, I was trying to juggle marriage, motherhood, homemaking and a newspaper column syndicated through Columbia Features, when it seemed obvious to me that there wasn’t a single cookbook on the market that could help me take the monotony out of mealtime. There was not a single recipe in the newspaper’s food section that did not smack of down-home dullness!

‘Okay,’ they said at the newspaper I worked for, ‘YOU write the column on foods and recipes that YOU think would really excite the readers and make them happy!’ I did, but that didn’t make the Editors happy, because it made their [food industry] advertisers miserable.

When I was told that I’d have to go back to monotonous meatloaf and uninteresting side-dishes that made mealtime a ritual rather than a celebration or ‘pick up my check’, I told them to ‘MAIL it to me!’ I went home to start my own paper!

It was probably a dumb thing to do, amid an economic recession with the highest rate of unemployment I had ever experienced, but it was worth the risk. I was a dedicated writer that knew someone had to give homemakers something more than what they were being given in the colored glossy magazines, where a bowl of library paste could even be photographed to look appetizing!

Fate seemed to guide Mom in a particular direction, and she faithfully followed, trusting that this was God’s plan for her. In the fall of 1973, Mom put together her first newsletter, titled Gloria Pitzer’s Homemaker’s Newsletter, which she launched in January 1974.

She also sold her growing copycat recipes collection, through the mail, printed individually on 4” x 6” index cards, for 25-cents each or five for a dollar. These are the recipes she later referred to as her “Original 200 Plus Recipes” and she self-published a book of them in 1997.

After a couple years of success with her recipe cards and newsletters, Mom decided to discontinue her growing catalog of cards (some of which she already had to discontinue to make room for newer ones) and start putting her collections into a series of various cookbooks.

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. 22)

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…

LAST THOUGHTS…

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

Mom lived to write but often said it was her writing that made living worthwhile. One of the nicest things about being a writer – whether it’s as a newsperson, syndicated columnist, book author, blogger, or something else – (especially during the past couple of years) is that you can usually work from home-sweet-home.

IN CLOSING…

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

Since April is National Pecan Month, here’s Mom’s copycat recipe for Spanish Pecan Cookies; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 220). [A revised reprint of Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983, 3rd Edition)].

#NationalPecanMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

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

As the third full week of April (2022), it’s… National Volunteer Week! Plus, it’s… National Volunteer Month!

Today is also… National Animal Crackers Day!

Tomorrow is… National Amaretto Day, National Garlic Day, and National North Dakota Day!

Wednesday, April 20th is… National Cheddar Fries Day and National Pineapple Upside Down Cake Day!

April 21st is… National Chocolate Covered Cashews Day! Plus, as the third Thursday of the second quarter (for 2022), it’s also… Get to Know Your Customers Day!

Friday, April 22nd is… National Earth Day, National Girl Scout Leader’s Day, and National Jelly Bean Day!

Saturday, April 23rd is… National Cherry Cheesecake Day, National Picnic Day, and National Take a Chance Day!

April 24th is… National Pigs in a Blanket Day! Plus, as the last Sunday in April, it’s also… National Pet Parents Day!

#TGIM

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

…16 down and 36 to go!

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

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

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalMonthOfHope

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

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

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 104-105)

CHRISTIAN SCIENCE HEALING

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

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

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

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

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

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

PERFECT PRESCRIPTION

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LAST THOUGHTS…

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

Happy Easter (in advance)!

IN CLOSING…

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

#NationalPetDay

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

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

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

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

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

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

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

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

#NationalPecanDay#NationalPecanMonth

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

April 16th is… National Eggs Benedict Day!

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

#TGIM

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

…15 down and 37 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Turning Points

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

#TheRecipeDetective

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

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

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

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

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

THE PHIL DONAHUE SHOW

SURPRISE – A DREAM COME TRUE!

If you’ve ever seen 1 million letters, you know how we felt when we tried to handle the overwhelming response [from our July 7, 1981, appearance on The Phil Donahue Show, in Chicago]! It was exhausting!

Our home, which was both our office and our sanctuary, became like a factory, with people helping us to process the mail, eventually having to return thousands of the orders to the customers with our deepest regrets that we could not, in all fairness to them, delay their order.

The onslaught of mail had forced us to do this. We were all working from 7 AM until 1 or 2 AM the next morning just to open and read the mail. Our phone bill had been buried in some of that mail and in a month’s time, being something like 23 to 24 days behind in opening the mail, our phone was shut off for non-payment of our bill.

As soon as we realized what the mail was doing to us, we tried to get Donahue’s people to stop the continued scheduled showings of our appearance. But that show remained on their repeat schedule for almost a year, playing in the Panama Canal zone, Greenland, Iceland, Australia and on hundreds of small town stations.

Most of the letters requested a sheet of ‘free’ recipes that were included with the order blank for a self-addressed stamped envelope to us. The offer would have been good for us, if it had only been shown that one time – the day on which we appeared on the show – but for nearly a year afterward, the requests still came, as did the complaints and the threats to report us to postal authorities for not having sent those ‘free’ recipes, tore us apart emotionally and physically!

Some people did not include their self-addressed-stamped envelope. Some envelopes were addressed to themselves, such as Joe Smith, but in care of OUR address instead of THEIR address. It was a confusing mess! Some people wrote threatening letters that they hadn’t received their orders and were turning us over to the postmaster general as frauds!

I laid my head on my desk many a time, in tears of anguish and fatigue. The family was falling apart. We couldn’t print our books fast enough, to fill all the orders! Then the post office, in delivering the thousands of books that we DID mail out, lost some, destroyed some, and delayed and even mis-directed other orders.

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

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

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

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

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

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

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

By Gloria Pitzer, January 1996 (unpublished)

THE PHIL DONAHUE SHOW, AGAIN!

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

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

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

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

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

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

LAST THOUGHTS…

ALSO FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

EVERY DAY IS A NEW DAY!

We always look for a turning point in our lives when things have not gone smoothly. I’m beginning to believe that every day is a turning point – that each experience contributes to our eventual goals and growth. I caution my newsletter readers, even today, not to think in terms of ‘forever’. Think of now and forever will take care of itself.

Most of us worry too much about what my mother calls ‘loaves and fishes’. ‘We worry too much’, Mom insists, and rightly so, ‘about having something to live ON – and too little about having something to live FOR!’

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

IN CLOSING…

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

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

#NationalPecanMonth

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

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

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

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

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

#TwinkieDay

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

April 8th is… National All is Ours Day!

April 9th is… National Chinese Almond Cookie Day!

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

#TGIM

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

…14 down and 38 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Cleaning Week Is Here

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

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalCleaningWeek

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

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

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

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

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

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

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

(date unknown; circ. 1970s)

GIVE ME LIBERTY OR…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

LAST THOUGHTS…

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

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

IN CLOSING…

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

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

#SomethingOnAStickDay

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

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

Today is also… National Black Forest Cake Day!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

#TGIM

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

…13 down and 39 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Tips For Branding Yourself

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

#TheRecipeDetective

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

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

 1. DEFINE YOUR BRAND…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 2. BECOME AN EXPERT IN YOUR FIELD

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

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

 3. MAKE YOURSELF KNOWN

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

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, pp. 38-39)

THE HAPPY COOKER

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

[SEPTEMBER 1974] All I was doing was breaking even when Dennis Wholley, at channel 7 in Detroit, received a copy of my September newsletter of that first year of publishing. He called, though, and asked me in the family to appear on one of his broadcasts of ‘A.M. Detroit’, which we did – and which also opened up a brand-new door to opportunities I did not dream of encountering so quickly.

Of course, then, I did have to tell Paul all about the newsletter, what I had been doing and why I could not confide in him, knowing how skeptical he would have been about it. He practically agreed with me that, yes, he would’ve doubted that it would have had a future for us. Today, however, he’s willing to see it quite differently.

When I sent Dennis Wholley a copy of the newsletter, I also sent a copy to Bob Hynes, who then was host for the afternoon movie with CKLW-TV, channel 9, across the river [from Detroit] in Windsor, Ontario. There was no response immediately from CK-TV, but the day after I appeared on Dennis Wholley’s program, Bob Hynes called and asked if we could visit his show on New Year’s Eve day [December 31] (1974) and bring the entire family too.

The movie that day, I remember, was ‘Tammy and the Bachelor’ with Debbie Reynolds. His guests for the intermission was Lynn Redgrave, who was there to plug her new movie, ‘The Happy Hooker’. When I introduced myself to Miss Redgrave in the studio that day, I said, ‘It’s a pleasure to meet you, Miss Redgrave. I understand you are the happy hooker. I’m the happy cooker!’

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

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

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

The appearances on both of these shows brought us so many subscriptions to the newsletter and as the response increased, so did the amount of time that Paul gave me for processing the orders. He could see that I could not do it alone. Every evening and every weekend and even his two-week vacation from his job at the sign company, were given to working on the recipe orders with me.

 4. GENERATE AWARENESS THROUGH NETWORKING

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

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

 5. GATHER FEEDBACK FROM THOSE WHO KNOW YOU

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

LAST THOUGHTS…

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

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

IN CLOSING…

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

#NationalFlourMonth

#NationalFrenchBreadDay

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

#NationalDayCalendar

#TGIM

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

…12 down and 40 to go!