Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Gardening Versus Convenience

Happy Monday to everyone! Unlike The Carpenters’ song, ‘Rainy Days & Mondays’, I love to CELEBRATE Mondays! They are my 52 Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

Mother Nature’s grand arena is bursting with activity, as spring has been awakening the earth. Life is regenerating all around us. Now is a great time to get out in the yard and gardens since the whole month of April is celebrating, among other things – Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Garden Month, National Straw Hat Month, and Stress Awareness Month! [I’ll tell you in a little bit how that one is related to the others.]

#NationalGardeningDay

Furthermore, Wednesday is National Gardening Day! So, if you haven’t been out in the garden yet – this is certainly the week to do it! An old adage says, “April showers bring May flowers” (some fruits and vegetables too). But it’s a little more involved than that. First, you have to get the soil ready – mulching, weeding, composting, etc. – before you even plant the bulbs, seeds or seedlings.

When planting vegetables, some seeds are better to start indoors, such as tomatoes, peppers, cauliflower, and broccoli. After about 6-8 weeks of growth, they’re transplanted in the garden, when there are more optimum weather conditions. Some seedlings don’t transplant well and, thus, should be sown right into the ground when weather allows. Examples of such include corn, beans, and peas. They should also be covered at night, whenever frost conditions are possible.

April is a great time, depending on your USDA planting zone, to start planting and growing perennial fruits and vegetables like asparagus, chives, rhubarb, raspberries, horseradish and more. I already have the first four in my gardens. My asparagus is usually the first to pop up, around late May.

This is also a good time to start “cold crop”, annual plantings such as cabbage, spinach and other “greens”; as well as root vegetables like potatoes, onions, carrots and beets. I’m not sure from where Mom got her original interest in gardening, as well as her green thumb; but I think I might have inherited it too.

Mom’s garden, in Algonac, had a lot of perennials, but I remember helping her plant seedlings for strawberries and tomatoes every spring when I was young! Then there was the subsequent harvesting of our labors from the family’s little garden and orchard. I recall picking tomatoes, apples, pears, strawberries, raspberries and rhubarb. Mom would turn it all into culinary delights such as sauces, jams, pies, cobblers, and the like.

When Mom first started writing and publishing her own newsletter, in 1974, aside from her recipes she also included a smorgasbord of different topics that homemakers, like herself, would be interested in. One of the sections was full of gardening tips.

Mom liked to use coffee grounds and ground-up, dried, egg shells to help her tomato plants thrive. A tip she learned from my Dad’s mom, who gardened and canned a lot of tomatoes, sauces and jams in her own lifetime!

But as Mom’s “Secret Recipes” business grew quickly, within a few years she had very little time to spend on her garden, because she was spending more time investigating further secrets of the food industry. Subsequently, she dropped the gardening section in the newsletter to make room for more copycat recipes!

After we moved from Algonac to St. Clair, in 1977, Mom did continue to, at least, have a few tomato plants in patio pots every spring through fall. She always had a green thumb, both, in the house and in the garden!

While most of Mom’s cookbooks (and newsletters) focused on imitating fast food, junk food, and restaurant dishes at home; one of her books dealt exclusively with imitating convenience foods, grocery products and “extenders” at home – The Secrets of Homemade Groceries (Secret Recipes, St. Clair, MI; Sep. 1979) – aka: “Book 5”.

When Mom used to describe the book for advertisements, she’d say “this exceptional cookbook includes some basic principles of canning and freezing foods, as well as making your own mixes, sauces and seasonings for a great financial savings compared to buying them!”

Besides the obvious financial savings and nutritional aspects of growing your own food, gardening has many other healthy advantages. According to Six Surprising Health Benefits of Gardening, as posted by OrganicLesson.com (Published 2/26/2018, Updated 1/30/2021), gardening strengthens the muscles (as it can be a physical workout) and boosts the immune system.

Gardening is also known to increase happiness, stimulate the brain, and relieve stress. As I said in the beginning, April is Stress Awareness Month, too! Growing any kind of garden can be very therapeutic if you’re feeling stressed out and/or cooped up from this past year of quarantining for the Covid-19 pandemic.

Additionally, if you’ve gained what’s being coined as the “Covid 15” weight growth, 20 Everyday Activities and the Calories They Burn, by the Editors of Publications International, Ltd. (as seen on HowStuffWorks.com) claims that two hours of gardening burns about 648 calories or more!

If you don’t have your own garden, or the room for one, just a few patio pots will work. You can also check around your area for a community garden in which you can participate. Gardening has a windfall of benefits! I’m already looking forward to putting on my straw hat (as it is National Straw Hat Month) and getting back into my garden beds this spring.

No matter what’s planted, anyone can burn a lot of calories by taking care of a garden, as there are so many physical aspects involved – planting, mulching, weeding, composting, pruning, watering (repeating the last four or five tasks, over and over, at least a couple times a week for a few months) and finally harvesting!

‘The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.’ – Aldous Huxley, English Writer & Philosopher (1894-1963)

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

We all know that when life gives us lemons, we should make lemonade! But did you know that as much as 75% of grocery products (including lemonade) are considered to be convenience foods, requiring minimal effort, which can be made at home with what life gives you (and a little effort)? Plant the seeds! In fact, many annuals produce their own seeds for future plantings, too.

Ever since the pandemic us hit hard, the art of homesteading found another revival movement. More people are learning how to grow their own food and make their own OTC health and beauty products. Many are even starting home/internet businesses, selling their homemade products to those who don’t have the time or talents for it, themselves.

WHEN YOU CAN’T FIND WHAT YOU NEED AT THE MARKET – MAKE YOUR OWN… I learned the following “trick” from my local EOC Head Start group, three decades ago, when my children were small…

EASY HOMEMADE CORN SYRUP – The best substitute for 1 cup of corn syrup is to dissolve 1¼ cups sugar (or sugar substitute equivalent) into ¼ cup HOT water. For dark corn syrup, use brown sugar; for light corn syrup, use white sugar. By the way, a 4:1 ratio of white sugar to boiled water will also yield (when cooled to room temperature) an excellent homemade nectar for hummingbirds!

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

LIFE IS A CLIMB

MANY PEOPLE FEEL that life is uphill all the way. They fail to look at the things that are good, enjoyable and worthwhile. They are conscience only of the climb. No road is ever uphill forever! We should soon learn the importance of being able to also come downhill without fear and be able to notice the scenery along the road, too.

Going through life without noticing the scenery and trying to see some of the beauty that is there – waiting to be recognized – reminds me of running helter-skelter up and down the supermarket aisles without seeing the ABUNDANCE that is there. Just take a moment to look at the heart-breaking plight of starving people in many parts of the world and, then, take a good look at the aisles and aisles of food available in this country!

We have so much available to us here… Many people fill their backyards each spring with flowers and shrubs, when they could easily plant food-seeds instead, thus cutting something off that weekly grocery bill!

‘Any change, even change for the better, is always accompanied by drawbacks and discomforts.’ – Arnold Bennett, English Novelist (1867-1931)

Convenience foods are boxed, canned and packaged food products that are manufactured for our expedient ease because we’ve become a too-busy-with-other-things, accessibility-laden society! Consider, also, that these shelf-stable products are filled with unnatural and unpronounceable preservatives and synthetic additives, in order to last for years on the grocery stores’ shelves, as well as in our own pantries.

If you’re concerned with all the additives that are put into convenient, shelf-stable groceries, then homemade is one way you can control the ingredients. Plus, you can also save money – as long as you don’t add the value of your time into the equation! The ‘overhead costs’ and ‘expected profits’ that are added to manufactured convenience foods are what actually kill our food budgets at the check-outs!

LAST THOUGHTS…

Here’s a garden decorating idea I want to re-share from a couple of years ago! I love it when things can serve more than one purpose – thus, my Christmas deer, lawn ornaments (lights removed) serve as trellises in my vegetable garden, during their “off-season”! They’re great for various vining plants like cucumbers, beans and peas; AND, as a bonus, I don’t have to worry about finding storage space for the large figures!

Suggestions for observing April’s garden-related celebrations include having a picnic in a garden or going to a nursery and buying a new plant. You could also decorate your garden (as it’s also National Decorating Month) by adding some garden art and/or a seating area, where you can relax and enjoy it all! Another way to observe is by giving a gardening gift to someone special, like seeds, garden gloves, or a patio plant! Don’t forget to share your ideas on social media with a hashtag!

#NationalDecoratingMonth, #KeepAmericaBeautifulMonth, #LawnAndGardenMonth, #NationalGardenMonth

IN CLOSING…

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

#NationalFreshCeleryMonth

In honor of April, also being National Fresh Celery Month, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for a simple “Cream Soup Base”, with two of her many options for turning it into Cream of Cauliflower or Cream of Celery soup!

As seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 117).

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

APRIL IS still celebrating, among other things… National Month of Hope, National Autism Awareness Month, National Couple Appreciation Month, National Humor Month, National Soft Pretzel Month, National Soy Foods Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Volunteer Month, and Scottish-American Heritage Month!

Some other celebrations for the week include:

Today is also… National Big Wind Day, National Colorado Day, National Licorice Day, and National Grilled Cheese Sandwich Day! Therefore, here’s Mom’s take on a grilled cheese sandwich – college dorm-style!

Tuesday is… National Make Lunch Count Day, National Peach Cobbler Day, and National Scrabble Day!

Wednesday is… National Dolphin Day, National Pecan Day, National Reach as High as You Can Day, and Look Up at the Sky Day!

Thursday is… National Banana Day, National Glazed Spiral Ham Day, National Rubber Eraser Day, National Take a Wild Guess Day, Get to Know Your Customers Day (which is the 3rd Thursday of each quarter), and National High Five Day (which is the 3rd Thursday in April)!

Friday is… National Eggs Benedict Day, National Orchid Day, and National Wear Your Pajamas to Work Day!

Saturday is… National Cheeseball Day, National Ellis Island Family History Day, and National Haiku Poetry Day!

Sunday is… National Animal Crackers Day and National Columnists’ Day! It is also the start of National Volunteer Week (which is the 3rd full week of April)!

#WHBY

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

#TGIM

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

…15 down, 37 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Twinkie Day Eve

Happy April and happy Easter Monday! Additionally, I wish a very merry Twinkie Day Eve to all! Mondays are so incredibly special! I continually look forward to them, as they are my 52 Chances, each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#TwinkieDay 

Tomorrow, April 6th, is National Hostess Twinkie Day! That makes today Twinkie Day Eve – whoop, whoop! This is a perfect time for me to write about how my mom was the FIRST person (circa 1975) to develop a make-at-home version for imitating the cream-filled, golden-sponge-cake delight at home!

When I searched for “Twinkie recipe” on Google, I got back “about 657,000 results…” and Mom wasn’t even in the first two pages of results! So MANY copycats have copied the ORIGINAL copycat – and yet so FEW have actually given my mom the proper credit she deserves for being the inventor of imitating junk foods, fast foods, and other restaurant favorites at home. Mom was the trail-blazing pioneer, who carved out the “copycat cookery” niche in the food industry over 48 years ago!

However, I must note that when I searched for “Pitzer Twinkie recipe”, the first result listed (out of 22,500 results) was actually for Mom’s Hopeless Twinkles© recipe, which I had shared in a previous blog post, on this website, in 2019! [It can also be found in the “Recipes” tab and near the end of this blog post.]

Additionally, I’d also like to give a shout-out to PressReader.com, for printing a copy of one of Mom’s Twinkie imitations, with proper credit given to her! You can check it out at https://www.pressreader.com/usa/orlando-sentinel/20121128/282398396711181! In my search, I also found the following excerpt of interest… as seen at https://www.food.com/recipe/hostess-twinkie-sponge-cake-356820/reviews/846730.

Review [of homemade Hostess Twinkies] by Tinkerbell (4/10/2009) – NorthwestGal recommended this recipe to me & when I looked at it I was so surprised! I can’t say that I have made this exact recipe, but I can help shed some light on its origin & say that I have made it’s later version, also by Gloria. I saw Gloria Pitzer for the first time on the Phil Donahue show on April 8, 1993. I immediately called & ordered the original transcript of the show. (No TiVo back then! LOL) Gloria Pitzer, the original recipe detective, had been “cloning” recipes for 20 years but got her real jump start when she was working at a newspaper that decided to add a food page. The first letter she opened asked, “How do they make that special sauce at McDonald’s?” She went home & made & remade until she had a sauce that mimicked the Big Mac’s special sauce. After that she branched out into KFC, Wendy’s Frosty & Chili, Oreo cookies and Hostess Twinkies. But, after only 6 weeks doing the new food page for the paper she lost her job because one of her clone recipes (Share A Lease cheesecake) “stepped on the toes of a famous cheesecake company that was also a sponsor of the paper”. She made up new names for her copycat recipes, like Wednesday’s chili (I have that posted here Recipe #21936), Gloreo Cookies (love that recipe!), Big Bucket in the Sky Chicken, Big Match special sauce & Hopeless Twinkles. She first appeared on the Donahue show in July of 1981 and within 90 days the Donahue show received over one million letters about her episode. She appeared again 12 years later, in 1993, when I was lucky enough to be watching with my newborn son. After comparing this recipe with the one I’ve made from the 1993 transcript I see she did alter the recipe quite a bit. She made them on the 1981 episode and again with her new version in 1993. I’ve made the newest version from my transcript. I look forward to trying this one as well. 🙂 Thanks for posting it, Max!”

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Did you know… on August 19th, 1919… William B. Ward registered the trademark name, Hostess, for his family’s company’s breads and cakes? Additionally, it was James Dewar, who invented the Twinkie® while working for the Ward family at the Continental Baking Company. Originally, when the baking company was founded in the early 1900s, it was called Ward Baking Company. Later, as the Continental Baking Company, it was purchased by Interstate Bakeries Corporation and renamed Hostess Brands.

For a more in-depth history of the Ward family, their baking company, Dewar’s Twinkies® and the drama that surrounded all of them, check out this fascinating article about it (as written by Bloomberg News), on FinancialPost.com, at https://business.financialpost.com/news/twinkie-history-spiced-with-murder-scandal-suggests-icon-will-survive! I’ve included, below, the short story that Mom wrote about Dewar decades ago.

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective, (Balboa Press, Jan. 2018, p. 204)

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

JAMES DEWAR

JAMES DEWAR STARTED OUT driving a horse-drawn wagon in Chicago and, by 1930, was manager of the Continental Baking Company’s Chicago establishment. He invented ‘The Twinkie’, a sponge-type cake with creamy vanilla-flavored filling [in the early 30s.] It has been called the ‘Grand-daddy’ of modern snack foods.

Today, the finger-sized cream-filled cake is as big a confectionery sensation as they were when Dewar first introduced his creation to American cuisine. The company that put out the Twinkie was originally called the Continental Baking Company and later became the Hostess company. At the time, he wanted to give the public something reasonably priced, for the Great Depression of the 30s brought grave times to this country.

Treats like the cream-filled Twinkies, would be a luxury to people who couldn’t afford otherwise. For decades, the appealing factor about the Twinkies national popularity has been that it is affordable! Dewar put 2 cakes in each package, selling them for $.05 a pair. For the price of a nickel, it was quite a bargain. Dewar remembered how the Continental Baking Company was selling small finger-sized shortcakes for strawberry season in the 1930s.

The pans they used to bake them in were not being used except for the spring promotion to produce the shortcakes. He, therefore, came up with the idea of preparing the same shortcake in those pans, but filling each cake with an injection of vanilla cream. The Twinkies became an immediate success!

The idea for the name, on the other hand, came while he was on a business trip to St. Louis and saw a billboard advertising ‘Twinkle Toes Shoes’, which was, then, a terrific sales pitch. The name ‘Twinkies’ was a spinoff of that shoe advertisement. From then on, the cakes took off.

When Dewar retired from Continental in 1968, he boasted often to the press that he ate scores of Twinkies every day. That’s not a bad endorsement for the critics who claim junk food will shorten your life span.

Do you remember the big run on Twinkies®, back in November of 2012? The Hostess Brands company had announced it was going out of business and utter chaos ensued as the American masses swarmed their local stores to buy all the yummy, cream-filled, sponge cakes (and other products of Hostess Brands) they could find!

Our Canadian neighbors still had Hostess Brands in their country and were laughing at the lengths Americans were going to get their hands on the suddenly-hard-to-find, coveted Twinkies®. Some Twinkies® were actually being auctioned on eBay for THOUSANDS of dollars – and people were paying it! A spokesperson for Hostess sarcastically asked the media where all of these Hostess Brands enthusiasts were before they had to file for bankruptcy.

I saw a great article about Twinkies® a few years ago that I saved in “My Favorites”. It was called “Beverly Hills Billionaire To Take Over Twinkies Maker, Hostess Brands” and written by James R. Koren (L. A. Times; July 5, 2016), explaining how the Hostess Brands company, under various names and ownerships, was saved from bankruptcy foreclosures more than once over the past century.

When the announcement was first made in 2012 that Hostess Brands was closing their business for good and Americans panicked at their sudden loss, I wasn’t worried about never having Twinkies® again… because my mom taught me how to make my own! In fact, as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM, Mom taught everyone how to make their own at home!

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

The Second Helping of Secret Recipes (National Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1977, p. 1-2)

DE-BUNKING THE JUNK!

What is the truth about junk food? The food experts have been referring to many snack foods and fast foods as ‘junk’ in an attempt to disqualify their value when compared to foods containing high amounts of protein and vitamins.

No one has confirmed a definition of the expression ‘junk food’, yet the public has been conditioned to accept any snack food, sweets, candies, confections, baked goods and many beverages as ‘junk food’ when, in reality, these are not without nutritional value.

All by itself, a raw carrot could hardly support the human system substantially; neither could a cup of yogurt. Yet, a candy bar or a small piece of cake or a hamburger on a bun is considered, by some of the food industry’s most prestigious experts, as having little or no food value in our daily diets.

The junk food paradox has caused school systems and other public institutions to ban the sale of any foods we would consider snack items, making it illegal, in fact, in the state of Michigan and some others, if such items were sold to children through vending machines on the premises.

This is infuriating to the good cooks and… food chemists among us, who know that JUNK FOOD is actually any food that is poorly prepared. ALL food has nutritional value. Some just seem to have more than others. But, in the final analysis, it is purely personal taste that will determine the popularity of one food over another.

‘There really are very few recipe secrets!’ – Gloria Pitzer

The ‘fast food’ industry has been the most successful of any phase in the business. Their success depending largely on the fact that their recipes are all closely guarded secrets! I say, ‘baloney!’ As a very believing public, we have been spoon-fed a good deal of shrewd publicity by some very skilled… advertising people, who count on our susceptibility to commercial advertising campaigns to buy their products.

Whether we’re buying a hamburger in one of McDonald’s restaurants… or a Twinkie off of the grocer’s shelf, we still believe that these products can’t be equaled by any other company in the industry, nor by the average cook in a standard, home kitchen… AND this is wrong!

‘You’ll be amazed at the number of recipes you can duplicate in your own kitchen – and those you can, at least, come close to imitating – with far more success than the advertising people give us credit!’ – Gloria Pitzer

LAST THOUGHTS

#WHBY

If you missed my visit last week on WHBY’s Good Neighbor” show, with Kathy Keene, when we discussed the 2012 run on Hostess Twinkies and Mom’s recipe for imitating them at home (same as the 1983 version shown further below). I also shared Mom’s Famous Nameless Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe and her 3-ingredient ham-basting sauce from her 1983 self-published cookbook, The Joy Of NOT Cooking – Any More Than You Have To!

[NOTE: You can listen to the podcast recording here… https://www.spreaker.com/user/woodwardradio/the-good-neighbor-show-032921]

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

Additionally, Kathy has released an announcement of her retirement from WHBY. Sadly, I’ll only be visiting with her two more times. We’re currently scheduled for April 26th and May 24th. You can listen to Kathy’s official notice, on YouTube.com, at… https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WqC8LstRm8U&t=9s

In honor of National Hostess Twinkie Day, here is Mom’s ORIGINAL copycat recipe from 1975 and an encore of her 1983 revision, for imitating the famous, cream-filled, sponge cake; as seen in her self-published cookbook, The Secret Restaurant Recipes Book (Nat’l Homemakers Newsletter, Pearl Bch., MI; Jan. 1977, Revised Ed., p. 34) and her 1983 “Free Recipes” sheet, respectively. The latter recipe is also in Mom’s last book, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 205).

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

APRIL IS, among other things… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Autism Awareness 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 Straw Hat Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Volunteer Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and Stress Awareness Month!

Additionally, yesterday was the start of National Public Health Week! Some other celebrations for this week include the following:

Today is also… First Contact Day, Gold Star Spouses Day, National Caramel Day, National Deep Dish Pizza Day, National Flash Drive Day, National Go For Broke Day, National Nebraska Day, National Read a Road Map Day, and National Raisin and Spice Bar Day! In honor of that last one, in particular, here’s a copy of Mom’s recipe for imitating Spanish Bar Cake like the old A&P’s popular Ann Page brand. I also shared this recipe in June 2020, on WHBY’s Good Neighbor” show, with Kathy Keene!

#RaisinAndSpiceBarDay

PLUS, today through the 9th is also celebrating National Wildlife Week and National Library Week [both of which change annually]!

Tuesday is… National Caramel Popcorn Day, New Beer’s Eve, National Sorry Charlie Day, National Student-Athlete Day, National Tartan Day, National Teflon Day, and National Library Workers Day [the Tuesday of National Library Week, which changes annually]!

Wednesday is… National Beer Day, National Coffee Cake Day, National Girl Me Too Day, National No Housework Day, and National Bookmobile Day [the Wednesday of National Library Week], and National Walking Day [the first Wednesday in April]!

Thursday is… National All is Ours Day and National Zoo Lovers Day!

Friday is… National Cherish an Antique Day, National Chinese Almond Cookie Day, National Winston Churchill Day, and National Day of Silence [Changes Annually – April 9, 2021]!

Saturday is… National Cinnamon Crescent Day, Encourage a Young Writer Day, National Farm Animals Day, and National Siblings Day!

Sunday is… National Cheese Fondue Day, National Pet Day, and National Submarine Day!

#TGIM

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

…14 down, 38 chances to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Spring Cleaning Time

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

#TheRecipeDetective

It’s that time of year again! We’ve leaped ahead into Daylight Saving Time and spring re-blossomed in Michigan just over a week ago, with a lot of blue skies and sunshine! But my enthusiasm for this week is mostly because it’s also National Cleaning Week (March 28-April 3, 2021)!

Can you sense my excitement? Call me weird but I love to clean and especially to organize. I actually enjoy flipping the bedroom mattress at the onset of both, spring and fall. Likewise, I also get enthusiastic about cleaning out cupboards, closets, and drawers while rotating the seasonal linen and clothes.

Cleaning was not Mom’s forte. It’s not that she didn’t do it, she just didn’t LIKE to do it. Not everyone finds joy in cleaning or organizing. In fact, most people would probably agree with Mom, in not caring to do such chores. Many will find numerous reasons and excuses to put them off or avoid them all together. Mom used to joke that a good excuse was one you could use over and over again!

#ProcrastinationWeek

Even though the first TWO weeks of March is recognized as National Procrastination Week; it is, by no means, limited to only then – especially for procrastinators, as it can be celebrated whenever you get around to it! Is there a chore (aka: housework responsibility) over which you procrastinate or avoid altogether? Here’s a humorous memory I shared about Mom and her least favorite chore…

#NationalCleaningWeek

FROM MY MEMORIES…

As seen in my 03/25/19 blog post…

Spring Into Cleaning

One particular memory I have of Mom, regarding cleaning is from shortly after her stroke in 2015. Mom had to go through a lot of therapy, including physical and occupational. One of her therapists called me one day, very concerned about Mom’s sudden dislike of her since they seemed to get along so beautifully during her first couple of visits. I met her at Mom’s place during her next scheduled visit to see just what she was describing to me.

The therapist went through everything she did during the previous visit. It all seemed to be going fine, at first; thus, I was beginning to think that either she misinterpreted Mom’s reactions to her, or it wasn’t happening on that day because I was there.

Then, after having Mom do some simple stretches, the therapist asked Mom to make her bed as part of her daily exercises. In an instant, Mom’s mood went from ‘sunny-and-75’ to [a ‘winter-storm-warning’]! Right away, I started laughing out loud, while both, the therapist and Mom, looked at me very strangely. I guess it was an inside joke.

Mom hated cleaning – well, ‘hate’ is a strong word; let’s say she clearly ‘disliked’ it. I’m not saying Mom didn’t clean; but that never meant she had to like it! Mom was brought up in a generation that just did what they ‘had to’; keeping a clean home was just something that they’re parents taught them to do as responsible, civilized people – at any age. 

In fact, I think making the bed was at the top of [Mom’s] ‘torture’ list. I couldn’t help but burst out laughing at the situation, as did the therapist when I explained it! Not everyone gets a joy out of cleaning any more than they have to!

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

I read an awesome article about American’s least favorite chores and what they would give up to avoid them, which I recommend reading! It was called “These Americans Would Give Up Alcohol And Sex To Never Do Chores Again”, by Marie Haaland (Aug. 8, 2019) at SWNSdigital.com.

In general chores or housework responsibilities are comprised of, but are not limited to, such things as cooking, “doing” the dishes, laundering, making the bed, sweeping, mopping, vacuuming, dusting, scrubbing/wiping/cleaning (the majority of which happens in the kitchen and bathroom – including walls, window and door frames, window panes, other glass, computer and TV screens, mirrors, sinks, tub/shower, toilet, table and counter tops, cupboards and drawer fronts, appliances, light fixtures, fans, trash cans, etc.)

There’s a few other groups of responsibilities to add to that basic list if you also have to homeschool your children, care for a yard/garden or have dependents such as pets and/or small children. Among the many truths that have come to light this past year, during the nationwide, pandemic lockdowns, one of the most prominent is that housework is a tiresome and unrelenting mass of responsibilities.

According to NationalDayCalendar.com, the most disliked cleaning tasks are as follows:

    • cleaning the bathroom (52%)
    • kitchen cleaning (23%)
    • dusting (21%)
    • mopping (20%)
    • doing the laundry (17%)

Sorry, Mom – making the bed did not make it onto this list! However, dusting is my least favorite, mostly because it impacts my allergies more than anything else.

To make cleaning less intimidating, while observing National Cleaning Week, NationalDayCalendar.com also suggests, that we “tackle one room at a time, start from the top and work down; dusting ceiling fans, door moldings and window tops. Don’t be afraid to move furniture…”

Additionally, we should also share our favorite cleaning tips on social media, using #NationalCleaningWeek or #CleaningWeek for others to follow. Mom liked to say, “Great recipes are meant to be shared.” I think Mom’s good friend, Linda Cobb (aka: the Queen Of Clean) would agree that so are great cleaning tips!

Like many standup comedy routines, Mom often stretched and twisted our family’s boring reality life a little bit to generate a few laughs from her syndicated columns and cartoon panels. So I’ve re-used a few, today, in regard to cleaning. Here is a copy of some of Mom’s comical household tips…

#CleaningWeek

Maybe it’s because of being OCD but organizing is like a favorite hobby to me. I just love having a place for everything and having everything in its place! However, when it came to Mom’s desk, she preferred what she called an “organized mess”. She had her own chaotic filing system, but SHE always knew where everything was!

That is, until I had taken it upon myself, one day, to clean and organize Mom’s office and desk as a good deed. Afterward, I was banned from her part of the office and she bought the following sign to keep on her desk.

My kids and my husband like to tease me that I’m CDO, rather than OCD, because I like things in alphabetical (and numerical) order. What can I say? I really enjoy organizing and I’ve been known to dump things out of cupboards, drawers, and closets just to re-organize them – and not because I was stuck at home during the Covid-19 “lock down”.

For me, it’s like re-doing a puzzle over and over because I enjoyed solving puzzles. As Mom proved time and again, in her recipe sleuthing, there’s more than one way to solve a mystery. When Mom was trying to imitate a dish as close as possible to the real thing, she didn’t stop at just one way.

She was always refining her imitations until she felt they were spot-on! And then, sometimes, for various reasons (like ingredient availability or diet), she’d revamp them again, proving that there was usually more than one way to reach the same goal.

MORE 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

#WHBY

TODAY IS ALSO my regular monthly visit on the Good Neighbor” show, with Kathy Keene! The show airs from 11am to 1pm, Central Time; I’m usually on during the first half hour of the show. If you’re not in the Appleton, WI area, to find the station on your radio, you can listen to the broadcast, live or later, through WHBY’s website!

IN CLOSING…

#LemonChiffonCakeDay

In honor of National Lemon Chiffon Cake Day

Here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for one, plus her Thin Vanilla Icing recipe as seen in her self-published cookbook,…

Gloria Pitzer’s Mostly 4-Ingredient Recipes (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; April 1986, pp. 67 & 100)

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

March is still observing… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, National Sauce Month, and National Women’s History Month!

Furthermore, Thursday is the beginning of April – the monthly commemorations of which embrace… National Month of Hope, Keep America Beautiful Month, Lawn and Garden Month, National Autism Awareness 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 Straw Hat Month, National Poetry Month, National Pecan Month, National Volunteer Month, Scottish-American Heritage Month, and Stress Awareness Month!

Additionally, some other celebrations of note this week include:

Today is… National Mom and Pop Business Owners Day and National Nevada Day!

Tuesday is… National Take a Walk in the Park Day, National Doctors Day, National I Am in Control Day, National Pencil Day, National Turkey Neck Soup Day, and National Virtual Vacation Day!

Wednesday is… National Bunsen Burner Day, National Clams on the Half Shell Day, National Crayon Day, and National Tater Day!

Thursday is… April Fool’s Day, National One Cent Day, National Sourdough Bread Day, and National Burrito Day [1st Thursday in April]!

Friday is… National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day, National Reconciliation Day, World Autism Awareness Day, and Good Friday!

Saturday is… National Chocolate Mousse Day, National Find a Rainbow Day, World Party Day, and National Play Outside Day [which is the 1st Saturday of each month]. Also, as the first Saturday in April, it’s National Love Our Children Day and National Handmade Day, as well!

Sunday is… National Chicken Cordon Bleu Day, National Hug a Newsperson Day, National School Librarian Day, National Vitamin C Day, and Easter [which changes annually – April 4, 2021]! It is also the start of National Public Health Week!

#TGIM

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

…13 down and another 39 to go!

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

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Spring Has Sprung!

Happy spring season and happy National West Virginia Day, but especially HAPPY MONDAY! I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#NationalAgricultureWeek

#NationalAgDay

Spring has finally sprung – and so have my crocus, daffodils, hyacinth, and tulips! Although, in Michigan, the weather doesn’t usually get consistently nice until around May – March and April are all-seasons-rollercoaster months. So this is when I start planting my vegetable garden seeds indoors, to be transplanted outside around Mother’s Day weekend. By the way, yesterday began the week-long observance of National Agriculture Week and National Ag Day (Ag = Agriculture) is tomorrow!

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Unofficially, this is also maple sugaring month in Michigan! It’s not a national holiday but making maple syrup is a big event around here! There’s a really great article about sugaring [which is the process of gathering maple sap and making it into sugar and/or syrupNOT the hair-removal process by the same name] at the Michigan State University’s Extension’s website, called March is Maple Syrup Season in Michigan.

I recently saw a report on one of our local morning newscasts about the process of sugaring. It’s a lot of work and quite a big activity. A couple of years ago, I learned a smaller scale way to do it, collecting only a few gallons of maple tree sap and then cooking it down for a day or so in a slow cooker. However, it only yields about a half cup of homemade syrup when done! Two gallons of sap doesn’t make much, but it’s a fun project to at least try. Check out the story and video at http://www.fox2detroit.com/good-day/backyard-maple-syrup-with-jill-of-all-trades.

#NationalCleaningWeek

Before starting my spring deep-cleaning regimen, which really starts next week for National Cleaning Week, I have already begun sorting through my stuff (and I have a lot of stuff) in order to purge some things. I have to keep reminding my husband that I’m not a hoarder YET, since I occasionally purge about as much as I collect. I’ve also learned how to better pack and organize things, so it doesn’t look like that much!

April is usually when the garage and yard sales start popping up in my area. Right now I’m going room-by-room, creating “piles”, from which I am deciding whether to “keep”, “sell”, “donate”, “toss” , or “recycle” the items. If it’s for the sell pile, I will sometimes, depending on the item, put a price sticker on it right away. My sorting process was inspired years ago, by a short-lived, unique renovation series that I really enjoyed, on the cable channel TLC.

The show was called “Clean Sweep” (2003-2005) and it involved a room organization and makeover – but first the homeowners had to purge their “disastrous catch-all room”. The process included some related “therapy” regarding why some people hang on to certain things and how to best let them go. Additionally, after sorting through all of their stuff, the homeowners had a one-day-only, “prize-winning-competition” yard sale with their “sell” pile. It was a lot of fun to watch.

There’s an inspiring article at PsychologyToday.com, which I saved to “My Favorites” a few years ago, about cleaning and de-cluttering by Dr. Sally Augustin, Ph.D.; titled, “Fall Cleaning As Important As Spring Cleaning” (Oct. 9, 2013). I liked the way the doctor says that… “We continually accumulate stuff and dealing with it is part of Fall cleaning.”

As soon as I had read that, I excitedly told my husband, “See – I’m not the only one who accumulates stuff!” Regardless of the season, the article’s information is interchangeable with spring, as well. After re-reading it recently, I was inspired to purge my basement (again), as it has been a growing, disorganized, accumulation of stress on my OCD personality. The sooner I get to it, the better, so I can have it ready for a yard sale as soon as some nice weekend weather permits!

Michigan weather changes often during the first half of spring. That’s why I called it an “all-seasons-rollercoaster”. There’s an old adage that says it “comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb”. Being especially dependent on favorable weather, hosting a proper YARD sale in April is a LOT of work! Trust me – I know all about “April showers” and yard sales. It can be a crapshoot, picking the optimum weekend.

I wish I had a garage but, since I don’t, I use two 10’x20’, carport-style tents. When set up side-by-side, they have the approximate size of a garage, with 400-sq-ft of covered space. These are very important for keeping my tables and displays dry or shaded, whatever the weather may bring.

The day before I want my sale to start, I try to set it all up and cover it, because it’s under a temporary structure that’s still somewhat open to the elements (and the public).

I like to make my yard sales “worth stopping and shopping”! Maybe it’s because of all my years of working in retail.  Being OCD, I take a full day just to set up my “store” (as that’s how I think of my sale); with all of my tables, table-coverings, display shelves, clothes “racks”, and sale signs.

After deciding what I want to sell, I bring out all the boxes of stuff that I’ve cleaned out of various closets, drawers, cupboards, and of course the basement. I sort it all by “departments” such as clothes and shoes, which are sub-sorted by size and type; plus accessories like jewelry, glasses, belts, scarves, and purses.

Other “departments” (aka: tables) include curtains, bedding, towels and bath accessories; storage containers, kitchen wares and small appliances; crafting and sewing stuff; candles and décor; electronics, movies, music, books and office/school supplies/equipment; lamps, rugs, and furniture; tools, hardware, and auto accessories; games and toys; yard, garden, and sporting goods, plus other outdoor stuff; as well as pet stuff.

I get a lot of compliments about my yard sale set-ups because of the store-like organization. To me, that makes it worth the time and effort that I put into having one. I also sell a lot because I price my stuff to sell! To save time on pricing everything individually, I use a lot of general pricing signs – for example “All Clothes $1 per Piece” or “All Books 50₵ Each”.

I’m not putting it all out there just to haul it all back into the house, just because I wanted to squeeze out every penny I could from my old “junk” that MIGHT be somebody else’s “treasure”. I look at each item as if I were going to purchase it at someone else’s yard sale and ask myself, “How much would I be willing to pay for that?”

The following is a satirically humorous editorial that Mom wrote about a “garage” sale we supposedly had, in the mid-1970s, before moving from Algonac to St. Clair. [Funny thing is… we didn’t even have a garage back then!]

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

‘No Laughing Matter’, a syndicated bi-weekly column by Gloria Pitzer

[Published in the “Times Herald” (Port Huron, MI), during the 1970s.]

HAVE A GARAGE SALE IN ONE EASY BREAKDOWN!

Until you’ve had a garage sale, you just don’t know what you’re missing. I’ve just had one and I know! I’m missing three garbage cans, my husband’s workbench, a swing set, four lawn chairs and our station wagon. Actually, those items weren’t for sale, but you can’t refuse a good price when it’s offered to you.

All I really wanted to sell was a few odds-and-ends like 7 dozen Ruby Bee Jelly glasses, a coke bottle mosaic of my mother-in-law, a transistor radio guaranteed to crack plaster when operated by a teenager, an illustrated guide book to Disneyland and my husband’s bowling ball.

Of course, if the truth were known, I just had to do something about the closets before we were cited for contempt by the Pollution Control Commission. The kids were cleaning out their rooms and dragging out microscopes that had only examined curdled milk.

There was an electric train with which only their father had played, a guitar that never played a tune (but made a neat tennis racket), socks that scratched and even their old report cards. But I drew the line when it came to selling their toothbrushes and underwear. I mean, a person has to be reasonable about these things!

I had heard that garage sales were successful, but I didn’t believe it until I saw 23 cars double-parked in our drainage ditch, a pick-up truck on the back porch and a dune buggy in the furnace room! It takes a garage sale to prove that a woman will buy anything, if she thinks it’s on sale.

After all, what can one do with a dead philodendron plant – a plastic one, yet? I also learned that there’s no exercise so efficacious for the upper arms as standing in the midst of a group of mad women and trying to keep them from taking the rafters apart while trying to get at our storm windows (which I’ll have you know were NOT for sale); but little did they care.

One woman offered me a dollar for the dress I was wearing, and I had to run half a block to catch up with the lady who gave my son 50 cents for the sheets on the clothes lines. Did she care it was my laundry and I had to make the beds before the day was over – and where would I be without those sheets?

I finally had to administer first aid to the two girls who fought so bitterly over which of them was going to drag off to their car a plaid CPO jacket and a pair of blue worsted men’s slacks! Mind you. I wouldn’t have cared under any other circumstances, but my husband was still in them AND he didn’t want to go with either of them. He wanted to stay home and watch the ball game on TV!

By 6pm, they had bought everything that wasn’t breathing, barking or encased in concrete. As I sat at the kitchen table, counting up the profits of the day, my husband came staggering in, bruised and breathless. ‘You know that guy with the flat-bed truck, who’s been hanging around all day?’ […he asked.] ‘Well, he just gave me $50 and drove off with our garage!’

It all goes to prove, if I had put a price on those kids of ours, I might have sold them – but, who could afford to feed them once they got them home?

LAST THOUGHTS

#NationalWestVirginiaDay

A lot of great people, food and other things have come from the great state of West Virginia; including both of my dad’s parents – thus, I’m compelled to give a shout-out in celebration of National West Virginia Day! I haven’t been there since I was a young girl, but I have wonderful memories of our family reunions there.

IN CLOSING…

In honor of #NationalWestVirginiaDay, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for #HamStuffedSwetPotatoes; as seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s The American Cookery Cookbook – written and published by Gloria Pitzer (Happy Newspaper Features, Pearl Beach, MI; July 1976, p. 39)

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

March is still observing… Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, National Sauce Month, and National Women’s History Month!

Additionally…

Today is also National Bavarian Crepes Day and National Goof Off Day!

Tuesday is National Chia Day, National Chip and Dip Day, National Near Miss Day, National Melba Toast Day, National Puppy Day, National Tamale Day, National Education and Sharing Day [changes annually – March 23, 2021], and National 3-D Day [which is the 3rd day of the 3rd full week of the 3rd month]!

Wednesday is National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day, National American Diabetes Association Alert Day [the 4th Tuesday in March], and National Cheesesteak Day! In honor of the latter, here is Mom’s imitation for the one that “nobody doesn’t like” – and you can re-vamp it, using a sugar substitute in place of table sugar, for diabetics! My dad loved it and so do I!

One of Gloria Pitzer’s first copycat recipes from the early 1970s.

Thursday is National Lobster Newburg Day!

Friday is Epilepsy Awareness Day (aka: Purple Day), National Nougat Day, and National Spinach Day!

Saturday is National Joe Day, National Scribble Day, and National Spanish Paella Day!

Sunday is National Black Forest Cake Day and National Something on a Stick Day!

#WHBY

REMINDER: NEXT MONDAY is my regular monthly visit on the Good Neighbor” show, with Kathy Keene! The show airs from 11am to 1pm, Central Time; I’m usually on during the first half hour of the show. If you’re not in the Appleton, WI area, to find the station on your radio, you can listen to the broadcast, live or later, through WHBY’s website!

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

#TGIM

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

…12 down and another 40 to go!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Americanized Irish

Happy Monday and happy Irish-American Heritage Month to EVERYONE! After all, don’t we all feel a bit of the blarney blood running through our veins this time of year! But I especially 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

#IrishAmericanHeritage

#StPatricksDay

#NationalCornedBeefAndCabbageDay

We are half-way through March and the official start of spring is just days away, now. Additionally, one of the month-long observances happening in March is the commemoration of Irish-American Heritage Month. In relation, Wednesday is celebrating St. Patrick’s Day and National Corned Beef and Cabbage Day!

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Did you know that corned beef and cabbage really isn’t the traditional feast in Ireland for the observance of the St. Patrick’s Day holiday? Irish (Lamb/Mutton) Stew and Soda Bread is likely to be what’s for dinner in most of the homes observing St. Patrick’s Day on “The Emerald Isle” (nicknamed as such for the country’s legendary rolling, green hills and lush landscapes).

BACON and Cabbage, however, is a very popular dish in Ireland. But it’s not what Americans consider bacon. Irish bacon is a cut of pork also known as “back bacon”, which is very similar to Canadian bacon but with more fat in the cut. Like everything else that comes our way, the dish was Americanized into CORNED BEEF and Cabbage.

The Irish, who immigrated here hundreds of years ago, learned to adjust their traditional dish, with “Irish bacon”, to the cheaper cut of corned beef as it was much more accessible and affordable than “back bacon”. Thus, a new Irish-American tradition was born.

By the way, Mom often wrote about being versatile in cooking throughout many of her newsletters and cookbooks. She frequently gave a variety of options in a lot of her recipes, depending on tastes or availability of ingredients. When Mom changed up a dish, she called it “Pitzerizing” the recipe.

Did you also know that St. Patrick’s Day (aka: “Feast Day”) is not celebrated in Ireland the same as it is here, in America? In Ireland, it is more of a religious observation that started about four centuries ago – in the 1600s – to observe the life and death of St. Patrick; who was a captured “Brit”, enslaved to the Irish Protestants. He had escaped to France, but later returned to Ireland, on a mission to convert the pagans to Christianity.

The “battle” of Christians vs. Protestants has split Ireland for centuries. In fact, on the Irish flag, the white stripe between the green and orange stripes is supposed to symbolize the peace between the Roman Catholic majority (represented in the green) and the Protestant minority (represented in the orange).

The celebrations for this holiday, which we’ve come to enjoy even if we aren’t Irish, were originally started here by the Protestant immigrants from Northern Ireland. Ironically, it’s considered taboo to wear orange in celebration of St. Patrick’s Day.

Great information on how St. Patrick and the holiday in his honor is viewed by both the Christian and Protestant communities, on the “divided” island of Ireland, can be found in a great article by Marie McKeown, called “Can Orange Mix With Green?” (April 4, 2017) at Owlcation.com.

The St. Patrick’s Day celebration that started in the U.S. in the 1700s, was a way for the oppressed immigrants, who were living here, to show pride in (and teach others about) their culture. Here, the holiday has evolved into more of a pagan celebration of the Americanized Irish “culture”; as opposed to Ireland’s somber, religious observation of a “saint”.

However, we celebrate with Celtic-infused parades, music, dancing, and food. Somewhere along the way, Americans also added drinking green beer to the other Irish-American traditions for the holiday; which isn’t done in Ireland. In fact, bars (and most businesses) are closed in Ireland for the sacred observance.

The first St Patrick’s Day parade ever recorded was in Boston on March 18th, 1737. The Americanization of the holiday has created many symbolisms for St. Patrick’s Day, including a LOT of green, a bit o’ blarney, Celtic knots, four-leaf clovers, leprechauns, pots of gold at the ends of rainbows and the-LUCK-of-the-Irish!

The old Irish legend about kissing the Blarney Stone (which is located at Blarney Castle), claims that’s how one gets the “Gift of the Gab” (eloquence or skillful flattery, for persuasion). “Blarney” actually means skillful flattery, as well as nonsense and cajolery.

The catchphrase about having “the luck of the Irish” originated in the “old west”, in the late 1800s, when a large number of the most successful miners of the “Gold Rush” era happened to be of Irish decent.

According to Irish folklore, leprechauns were cantankerous little charlatans. Supposedly they lived alone and passed the time, when they weren’t performing shenanigans, by mending the shoes of the Irish fairies. Traditional leprechauns were Americanized, as well, into good-natured, pranking imps, who soon became symbols of both, St. Patrick’s Day and Ireland, in general.

I don’t know if our family has any Irish ancestry or not, but I do know that several members of my family have been known to be relatively “lucky” and some are even quite talented in the “art” of blarney, as well. I don’t think I have either trait but I’m sure Mom had more than a bit of both!

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

No Laughing Matter (circa 1970s)

JUST A HOUSEWIFE AND A PRO!

As a ‘suburban housewife’, I fail to see how anyone could classify my routine as ‘dull’! For one thing, everyone knows that the mother of an active family has no routine! We’re lucky if we can get our slippers on the right feet first thing in the morning.

In fact, we’re lucky if we can even find those slippers, having to, first, plow through an undergrowth of Tinker Toys and Lincoln Logs on the way to the kitchen, where we must witness testy debates over who gets the [prize] in the box of [cereal] and why a 40-year-old man refuses to take the Donald Duck Thermos in his lunch…

What’s wrong with a quest for a roll of Scotch tape that’s your very own or having the phone ring and the call is for you instead of your teenager? [Margaret Mead’s] working definition [of a ‘first-class’ woman, not being a housewife or homemaker,] is a ‘trained, competent, professional woman’.

Now, I’d be the last one to contradict an expert, but in defense of women who become wives and mothers… we have had training (although much of it’s on the job), are extremely competent and are professional [according to Webster’s dictionary] in that we have ‘a vocation requiring knowledge of some department of learning or skill’…

If you don’t think it takes learning or skill to varnish a complex-of-disorder with enough love and efficiency that husbands and children grow up with security and comfort, drop around my kitchen some Sunday night…

No matter what they tell us [working-outside-the-home homemakers] about turning our kids over to a day care center, there’s nothing like coming home from school to know that Mom’s in the kitchen, whipping up a pitcher of Tang and a plate of [Hopeless Twinkles©].

#twinkieday

[By the way, April 6th will be National Hostess Twinkie Day!]

See Mom’s imitation of these, which she called “Hopeless Twinkles©”, at:

http://therecipedetective.com/2019/06/24/hopeless-twinkles-an-imitation-of-hostess-twinkies/

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 119)

MAKING FRIENDS

LUCK, as the critics said, really had nothing to do with our success, unless the definition of LUCK is when preparation and experience meet opportunity. That is, indeed, a blessing worth counting twice, also. However, I have learned from my very wise mother, whose advice was always inspiring and encouraging, that rather than count my BLESSINGS, I should carefully count my OPPORTUNITIES!

In my kitchen, where all of these famous recipes are developed and tested and prepared for publishing, I have one significant problem. The ‘Good Hands People’ are about to declare my kitchen an accident going someplace to happen! My sense of organization is not what Heloise would enthusiastically endorse. So, even when my cup runneth over and over and over, I can’t always find my mop!

It is with appreciation that, in spite of my lack of organization, Mary Ellen Pinkham, the famous household hints author, took an interest in our recipes just recently. I really should get together with Mary Ellen and learn exactly how to become better organized but, somehow, time keeps getting away from me.

I am either in the kitchen, cooking up something for the next book [or] the next issue of the newsletter; or I’m writing about what I’ve been cooking – with time in between to do two, sometimes three, radio shows a day, on a regular basis, running anywhere from 15 minutes to two hours. No two shows are ever alike – with the exception of the [wonderful] hospitality and warm response from the listeners.

I have had very few unhappy experiences on the air… Some of the highlights of these radio broadcasts will probably remind you of the first time you heard of me, through one of these shows, for this is where most of our family of readers have come and they continue to listen with as much enthusiasm and as many challenges [for me to decipher] today as they did the day I spoke to my first radio audience and became affectionately dubbed by them ‘The Recipe Detective’. I thank them!

IN CLOSING…

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

In honor of St. Patrick’s Day, here is Mom’s secret recipe for Irish Soda Bread…

ADDITIONALLY, here are TWO re-shares of Mom’s secret recipes for Corned Brief and The Reuben According To Julia Lega; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, pp. 184 & 187)

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Don’t forget – the whole month of March is still celebrating, among other things: National Women’s History Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, and National Sauce Month!

Some other celebrations for the week include:

Today, March 15, is… American Legion Birthday, National Everything You Think is Wrong Day, National Kansas Day, National Pears Helene Day, National Shoe the World Day, and National Napping Day [the day after Daylight Savings Time Day]!

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

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

Friday, March 19, is… National Certified Nurses Day, National Chocolate Caramel Day, National Let’s Laugh Day, and National Poultry Day!

Saturday, March 20, is… World Flour Day, National Proposal Day, National Ravioli Day, National Corn Dog Day [which is the 1st Saturday of the NBA’s March Madness], National Quilting Day [which is always the 3rd Saturday in March], and Spring Begins! [NOTE: the Spring Equinox changes annually – 2021’s is March 20th.]

Sunday, March 21, is… National California Strawberry Day, National Common Courtesy Day, National Countdown Day, National Fragrance Day, National French Bread Day, and National Single Parent Day! It’s also the start of the week-long celebration for National Agriculture Week!

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

[Our next visit is scheduled in TWO WEEKS – Monday, March 29th!]

#TGIM

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

…11 down and another 41 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – The Legacy Effect

Happy Monday and happy International Women’s Week, as well as International Women’s Day! Aren’t Mondays marvelous? I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#NationalWomensHistoryMonth

#WomensWeek

#InternationalWomensDay

As I mentioned last week, the whole month of March is celebrating, among other things, National Women’s History Month. Additionally, Saturday was the kick-off of International Women’s Week [which starts the first Saturday in March]. PLUS, today is also International Women’s Day! That makes this a really great time (to the third power) for celebrating women around the world!

Today, this week, and all month we’re celebrating women’s achievements –socially, spiritually, economically, educationally and politically. Furthermore, this day is also dedicated to bringing world-wide awareness to gender equality – or rather the continued lack of it!

According to NationalDayCalenar.com, “In many parts of the world, women are less likely to own land, a business, or attend school. Education alone is a powerful tool leading to financial independence for women. Their children reap the rewards, often for generations to come.”

As an avid reader, Mom often promoted, in her many food-for-thought articles, the benefits of always trying to learn something new each and every day.

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

“My mother had many sayings. She would say, ‘Kamala, you may be the first to do many things; make sure you’re not the last.’ Which is why I said [in my victory speech], ‘I will be the first, but I will not be the last.’ And that’s about legacy. That’s about creating a pathway. That’s about leaving the door more open than it was when you walked in.” – Kamala Harris, Dec. 2020, TIME’s Person of the Year.

Back in December, when I heard this statement (above) in Kamala Harris’ interview with Time, as one of their two persons of the year for 2020, I was so impressed! I think my mom would’ve been, also, for that was the kind of “legacy” she wanted and tried to leave.

Like Kamala’s mom, my mom had many positive sayings too – those she picked up from her own mother, those she developed through her life-long faith, and others she created from her own comedic talents combined with her real-life experiences as a “working-woman in a man’s world”.

Through many of her inspirational, food-for-thought articles, geared toward the Women’s-Lib-Movement-fence-sitting-housewives-turned-homemakers (like herself), Mom promoted the importance of identifying our strengths and developing our skills, while always being true to ourselves. She encouraged being a good role model and mentor. “And if you can’t be a lighthouse,” she would say, “at least be a candle!”

What does it mean to leave a legacy? It’s like putting an indelible mark on the future by contributing to forthcoming generations. People naturally want to feel that their life had purpose and mattered to someone. But many wonder how to succeed at such a task.

How To Leave a Legacy”, by Marelisa Fabrega, at DaringToLiveFully.com, offers up some great advice on the many ways people can leave an everlasting mark in this world BEFORE they’re gone. I loved her analogy about how to know if you’re successfully leaving a legacy (or not) by picturing your 80th birthday party! Marelisa wrote:

“Everyone you’ve had an impact on, or have influenced in some way, is there. As they get up to toast you on your birthday, what would you like them to say about you? That’s what you want your life to stand for.”

My family helped me put together a wonderful 80th birthday party for Mom! However, her birthday is in early January – when we Michiganders are usually dealing with snow storms and that weekend, of Mom’s party, was no exception! Thus there were a lot of guests who couldn’t make the drive.

The expected large party turned out to be quite small. We were almost disappointed, if not for those who did make it; because Mom heard so many wonderful memories from them – things about her genuine care, her heart-warming friendship, and the positive impacts she made in their lives! In most cases, Mom didn’t even realize she had done so much.

‘I’ve had so many good examples to follow – I’ll try to be one, myself, to somebody else.’ Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book… (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)

I imagine Mom would’ve really been flabbergasted by the tribute our local museum paid her just a few years ago, after her passing. Every year, the St. Clair Historical Museum puts on a presentation called “The Next 10”, paying tribute to 10 former residents, (people no longer with us) who contributed greatly to our community.

Their Fall 2018 presentation included my mom as one of “The Next 10”. I was so happy to contribute what I could when a few different people, working on the project, contacted me for information, stories, photos and other materials. They put on a beautiful slideshow presentation for each of the 10 legacy honorees; and each one had a different “speaker”, presenting the family’s and community’s memories of them.

So many friends and family members of those honored filled the room. I felt very privileged to be among them – to feel all the love in the room was tremendous! I was especially pleased during the social that followed, because they served ice cream with a batch of Mom’s Sanders-Style Hot Fudge Sauce that someone had lovingly made for the event! Here’s an encore copy of one of her versions – I shared this version last April, on WHBY’s Good Neighbor” show, with Kathy Keene:

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. 88)

TELEVISION COULD DO so much to better inform and entertain us in a positive way, but it hasn’t. Responsible journalism has many times, succumb to irresponsible hashing and rehashing of tragedies in the world, and man’s inhumanity to man, when there is still so much good going on that could be reported. There ARE good things happening.

There are people behaving with compassion, people constructively setting a worthy example to follow. There are government officials who are representing those who elected them, in a responsible and respectable way. There is good taking place all over the world.

Reporting such events along with the tragedies, would give balance to the news and reinstate public trust and faith in responsible journalism. Where and how does such a change begin, but with the individual. Separately or collectively, opinions can be directed to news agencies at every level of the media.

RESPONSIBLE JOURNALISM

“Give me not your headlines of murder and deceit,

But tell me of the better things that make our lives complete.

Fill page one with happenings that speak of loving giving.

Fill a column with advice on better ways of living.

Tell me of the births today, they are our salvation.

Let death take a holiday. Tell me of creation.”

– James Grimes

There are the obvious monetary inheritances we can leave behind – cash and other such assets for our heirs (to serve as foundations on which to build their own financial futures and legacies), money bequeathed to charities that are dear to our hearts, or scholarship fund endowments for future students.

“The legacy we leave is not just in our possessions, but in the quality of our lives… The greatest waste in all of our earth, which cannot be recycled or reclaimed, is our waste of the time that God has given us each day.” – Bill Graham

But leaving a great legacy isn’t about what we’ve accumulated in money, assets, or position. More accurately, it’s about how we can use what we have to improve, around us, whomever and/or whatever needs it. Here are some examples I’ve gathered on how we can leave our own legacies behind through our…

WORK: by starting our own businesses and adding knowledge and new skills to our chosen fields. We could also start non-profit organizations in our communities, creating neighborhood recycling programs, gardens, parks, or playgrounds – to name a few different legacies. Or we could be volunteers, passing on our own expertise from hard work and experiences. We could even leave a legacy by “working” to right a wrong.

#NationalWriteDownYourStoryDay

WRITING: by authoring a book. We could write our memoirs, capturing the essence of who we are by penning our family-traditions, life-lessons, values, accomplishments, beliefs and hopes. In fact, next Sunday is National Write Down Your Story Day! We could also write “legacy letters” to our loved ones – including everything we’d want to say if we knew we didn’t have long to live.

ELECTRONIC RECORDS: by recording videos of ourselves – either one or many. We could also create websites dedicated to the kinds of legacies we’d like to leave behind for future generations. Likewise, we could write blogs to post on those websites!

ANCESTRY: by passing on to our descendants some of their “roots” through traditionally family-held heirlooms, like generational bibles, wedding rings, and/or wedding dresses; as well as irreplaceable, handmade afghans, quilts, recipe collections, photo albums, journals and scrapbooks.

‘WHEN YOU KNOW BETTER, do better. Just because you are not doing wrong doesn’t necessarily mean you’re doing right. Remember the importance of setting a good example. The things we do each day influences others.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 24)

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Reliable Recipes For Reluctant Cooks (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1983, p. 8)

BE SOMETHING TO SOMEONE!

BEING APPRECIATED FOR what you are and the good you can offer is one of the greatest rewards for trying to improve one’s life. The real test comes when there seems to be no one to appreciate you and you have to face the temptation for crumbling under self-pity or pretending that it doesn’t matter – that you can make it alone if you have to.

The test of real strength comes with the realization that you are alone. That’s when you have to make the decision to give up or stand up! It’s never easy, but no one ever promised that it would be! Being alone and yet surrounded by people makes the feeling of the famished affections one of the most challenging aspects of nourishment today… Be something to someone!

IN CLOSING…

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

In honor of this week also being National Girl Scout Week and National Girl Scout Day being on Friday, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for imitating their Peanut Butter Sandwich Cookies; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 224)

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Don’t forget – the whole month of March is still celebrating, among other things: Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, and National Sauce Month!

Furthermore, one of the many celebrations for last week and this whole week is aimed at National Procrastination Week – which is actually celebrated during the first TWO weeks in March (or whenever it’s convenient)!

And some other celebrations for this week include: Sunday, March 7, was the start of the 1st FULL week in March (7th-13th for 2021), which celebrates Words Matter Week and Read an E-Book Week (see below)!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

Today, March 8, is also National Oregon Day, National Peanut Cluster Day, and National Proofreading Day!

Tuesday, March 9, is… National Barbie Day, National Crabmeat Day, National Get Over it Day, and National Meatball Day! In honor, here is a re-share of Mom’s imitation for meatballs like Win Schuler’s:

Wednesday, March 10, is… National Blueberry Popover Day, National Pack Your Lunch Day, and National Registered Dietitian Nutritionist Day [the 2nd Wednesday in March] !

Thursday, March 11, is… National Johnny Appleseed Day, National Oatmeal Nut Waffles Day, and National Worship of Tools Day!

Friday, March 12, is… National Baked Scallops Day and National Plant a Flower Day!

Saturday, March 13, is… National Good Samaritan Day, National Coconut Torte Day, and National Open an Umbrella Indoors Day!

Sunday, March  14 is… National Children’s Craft Day, National Learn About Butterflies Day, National Pi Day, National Potato Chip Day, and Daylight Saving Time Day [the 2nd Sunday in March]!

#GoodNeighbor

[Our next visit is scheduled in three weeks – tune in, Monday, March 29th!]

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

#TGIM

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

…10 down and another 42 to go!

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Who Never Got A Dinner!

Happy Monday and happy March to everyone! As for myself, 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

#NationalWomensHistoryMonth

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

I’m especially joyful today, regarding sharing Memories Of My Mom, as Mom’s pioneering efforts to imitate America’s favorite junk food, fast food, and other famous restaurant dishes – in a roundabout way, making home a better place, first, and emulating that into the community, the country, and the world – most certainly SHOULD be celebrated as historical!

Unfortunately, Mom didn’t make “the list” of “Top 100 Women of History”, by Jone Johnson Lewis (updated July 3, 2019), as seen at ThoughtCo.com; who used internet searches as a parameter. Likewise, Mom didn’t make “the list” in “Famous Firsts in Women’s History” (by History.com editors – updated Feb. 4, 2021) either.

Nevertheless, many of Mom’s own mentors and idols were on those lists – great women such as Maya Angelou, Lucille Ball, Jackie Kennedy (Onassis), the Bronte sisters, Anne Frank, Julia Child, Oprah Winfrey, and Erma Bombeck! That brings to mind the hilarious rantings about famous people who “never got a dinner” by Red Buttons, as a frequent guest “roaster” on many of the old Dean Martin Celebrity Roast shows.

Mom never won a Nobel Peace Prize or a Pulitzer Prize, nor had she written the “great American novel”. But, for over 40 years, she was a journalist, writing and self-publishing hundreds of food-for-thought articles and newsletters; as well as over 40 cookbooks, unlike any others on the market! My mom was a pioneer in the food industry, being the first person (let alone, the first woman) to carve out the “copycat cookery” niche – but she “never got a dinner”!

Mom didn’t make great scientific contributions, like Marie Curie or Florence Nightingale; however, she was the FIRST to develop recipes that imitated many American’s favorite foods like KFC Chicken, McDonald’s Special Sauce, Wendy’s Frosty, White Castle’s Hamburger “Slider”, Famous Amos’ Cookies, and THOUSANDS more! Mom made countless meals in her lifetime that  tasted like we were “eating out at home” – but Mom “never got a dinner”!

Mom developed her own “secret recipes” for “famous foods from famous places”, right at home – and shared those secrets in her books and newsletters! Mom often gave away “free samples” of her work through the mail, on TV and radio talk shows, as well as in newspaper and magazine interviews – and “never got a dinner”!

Throughout the 1960s and 1970s, Mom wrote and syndicated her own columns for newspapers and magazines, geared toward the Women’s-Lib-Movement-fence-sitting-housewives-turned-homemakers (like herself). Starting in the early 1970s, Mom was imitating the coveted (yet taboo) fast foods, junk foods, and convenience foods – taking the “junk” out of the “so-called” junk foods – but she “never got a dinner”!

Mom wasn’t a women’s rights activist, like Susan B. Anthony or Elizabeth Cady Stanton. In fact, she often had a few choice words for Women’s Lib (satirically speaking)…

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?

Mom always felt that all of us could and should make the world a better place. It all counts – even in the smallest ways! Mom did it, herself, in all of her creations, through her comical cartoon panels, food-for-thought articles and food-for-the-soul inspirations; not to mention her very UNIQUE food-for-the-table recipes. My mom was a “creative guru” at whatever she attempted – but she “never got a dinner”!

She wore so many hats in our family – as cook, maid, chauffer, nurse, seamstress, counselor, mentor, teacher, and so on. Additionally, in her dining-room-table-based “family enterprise”, Mom was the recipe developer, author, illustrator, layout creator, publicist, promotion specialist, public speaker/lecturer and (again) so much more! She was a “Wonder Woman” – who “never got a dinner”!

As a semi-modernized, yet somewhat old-fashioned, working “housewife”-turned-“homemaker”, during the 1970s – amidst the Women’s Lib Movement – Mom felt extremely blessed to be able to do what she loved most, WRITE; while being able to do it from home, balancing and juggling her many hats as “Mom”, “Wife”, and “Business Woman”. Yet she “never got a dinner”!

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 295)

A MEAL BY ANY OTHER NAME

FAST FOOD RECIPES were not published in the best-sellers – and these were the restaurants where families were apt frequent if they wanted a meal that was affordable!

Paul and I could take all 5 of the children to Capri’s, an Italian restaurant down the road from us in Pearl Beach, and we could feed the whole family for less than $10, providing we ordered the large pizza with only pepperoni and cheese on it and one soft drink for each of us. It was not for substance that we ate out. It was for entertainment.

We could take the kids to McDonald’s and it did the same thing for us that going to the movies did for our parents. It was an affordable pleasure. It was a diversion from meatloaf and pot roast and peas and carrots.

It was a treat. We looked forward to it. We felt good about the experience and even better after it was over. It carried us through a long week of paying the utilities, insurance, house payments and car payments and grocery expenses.

When we had to have our 10-year-old station wagon repaired, we had to skip eating out that week. If one of us had to see the dentist, it might be 2 or 3 weeks before we could afford to eat out again. We made do with what we had. We could make the most of what we had. In the 50s and 60s and early 70s, this is the way parents raised their families, budgeted their earnings and allowed for their pleasures.

Things changed, as well they should. Women went out to work. If they weren’t working to supplement the family income, they went to work for their own satisfaction. Whatever the reasons, families changed. Eating at home became less and less appealing – and less and less convenient. Homes were built with smaller kitchens and bigger bathrooms. Microwave ovens were more affordable – and defrost and heat became more popular.

WE WANTED OUR CAKE AND WE WANTED TO EAT IT, TOO!

We wanted to eat out at a price we could afford; and, when we couldn’t afford to eat out, we wanted to dine-in as if we were eating out! At the time, there were few recipes for this kind of cooking. We wanted to spend less time preparing the foods and less money on the ingredients and still serve a dish to those who shared our table with us that would be equal to – if not better than – anything we could buy in a restaurant or from a supermarket.

For all of these reasons, I have pursued the investigations of the food industry with the greatest joy and the utmost care, translating into recipes, those secrets that I have been able to decipher.

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 141)

MARITAL BLISS

BREAD-BAKING has filled my house with the most delicious aromas – on those occasions when I have ventured into the catacombs of conscious cookery. I was taught by a grandmother who believed that the way to a man’s heart was through his stomach; and, if you kept your man well-fed and loved and listened-to, everything else would fall into its proper place in perspective. Well, we can’t all be right all the time. Grandma tried.

Bread-baking was not the Elmer’s “Glue-All” of my marital bliss and stability. In fact, on occasion, it might have threatened our harmony – considering that, before I learned a few chosen shortcuts to better baking, I could (at the drop of a hat) clutter the countertops with every bowl, dish, spoon, pan and ingredient possible! This, of course, necessitated having to “eat out” on those nights when there was no place to prepare a deserving dinner at home.

It reminded me that somewhere there should be a clause in every cookbook warning young wives with old-fashioned morals about marriage that there are some things Mother never told us… Or if she did, I just wasn’t paying attention!

In any case, I recommend cooking as being thoroughly therapeutic! Bread-baking includes the energetic kneading of the dough – which enables one to work off pent-up emotions that one cannot otherwise rid themselves of verbally.

Whenever I had problems to work out (which was like every other minute or so) I would either be in the kitchen, cooking something, or at the typewriter, writing about cooking something! Kneading a large batch of yeast dough is a great way to unwind and relieve tensions.

Of course, it didn’t always solve my problems, since most of them were directly related to my finding my utensils, which I had to locate before I could start relieving myself of unwanted tensions. I’ll bet I was the only woman on the block who had to sift through the kids’ sandbox before I could set the table or bake a loaf of bread!

LAST THOUGHTS…

If you missed my visit last week on WHBY’s Good Neighbor” show, with Kathy Keene, you can listen to the podcast recording here:

https://www.whby.com/2021/02/25/laura-pitzer-emerich-touchmark/

I’ve also created a list of links to all of our monthly WHBY “Pitzer” Podcasts, thus far, including Mom’s recipes that I’ve shared with Kathy’s audience. See the “Media Friends” tab on this website, as I will be updating the list monthly with more links and recipes of our radio visits.

[Our next visit is scheduled in four weeks – Monday, March 29th!]

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

IN CLOSING…

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

#NationalPeanutButterLoversDay

In honor of National Peanut Butter Lover’s Day, today, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for Peanut Butter Pie like that of Ohio’s Goody-Goody Restaurant; as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 239)

AND HERE’S AN ENCORE of Mom’s “secret recipe” for RecessTM Peanut Butter Cups, as seen in her “free recipes” offerings – also, part of her “Original 200” collection!

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

March is also…

Irish-American Heritage Month, National Caffeine Awareness Month, National Celery Month, National Craft Month, National Flour Month, and National Sauce Month!

Furthermore, one of the many celebrations for this whole week is aimed at National Procrastination Week – which is actually celebrated during the first TWO weeks in March (or whenever it’s convenient)!

Additionally…

Today, March 1, is… National Dadgum That’s Good Day, National Fruit Compote Day, National Minnesota Day, and National Pig Day!

Tuesday, March 2, is… National Banana Cream Pie Day, National Old Stuff Day, and National Read Across America Day (Dr. Seuss Day)! 

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

Thursday, March 4, is… National Grammar Day, National Sons Day, and National Pound Cake Day!

Friday, March 5, is… National Cheese Doodle Day; and as the first Friday in March [2021] it’s also National Day of Unplugging, National Dress in Blue Day, National Speech and Debate Education Day, and National Employee Appreciation Day!

Saturday, March 6, is… the kick-off of International Women’s Week [which starts the first Saturday in March]! It’s also National Frozen Food Day, National White Chocolate Cheesecake Day, and National Oreo Cookie Day! In honor of the latter, here is Mom’s famous imitation of the famous sandwich cookie:

Sunday, March 7, is… National Flapjack Day, National Be Heard  Day, National Cereal Day, and National Crown of Roast Pork Day! It is also the start of the 1st FULL week in March (7th-13th for 2021), which celebrates National Girl Scout Week, Words Matter Week, and Read an E-Book Week (see below)!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

#TGIM

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

…9 down and another 43 to go!

WHBY “PITZER” PODCASTS

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

For WHBY “Pitzer” Podcasts, in case you missed them, check out the following links:

April 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/04/27/laura-pitzer-emerich/

May 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/05/26/laura-pitzer-emerich-2/

June 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/06/29/laura-pitzer-emerich-open-show/

July 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/07/27/laura-pitzer-emerich-open-show-2/

August 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/08/31/laura-pitzer-emerich-3/

September 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/09/30/laura-pitzer-emerich-4/

October 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/10/26/laura-pitzer-emerich-5/

November 2020 – https://www.whby.com/2020/11/30/laura-pitzer-emerich-amy-albright/

December 2020 (which was postponed into January 2021) – https://www.whby.com/2021/01/10/laura-pitzer-emerich-6/

January 2021 – https://www.whby.com/2021/01/25/laura-pitzer-emerich-7/

February 2021 –

February 2021 – interview postponed to Thursday, 2-25-21 – https://www.whby.com/2021/02/25/laura-pitzer-emerich-touchmark/

[TO BE CONTI NUED – STAY TUNED FOR MORE!]

 

 

 

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Radio Is Like Family

Happy Monday to all! 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! And the last Monday of each month has become extra special to me ever since last April, when I started getting together with Kathy Keene, host of the Good Neighbor” show on WHBY (Appleton, WI) and reminiscing about Mom, who was a regular on Kathy’s show, once a month, for almost 13 years, from June 1992 through December 2005.

#WHBY

Today, around 11:08am CDST/12:08pm EDST, I will be reminiscing about Mom, once again, with Kathy Keene, during the first part of her Good Neighbor” show! You can listen to it live or later at WHBY.com!

[***CORRECTION: (ABOVE) RESCHEDULED FOR THURSDAY, THE 25TH – SAME TIME…]

Times were tough back in the early 1970s, when Mom decided to leave her job at the paper to start her own newsletter – and not just for our family. Mom wanted to share all the ways she found to save money, especially with her own growing family of seven, through her “eating out at home” ideas. Mom always knew who her target audience was for her “copycat cookery” crusade and where to find them!

While other forms of media were great, too, radio turned out to be the most solid cornerstone in the building of the success of Mom’s Secret RecipesTM business. The public loved her “new idea” [at least is was at that time] for making your own fast food, junk food and other coveted food favorites right at home, easily, and at less cost.

Right from the start, Mom and radio formed a seemingly natural friendship. The people she got to know through her regular radio visits across the country and internationally became like a second family to Mom. She wrote about them often in her books and newsletters. Mom’s radio visits always made her day shine, even when the skies were grey.

Many of the people with whom Mom worked in that industry said she had a great “radio voice”. While, Mom had also appeared on some pretty famous TV “talk” shows, over the years, she really felt more “at home” when she was being interviewed on radio talk shows. She also found the audiences of the radio talk shows she was on to be the most positive and receptive audiences of all!

Over the decades, Mom received a lot of “fan mail” and requests from all around the world. The radio shows’ audiences, to whom she often spoke, asked for a wide array of recipes for recreating their favorite restaurant and grocery store products. Even after 40 years [1974-2014], as the food industry evolved, there were always more, new and interesting challenges for Mom to conquer.

‘People don’t care how much you know until they know how much you care.’ ― Theodore Roosevelt

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES

As seen in…

Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 9)

BOB ALLISON’S “ASK YOUR NEIGHBOR” [SHOW] – HI, NEIGHBOR!

One of the nicest things about being a writer is that you can work at home. Back in the late 60’s and early 70’s, as soon as my kids were out the door to the school bus, I set up my $39.95 Smith Corona portable typewriter at the kitchen table, where I was one step away from the stove, refrigerator and recipes I was curious to test and write about.

The view from the kitchen table included the front yard and the North Channel of the St. Clair River (part of the St. Lawrence Seaway to everyone else) – the riverside was [called] the front yard and the roadside was the back yard. The old house had its faults, I’ll grant you, but nobody could refuse a view like we had, living on the banks of that river!

There was always something going on outside, sufficient to inspire a feeling of well-being, which every writer must have to do their job well. In keeping with “write about what you know best”, I could put every economical recipe I used to feed my family of seven to good use, sharing the Secrets with others.

One of my addictions in those days was a daily recipe radio show called Ask Your Neighbor, hosted by Bob Allison over the WWJ-Detroit radio airwaves. He always opened his two-hour show by saying, “if you have a household problem you cannot solve, then call… (and he’d give a phone number) …and ask your neighbor!”

I called him frequently with answers to his other listeners’ recipe questions, until I became “a regular” on the show. With Bob’s generous help in mentioning my monthly newsletter, my subscriptions began to climb to 300, and 400. I was finally showing a profit! That gave my husband, Paul, some relief from his skepticism that I would eventually outgrow my obsession with writing.

From Bob Allison’s listeners alone, Paul and I had received over 1000 letters in one day! …It is as much a thrill for me today, to hear somebody on Bob’s Ask Your Neighbor show request that “Gloria, The Secret Recipe Detective” try to duplicate a recipe, as it was for me decades ago when it all began.

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

Mom wrote and self-published hundreds of newsletters and at least 40 books filled with not only thousands of her own “secret” recipe imitations, but also with her humorous stories and anecdotes, helpful kitchen and household tips, as well as some history or background information about many of the companies and products she imitated.

Mom really knew how take the monotony out of meal time! She designed her books and newsletters much like patchwork quilts, with a piece of this and a piece of that; offering a variety of things that might interest her readers. She intended them to be as much coffee-table or bedside-table reads as they were recipe collections for the kitchen.

There were no other books or newsletters on the market (in the 1970s) that were offering what Mom did! Her compositions stood out and captured a lot of attention that spread like wildfire! It was a perfect storm – from the unique layout and subject matter of her books and newsletters to the media exposure she got – mostly through radio but also via newspapers, magazines and TV – bringing about Mom’s fame as the Secret Recipes DetectiveTM of the food industry.

I’m still working on a time line that spans about 35-40 years, of all of Mom’s radio and TV appearances, as well as newspaper and magazine interviews. I will eventually be adding this timeline to TheRecipeDetective.com website’s “Media Friends” tab. I’ve been gathering the information through my copies of her many books, newsletters and other works.

I’m also continuing to work on a “Master Index” of Mom’s complete recipe collection and am updating the “Recipes” tab with Mom’s imitations that I’ve shared in my blog posts.

‘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 [and magazine] 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)]

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. 75)

THE CHALLENGE TO INSPIRE

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

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

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

When the publishers initially rejected Mom’s creative offerings because they weren’t the picturesque, routine and monotonous cookbooks, which they thought the public wanted; Mom was only more determined to publish them, herself! After all, she was part of the public too – and these were the kind of books she wanted!

When you think about it, writing and publishing are only minor steps in the whole “book process” compared to marketing; which is probably an author’s biggest challenge because it involves so much more personal time and effort. For Mom, it was a labor of love!

To say, “Mom really enjoyed her promotional schedule of radio talk shows after each of her cookbooks (and newsletter issues) ‘premiered’,” would be an understatement! For Mom, her radio “visits” across the country, even internationally, felt more like having an “after party”, over and over again!

Like any proud mom, she loved to talk about her babies (the recipes, newsletters and cookbooks)! In fact, Mom’s relationships with radio talk shows and their hosts went on for more than 32 additional years, when she was eventually forced to fully retire for health reasons.

As I’ve mentioned in previously, Mom briefly ventured into TV talk shows for some of her cookbook promotions – most notably were the two times that she was on the Phil Donahue Show (in 1981 and 1993). Regardless, Mom always felt more at home on the radio. I suppose that’s in part because she was actually at home, doing most of her radio roundtables by phone, from her kitchen and/or office (in the next room).

Mom was a natural at marketing herself, her talents and her products. Maybe it stemmed from her own upbringing, as both of her parents were realtors. I may have inherited Mom’s loves for writing, art and creativity in general; but I’m definitely lacking in her confidence and marketing talents!

‘It is as much a thrill for me, today, to hear somebody… request that ‘Gloria, The Secret Recipe Detective’ try to duplicate a recipe, as it was for me a decade ago when it all began.’ – Gloria Pitzer (May 1982)

[*NOTE: That thrill continued to remain with Mom, for many more decades, until she passed away in January 2018.]

Mom often wrote about her radio visits in her numerous books and newsletters – even including her up-coming radio schedules in her newsletter issues, so that her readers in those areas could tune in. Nowadays, you can “tune in” to just about any show, from anywhere, via the internet!

On one of the very first pages of Mom’s last cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best of the Recipe Detective (Balboa Press, Jan. 2018), which I helped her to rewrite for the new digital generation from her favorite, self-published cookbook, Gloria Pitzer’s Better Cookery Cookbook (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; May 1983), is a “thank you list”, dedicated to radio stations, talk show hosts, and others with whom Mom worked.

They significantly contributed to the first decade of the growing success of Mom’s Secret RecipesTM business. Incidentally, Mom’s relationships with radio talk shows and their hosts went on for more than 32 additional years, when she was basically forced to give it up for health reasons. Nonetheless, like family, she kept in touch with many of them; even after her “retirement” in 2014.

I must say, the internet is an awesome source of information and archives in which to find some of Mom’s old No Laughing Matter columns; as well as her old cookbooks that have been out of print for years.

Some of her old books can still be found for sale on Amazon and eBay (sometimes for ridiculously high prices, because they’re no longer in print). As well as her last book that was published by Balboa Press in January 2018.

Unfortunately, on the flip side of that coin, because of all the information that can be found on the internet in just a few key words, those kind of call-in talk shows that Mom used to frequent, are now going to the wayside, like the old drive-in movie theaters.

I have heard from quite a few people, since starting these blogs (September 2018), who’ve told me that they still have copies of Mom’s books and newsletters and how special they remain to them. I pour through my copies all the time for inspiration for, both, cooking and writing!

I recently reminisced with another of Mom’s friends in radio, Art Lewis, who hosted the “Listen to the Mrs.” program, along with co-host, Sue Smith, on WSGW-Radio in Saginaw, MI – which, until a couple of years ago, had been on the air since 1952.

Art mentioned how he loved to kiddingly tease Mom about the oven in her and Dad’s RV, which sparkled like new – because she never used it! I would love to hear from you, as well! Please write to me at therecipedetective@outlook.com or contact me on Facebook (@TheRecipeDetective) with YOUR memories of my mom!

In honor of February’s Great American Pies Month and National Bake for Family Fun Month [see another baking recipe further below, too], here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for Strawberry Pie, like that of New York’s famous Lindy’s; as seen on page 29 of her self-published cookbook… The Original 200 Plus Secret Recipes© (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; June 1997)!

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

According to NationalDayCalendar.com, some other February month-long, national celebrations that are still going on this week include: Black History Month, National Snack Food Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Grapefruit Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, & Canned Food Month.

Additionally, other celebrations for this week include:

Today is the start of National Eating Disorders Awareness Week and National Invasive Species Awareness Week. It is also National California Day, National Cook a Sweet Potato Day, and National Margarita Day!

Tuesday is National Dog Biscuit Day and National Banana Bread Day! In honor of which, below is an imitation for Banana Bread Like The Grand Hotel’s that I helped Mom develop, as seen in… Gloria Pitzer’s Cookbook – The Best Of The Recipe Detective (Balboa Press; Jan. 2018, p. 182).

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

Wednesday is National Tortilla Chip Day!

Thursday is National Chocolate Covered Nut Day, National Clam Chowder Day, National Toast Day, and National Chili Day! In honor of which, below is a re-share of Mom’s famous imitation for “Wednesday’s Chili”…

Friday is National Pistachio Day, National Tell a Fairy Tale Day, and Skip the Straw Day!

Saturday is National Kahlua Day, National Retro Day, and National Strawberry Day!

Sunday is the end of February, as well as National Chocolate Souffle Day and National Floral Design Day!

Feel free to click on any of these links (above) – THEY ARE NOT ADS (except for Mom’s last cookbook), just information Mom would’ve found interesting, too – because she advocated to learn something new every day!

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

#TGIM

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

…8 down and 44 to go!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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

Mondays & Memories of My Mom – Culture Of Kindness

Happy Monday and a joyful National Random Acts of Kindness Week! Personally, I always look forward to Mondays because they are my #52Chances each year, in which I get to share Memories of My Mom with all of you!

#TheRecipeDetective

#RandomActsOfKindness

Yesterday was the start of National Random Acts of Kindness WEEK. Additionally, Wednesday is recognized as National Random Acts of Kindness DAY (as well as Ash Wednesday)! If these “kindness holidays” sound a bit familiar, it’s probably because we just celebrated WORLD Kindness Week and World Kindness Day, a few months ago, in November.

There’s an amazing alliance, all around the world, whose intent it is to basically evolve society for the better through DAILY Random Acts Of Kindness. Their website, by the same name, promotes making random acts of kindness “the norm” and offers a lot of great stories and other inspirations about different ways to spread kindness throughout the week – but, please, don’t stop there!

There are many, eminent, positive, health benefits in relation to kindness for both, the givers and the receivers. For example, acts of kindness are recognized for making those involved happy and happiness is well-known to drive up energy, as well as self-esteem; which, in turn, is also good for the heart and, thereby, likely to help us live longer. You can read more about the health benefits of kindness at https://www.randomactsofkindness.org/the-science-of-kindness.

‘THE GREATEST WASTE in the world is the difference between what we are, and what we could be!’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 10)

As I’ve recommended in previous posts, WisdomQuotes.com offers many inspirations from which to choose at least one idea a day to implement throughout the whole year! I think we should all make a new resolution to be more kind, on a DAILY basis.

It’s been said many times over that practice makes perfect. Practice also creates habits that will, in turn, hopefully, become our “new norm”. I’ve heard that habits take about a week to form, therefore, I want to recommend, once again, Chrystle Fiedler’s challenge in “Why Being Kind Makes You Healthier” (as seen at… StarTribune.com; July 24, 2019). Chrystle wrote:

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

#FoodForThought

FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 30)

MAKING PEOPLE HAPPY

Have you ever had your day suddenly turn sunshiny because of a cheerful word? Have you ever wondered if this could be the same world because someone had been unexpectedly kind to you. You can make today [that way] for somebody! It’s only a question of a little imagination, a little time and trouble. Think now, ‘What can I do today, to make someone happy?’

IS A SINGLE HEART REJOICING over what you did or said?

Does the one whose hopes were fading, now with courage, look ahead?

Do you waste the day or lose it? Was it well or sorely spent?

Did you leave a trail of kindness or a scar of discontent?

As you close your eyes in slumber, do you think that God will say,

‘You have earned one more tomorrow, by the work you did today’?

Between the thousands of recipes in her self-published cookbooks and newsletters, Mom always placed many of her own Food-for-Thought editorials, bits of wisdom, and food-for-the-soul inspirations; all written with a great love and passion for helping and informing her readers – whether requested by them or just something she came upon and thought it might be of interest to them. I try to do the same when I write.

‘Happy is the person who has a good supply of the milk of human kindness and knows how to keep it from souring.’ – Gloria Pitzer, This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 17)

Gloria Pitzer, 1985

Mom was a really big advocate for being kind to and loving others. She would often question why we all couldn’t just get along, as “we’re all God’s children”, she would say. To myself (NEVER out loud), I would often sarcastically whisper, in reply: “Wouldn’t that be sibling rivalry then?”

Mom really tried to be a positive example, lifting up others through her writings – from her food-for-thought columns (throughout the 1960s and 1970s) that were syndicated to multiple magazines and newspapers across the country to her hundreds of self-published newsletters (January 1974 through December 2000) and MANY DOZENS of cookbooks (1973- 2018).

Mom even wrote a few books dedicated strictly to her food-for-thought and inspirational ideas. Throughout, Mom would always emphasize the importance of really caring about each other, being kind and loving. She held a strong faith in Love and all the things it could overcome and yield. Mom would often inter-changed the word “Love” with “God”.

‘…Probably nothing that you couldn’t [or wouldn’t] attempt, now, without a reasonable chance of success. But, by removing the risk you might attempt things that were a bit more daring or slightly more challenging.’ – Gloria Pitzer

MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 14)

SUCCESS

As a man grows older he reads more of the ‘Book of Experience’ and less of the pages of ‘Prophecy’. He thinks more of the real worth of folk, and less of their shortcomings. He boasts less and boosts more. He concludes that snobbery is a confession of inferiority, and kindly consideration of others is the hallmark of the only aristocracy worth mentioning.

He hurries less and usually accomplishes more. He comes to realize that age is but a state of mind and that the greatest reward that one can win is the respect, understanding and love of his fellow man. [As Aldous Huxley said:] ‘The most valuable of all education is the ability to make yourself do the thing you have to do when it has to be done, whether you like it or not.’

‘Success is not in never failing but in never fearing to begin again!’ – Gloria Pitzer

AGAIN, MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 24)

DOING SOMETHING NICE

Don’t expect the world to think you’re wonderful just because you do something ‘good’ – for someone else! Good people do good things all of the time – everyday, and no one pats them on the back for it. You have to do good – not for what others are going to think of you, but what you’re going to think of yourself!

If you get a kick out of doing something good for somebody… do it! But don’t expect any rewards or special recognition for having gone out of your way. Every once in a while you may be complimented for something good that you’ve done, and that’s very nice.

But most of the time, whatever you do is to make yourself feel better about what has to be done, or what should be done! It’s not a matter of conscience, but of compassion. Either you have it, or you don’t!

‘My favorite daily newspaper in Boston has the slogan, ‘to bless all mankind and injure no man’. That is how I would want to write my own publications.’ – Gloria Pitzer,  My Cup Runneth Over and I Can’t Find My Mop (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Dec. 1989, p. 86)

Besides happy and healthy, kindness is also known to help others feel valued. Thus, showing even the smallest amount of kindness can go a really long way. Like the Greek storyteller, Aesop, once said: “No act of kindness, however small, is ever wasted.” In other words, a culture of kindness can have a positive ripple effect; inspiring others to pay it forward, in the same fashion.

Being kind and compassionate should happen every day! After all, weren’t we taught to be good and kind since we were toddlers in Kindergarten, or even earlier? Why do we seem to forget that important lesson as we get older?

According to Wikipedia’s interpretation of All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten, Robert Fulghum (the author) “explains how the world would be improved if adults adhered to the same basic rules as children, i.e. sharing, being kind to one another, cleaning up after themselves, and living ‘a balanced life’ of work, play, and learning.”

As I previously wrote about, in November, kindness is truly an essential part of society, bridging the divides of race, religion, gender, and other such things – even politics. This is an excellent week to celebrate kindness, considering all of the political upheaval still going on in our country. It’s still needed more than ever, as divided we fall but united we stand!

#TheGolden Rule

“Do unto others as you would have them do unto you” (Matt. 7:12) is considered the elementary “Golden Rule”, by which we all should live. According to Wikipedia, the name came about “because there is ‘value’ in having this kind of respect and caring attitude for one another.”

As I wrote in one of my blog posts, “The Golden Rule”, it’s a basic, moral principle for society to adopt and employ, encouraging everyone to treat each other with kindness and respect, for that’s how we should want to be treated, as well! It’s a simple and reasonable guiding principle, by which to live, everyday!

‘I’ve had so many good examples to follow – I’ll try to be one, myself, to somebody else.’ – Gloria Pitzer, as seen in… This is not a Cook Book! It’s Gloria Pitzer’s Food for Thought (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Oct. 1986, p. 8)

In so many ways, Mom and Dad, both, set good examples for me to follow. I’m proud to do the same, setting a good example for my children to follow; and I can only hope that that they will continue the tradition, as well, making kindness their daily norm.

The giving of the best of ourselves should be done without expectations of reciprocations of gratitude! It is through acts of kindness and giving from our hearts that we actually receive our own true gift – one that can’t be bought or even price-valued – the gift of LOVE!

Like a smile, a random act of kindness – just because – can be contagious. But, unlike the coronavirus, that’s a good thing. Plant the seed, every day, and watch kindness grow wild!

‘Greatness is measured by kindness – education and intellect, by modesty – ignorance is betrayed by suspicion and prejudices – real worth is measured by consideration and tolerance of others.’ – B.C. Forbes

Illustration by Gloria Pitzer

EVEN MORE FROM MOM’S MEMORIES…

As seen in…

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

YOU’VE MADE A FRIEND

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

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

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

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

IN CLOSING…

Today is also National Wisconsin Day!

Thus, in honor, here is Mom’s “secret recipe” for Milwaukee Cheese Soup; as seen in her self-published cookbook… The Joy Of NOT Cooking – Any More Than You Have To (Secret RecipesTM, St. Clair, MI; Nov. 1983, p. 71)

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

#LearnSomethingNewEveryDay

Don’t forget, according to NationalDayCalendar.com, some of February’s month-long, national celebrations include: Black History Month, National Snack Food Month, National Hot Breakfast Month, National Library Lover’s Month, National Grapefruit Month, Great American Pies Month, National Bake for Family Fun Month, National Bird Feeding Month, National Cherry Month, & Canned Food Month.

Another week-long celebration that began yesterday (as it was the 2nd Sunday in February) is National Kraut and Frankfurter Week!

Additionally…

Today is also Presidents Day & National Gumdrop Day!

Tuesday is National Almond Day, Fat Tuesday, Paczki Day, & Fastnacht Day!

Wednesday is National Cabbage Day!

Thursday is National Crab Stuffed Flounder Day & National Drink Wine Day!

Friday is National Tartar Sauce Day & National Chocolate Mint Day!

Saturday is National Love Your Pet Day, National Muffin Day, & National Cherry Pie Day!

Sunday is National Sticky Bun Day!

HAVE A SUPER-TERRIFIC WEEK!

#GoodNeighbor

REMINDER: My monthly interview with Kathy Keene, on the “Good Neighbor show, is coming up, again, next Monday!

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

#TGIM

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

…7 down and another 45 to go!

#GloriaPitzersCookbook

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